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Sep 10, 2010 06:02 PM

Moderately priced crab/shrimp seafood in Montreal?

I posted earlier about our wonderful dinner at Sho-Dan tonight. We are also looking for a standard seafood fare restaurant - shrimp/crab/oysters (my husband eats oysters, but I don't, so not a strict oyster bar). We are staying near McGill, and tomorrow will be around Mont-Royal and the Olympic park.

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  1. Seafood, moderately priced, centrally located: you're asking for a lot.

    Montreal's not a great city for fish and shellfish, and the exceptions to that rule -- e.g. Ferreira, Milos, Juni, Au Pied de Cochon (though only in season, which is now over) -- are mostly high end. Three places you might consider (the first is considerably less expensive than the last two):

    - Kazu, the delightful if hole-in-the-wallish isakaya on Ste-Catherine a few blocks west of Guy. It's all good but the tuna belly (for two) is killer. The sea side of the menu tends to be more fish than shrimp/crab, though.

    - F Bar, located just west of Place des Arts, the bistroish arm of Café Ferreira.

    - Kitchen Galerie Poisson in Old Montreal.

    1. I just had totally delicious lobster at Ruby Rouge in Chinatown. It's prepared either with salt and pepper or in a ginger-garlic sauce. Very yum and only $10.95.

      5 Replies
      1. re: foodinspace

        boiled lobster? Wow maybe i should go.

        1. re: SourberryLily

          Chinese don't usually boil lobsters, though they do occasionally steam them. By far the most common preparation method is vivisection with a cleaver -- -- followed by stir-fying in a wok.

          1. re: carswell

            I am now traumatized for life. Doubt i'll go order that now. Curse my delicate sensibilities~~!

            1. re: SourberryLily

              Oh, I am definitely not going to click on that link. Ignorance is bliss, right? The lobster seemed fried and was therefore completely different from anything I have eaten at non-Chinese restaurants.

            2. re: carswell

              i believe keung kee must boil their lobster since it comes moist and flavorful as a lobster should. they have the best ginger lobster in chinatown (in my opinion). it is very delicate and tasty.

        2. You're in the wrong city for this. Montreal is too far from the ocean to really have good/cheap seafood. I'm not saying there's absolutely no good sushi or seafood, but it's really not Montreal's forte.

          17 Replies
          1. re: eoj

            i dunno, bananas at provigo are 69 cents today and they come from much further than the east coast. i don't think the issue is a lack of supply but that we have a small population. i've had lots of cheap and delicious sushi in toronto...

            1. re: celfie

              bananas also have a longer life than fish

              1. re: kpaxonite

                I m skittish about eating fish in chinatown and many places around the city after a bad experience, but when I learned that a certain doctor is a regular for decades at bejing I decided I would go there for ginger lobster, so when muvbox closes I guess I will head back to beijing! Hadnt really thought about how the lobster died but these must be boiled as served cut in half in shell. Simple preparation, no ambience in this restaurant but if its good enough for a doctor then I figure I have less chance of getting ill!
                I dont think this is a place for most outoftowners who would want more decor and sophistication in presentation.

                as for muvbox, must be closing soon, I wrote them a little note on their contact page that they need to offer another bread option to the hot dog bun and preferably have a veggie option even coleslaw other than the cape cod chips ! First time I had a lobster pizza and no complaints there.

                1. re: wilmagrace

                  Doctor's are notoriously cavalier about their own health, so I would not take this an any indication. For shellfish, I won't order it anywhere unless I REALLY trust the kitchen.

                  1. re: celfie

                    the problem I think is when the fish is unthawed prior to preparation and so with the busier restaurants you can expect there would be more turnover of the products!

                    1. re: wilmagrace

                      And most freezers fluctuate in temperature, causing micromelting/microfreezing (which leads to freezer burn) so storage tends to have a huge effect on quality.

                2. re: celfie

                  My standards for cheap and delicious sushi are based on Vancouver, so it all depends on your scale I guess.

                3. re: eoj

                  You need to start watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network and tell me how it is that one-off restos (i.e. not part of a chain) in Oklahoma, Montana and other midwestern States can serve fresh and reasonably priced fish, and, in some cases, build their entire resto's reputation on it.

