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Aug 28, 2010 07:25 AM

One night Four restaurants?!

My boyfriend and I will be spending two nights in Montreal, the first on our own and the second with friends. The second night we're going to Aux Vivres because our friends are vegetarian and more into that than foodie places.

On the first night we want to go somewhere truly delicious with a wonderful atmosphere (communal tables like Avec in Chicago would be a plus). Neither of us have any food restrictions, although he's perhaps a little less adventurous than I am. From what I've read, these look like solid contenders:

* Lemeac (esp. the after 10pm menu)
* L'Express
* Ferreira
* Laloux

Clearly we can't do all 4 so I'm willing to take a poll, hear critical feedback, anything!

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  1. I can vouch for Lemeac's 10pm menu. I had the crab cake as appetizer (an extra to the online menu) and the Short Rib on barley. The Short-rib was fall-off-the-bone delicious and i loved the barley which i had never tasted. Also tasted from friends' plates. The tartare was surprizingly good, the Pot-au-feu salmon was great but i'm not a fan of pot-au-feu.

    Service was excellent, polite and attentive yet friendly at the same time.

    I don't think a single person could finish their plate, though i heard a lot of Mmmmm! and Ahh! during the supper.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SourberryLily

      i have been twice to lemeac`s 10pm special and everything was good but it is not as much fun, interesting as ferreira if you want atmosphere. However if the purpose is conversation then lemeac is more conducive. Not much going on in that area (outremont) in evenings but close to downtown.

    2. Hi Abco - Of the restaurants you have listed here, I think all are quite good, but none will give you an experience particularly similar to Avec. They are all pretty traditional bistros. I think Montreal has a large assortment of restaurants offering the general laid-back atmosphere and sharing ethic of Avec (i.e. Au Pied de Cochon, Salle a Manger), and some offering communal, or at least very close, tables (Schwartz's, Reservoir), but I don't really know of any that would provide both together with good food (unless you were to sit at the bar at Tuck-Shop, Chien Fumant, APDC, Liverpool House, etc).

      If shared tables is an important criteria for you, maybe ask to be seated indoors at Joe Beef and they should seat you so close to your neighbours that they will have to pull the table out if someone needs to get in. Its a good restaurant to boot. Also, on a busy night with no large groups, you might ask to be seated with others at the large middle tables at Salle a Manger, but this would be unusual, I think.

      My experience with Avec and, to a lesser extent, with the Publican in Chicago is that the seating arrangement was the primary focus of the establishment, and while the food was very good, the novelty seating was almost clumsily executed. I ended up sitting on an extra chair at the end of a table at Avec, such that when people at my table OR people at the table behind me needed to get out, I had to stand. I think less so in Montreal than in other large North American cities will you see this sort of concept implemented as the main draw of an establishment (with the exception of O'Noir's eating in the dark). It is neither better nor worse that restaurants here do not espouse a "theme" in this way, but it means that if you do like this concept you might have to ask to be seated in a particular section of one of the aforementioned restaurants in which this communal arrangement exists.

      Sorry about the essay - I really do hope that you can find exactly what you want here! IMO, you should aim to sit at the kitchen-adjacent bar seats mentioned above. So much to watch and talk about! I try to dine this way whenever possible..

      Joe Beef
      2491 Rue Notre-Dame W, Montreal, QC H3J1N6, CA

      1. Thank you all! I'm glad Lemeac's post-10pm menu is good, as I'm guessing we are going to be arriving later rather than earlier on Friday night.

        I haven't heard of Tuck-Shop, Chien Fumant, APDC and Liverpool House, but will look them up and thank you for the tip on bar seating, good call. I suppose Avec was just an example - I just like the laid-back, friendly atmosphere with lots of different little plates and delicious food.

        I cannot wait to be in Montreal this weekend!

        2 Replies
        1. re: abco

          APDC = Au Pied de Cochon

          I'm surprised you haven't heard of it. It comes up often in foodie conversations :)

          1. re: abco

            Yes, sorry: APDC was just an acronym.

            And if you just liked the laid-back friendliness of Avec, then I think you'll LOVE montreal dining. Most of the restaurants I mentioned are quite similar in atmosphere to Avec, but without the communal seating. I think it is what this city does better than (almost) any other, though places like Chicago are really catching up in this regard.

            I'd aim to hit APDC (mostly HUGE portions, but sharable) or le Chein Fumant (their appetizer list is always the best part, so you could just split lots of those!). Reserve now if you're going soon. If its this weekend you could maybe score a very late/early spot at the bar at APDC if you're lucky. Chien fumant is a bit less busy, but also much smaller.

          2. You could try the new "Chez ma grosse truie chérie" they have communal tables.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Maximilien

              I had no idea that this place existed, but it seems like a good call! Thanks!

              1. re: Fintastic

                It's brand new, opened in late june. It's generated a bit of talk.

                A recent thread on it:

            2. We made a reservation at Ferreira Cafe, as we'll be getting in late, it's close to our b&b, and the seafood looked very appetizing!

              Thank you so much for the suggestions, especially the big portions/communal dining! I love the website & reviews for Le Club Chasse et Peche so am hoping to get back to Montreal for there one day.

              1 Reply
              1. re: abco

                You wont be disappointed.

                Didnt realize there were any b&b downtown but enjoy!!