Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Aug 28, 2010 04:50 PM

bistro balmoral

This evening after shopping I thought i would catch a quick meal and went to bistro T having nice memories of a bavette I had there a month ago . Despite several empty tables on terrace I was told I could only be seated inside at the bar so then decided to go
across to the terrace of Bistro Balmoral (when i came out an hour later all those empty tables on the terrace of T were still empty...) as wanted to watch the open spaces, dancing fountains. It was a good choice, I had a glass of wine, the salmon, and coffee. I found it light and much healthier than the dishes at T where so many come with fries and no substitution allowed, unless at your cost. For $20 I had moist salmon filet on a bed of cauliflower mousseline with pesto of onions, small tomatoes, peppers; it came quickly after ordering. As luck would have it I had 10% discount as jazzfest card carriers are entitled to discounts during the year. For me it was a much better deal than T atleast for the salmon choice and hence i would certainly go back to try out other items on menu. Personally I am not keen on french fries as the only vegetable option especially on repeat visits, would even prefer a baked potato if no green choice possible,
Service was aloof, sombre albeit efficient -- not unusual in my experience for Montreal restaurants.

I did ask the waiter after at T about why tables are left empty and his answer did not make sense to me, he said T is the best restaurant in Montreal and the owner does not want anyone who made a reservation to wait as they do not really have a waiting area and when I pointed out the tables were still empty over an hour he said yes they lose business this way but that is what the owner wants.....anyways in the end I was much happier at Bistro Balmoral with the choice of food and got practically the same view.. Pleasant place to relax or have conversations. Reasonably priced.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thanks for the review ... when I was at T last week I could see that bistro and was wondering what its called. Do you know if they have a lunch special?

    T is pretty serious about reservations they seemed surprised that someone would call at 10 am to reserve for lunch the same day (a practise I think is fairly common...)

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpaxonite

      I dont know, I see they open at 11:30 . I wasnt sure if menu posted on terrace was same as inside restaurant menu but just seems to be one menu posted on their website. The soup of the day was white onion and i was tempted but didnt want a full course meal. The location is terrific but must be hard for them to compete with F and T where the terraces are a bit more attractive in decoration.
      Here is what they say about chef and choice of menu
      François Carré earned his stripes in some of the finest establishments in the province, including Restaurant Les Caprices de Nicolas, Restaurant Initiale in Vieux Québec, Relais gourmand directed by chef Yvan Lebrun, as well as the Auberge Hatley in North Hatley, a member of Relais & Châteaux until a fire forced it to close in 2008. As chef of bistro Le Balmoral, he has conjured a delightful and delectable menu, influenced by French cuisine, but favouring local products.
      .....A non-profit restaurant with all surplus revenue helping to finance free activities in the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan.

    2. We I live in the neighbourhood and have eaten at Bistro Balmoral a number of times over the last year. Service is always impeccable and friendly. The food is good (with caveats). The burger is dreadful - overcooked to death. Take it off the menu if you don't trust your beef. That said, we have had well-cooked fish on more than one occasion and a good confit de canard. The frites are good but portion is too large (even for 2). Haven't tried dessert and coffee (we live so close we go home for coffee). Can't comment on T we haven't tried it yet. However, F (just next door) is only okay - husband's cod was perfectly cooked - my fletan was overcooked and what's with the stupid pots? Sorry for my diversion. My suggestion is to try Bistro Balmoral and tell the staff what you liked and didn't like. So far, I would rather go there than to F (which we have tried) or T (which we are still considerig - based on comments here).

      1. I went for lunch today. There is no lunch special so everything is a la carte. I had a strip steak which had way too much montreal steak spice on it, had a lot of fatty inedible bits, and was cooked medium well instead of a point which is what I asked for. Came with a surprisingly good creamy coleslaw and a completely ridiculous amount of pretty good fries(20.50$). Person I was with had the burger and said it was good served with salad and an equal amount of fries(15$).

        The english menu has a fair number of spelling mistakes and is poorly translated from the french menu, often leaving out details.

        Overall I have absolutely no idea how they will survive. T and F are far better and less expensive. The beef cheeks at Balmoral at 26.50, whereas at F I had them for 20 and it came with with an appetizer. T and F also have a far nicer view and atmosphere. The service was pretty good but not great at Balmoral (had to remind them for expresso, they had forgotten). Costs more, isnt as nice, special, in the same caliber or quality of two restaurants immediately across the street.

        On a side note whats the deal with all three restaurants not having san pellegrino and only having eska...

        2 Replies
        1. re: kpaxonite

          "On a side note whats the deal with all three restaurants not having san pellegrino and only having eska...".

          Perhaps they are trying to save the planet. One could argue that it is very bad for the environment to bring in sparkling water from across the globe when we bottle it right here.

          1. re: eat2much

            saving the planet, one eska at a time lol

            they still import 95 percent of their wine...and canada has damn good wine (two personal favs: le grand clos jordanne from niagara, and osoyoos la rose from kelowna)