                  1. re: Haggisboy

                    besides, there is plenty of 'affordable' seafood for sale in this city. As for sushi, there isn't the same kind of demand as in a city like toronto (which is far from the ocean) yet toronto somehow manages to have an entire tier of affordable, quality sushi generation and sushi on bloor in particular. These types of complaints wouldnt occur if our sushi restaurants didn't suck (causing us to question its value). also in vancouver they're not exactly giving away toro. Has anyone noticed the lack of plain ol' seafood restaurants? probably because people here don't want them!!! however, there's no shortage of greek, portugese with fantastic fish.

                    1. re: celfie

                      I wouldn't say people here don't want, or aren't interested in seafood restaurants. They exist and are well frequented, there's just not a whole lot of them and the majority tend to be Greek-type seafood joints (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it gets to be kind of one-note in this city).

                      The other week some friends took me out to Homard Plus for my birthday as they know I'm a seafood geek. I wasn't paying so the prices - middle of the road - didn't bother me. Though I regretted having a dish that consisted of the ubiquitous king crab legs and shrimp (a whole crab of any other smaller type would have been my preference), the grilled octopus entree was heavenly, as were their snails.

                      My only complaint, and it isn't directed specifically at that restaurant, which was, in all respects a terrific night out, is that the choices of seafood we tend to get in Montreal are limited.

                      I can understand this with restaurants as they are in the market to make money and to do so, they have to restrict their stock to what sells in quantity. With fishmongers, however, I expect more, even if they have to stock less-in-demand species in smaller quantities, or provide them frozen.

                      Example: I've been on the hunt for over a year (having posted previously about this on this board) for domestic US catfish. Not the Bassa stuff that's imported from Vietnam, but the Blue or Channel varieties farmed and sold widely in the States. I've been to La Mer, Waldmans, Le Pecheur du Marche, and a few others, and nada.

                      You want Basa? You can buy it fresh at Adonis or frozen at Metro. It's bland and tasteless and not worth the money. I want the real deal, the stuff they serve in Louisiana at fish fries. You'd think you could get this in Montreal but nope. Not even frozen.

                      Fresh live blue crabs? I've only ever seen them at Chinese grocers like Kim Hoa in Pierrefonds (forgive me, but I live on the Waste Island). They obviously get them from somewhere, but unless I went on the wrong day(s), I haven't seen them at the big fish mongers.

                      1. re: Haggisboy

                        as I recall even red lobster franchises couldnt make it here but are booming in Ontario communities; they have decent kind of fish choices for families and those who are concerned about prices when dining out.

                        received prompt reply from muvbox about suggestion of ditching chips and white bread bun:

                        We really appreciate your comments and we want to thank you for your
                        We presently work on a second "Homard des îles" and we will try to improve
                        our concept.
                        We just wanted to explain why we did make these choices regarding the bread
                        and the chips. We wanted to reproduce the original concept of lobster rolls
                        imported from the Maine and Cape Cod. Even if we made some tests with other
                        types of bread, the original lobster rolls are made in this kind of bread.
                        That is also the reason why we choose the "Cape Cod" chips and especially
                        with the salt and vinegar.
                        At the same time we focalised on the best quality of lobster and the recipe
                        of the mix.
                        We will probably work on the possibility to offer some salads for the next
                        We hope that we will count on you for the next season and be free to give us
                        your comments!

                        Muvbox Team

                        1. re: wilmagrace

                          ya i;m sure they really focused on obtaining the best quality lobster meat. with extra no lobster flavour.

                          1. re: celfie

                            Isn't Muvbox's lobster from a can?

                            1. re: Haggisboy

                              yup and it tastes like it too. not a fan. the bun is so horrible too. even the mclobster is better.

                              1. re: celfie

                                i would expect so, we used to have someone who periodically would go to iles des madeleines and would bring back the lobster pieces with claws intact in very large cans. It was great as a quick addition to salads. I would expect mclobster uses same kind of produce, never saw them cooking live lobsters in mcdonalds but where are you buying mclobsters here, i only had them in New England states and maybe a long time ago for limited time in parts of Canada. Anyways muvbox is a cute concept and I am glad to see this kind of product in the boat lock/les eclusiers area than another burger joint, enough of those around montreal.

                                1. re: wilmagrace

                                  not here, but i am simply stating that the muvbox roll is as well executed as the mclobster - which isn't saying much considering the plethora of alternatives in that region