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Wedding Anniversary dinner recommendations? Romantic, not too fussy

  • m

Hi,

I'm taking my wife up to Montreal next month to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We'll be there for three nights. I've already made dinner reservations for two of them--Le Club Chasse and APDC. I'm hoping you all can provide me with some guidance for the third night.

We're coming up from Wash DC, so we have ready access to fussy, modern fine dining. I'm not looking for anything ostentatious (although price is not really an object), which is why I've canceled my reservations at Toque and Europea. I'd like something that's romantic, French (or French-inspired), and intimate. Most of all, I'd like a place that is uniquely Montreal.

I'd say we're "foodies," although I'm not exactly sure what they means. At any rate, we take food seriously, and (I like to think) we appreciate a well-constructed meal. The quality of the food is at least as important to us as the room or the service. So basically, I'm looking for a place that has it all.

We'll be staying downtown, but I'm happy to travel (within the city).

Based on posts I've read so far, I think I'm leaning in the direction of the following (in no particular order): Les Trois Petits Bouchons, Kitchen Galerie, Au Cinquieme Peche, Laloux.

I'd love to hear any thoughts you all might have. Thanks in advance.

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    1. The food at DNA is of undeniable quality, but I would hardly call the place intimate or particularly romantic. I think you'd be better off at the oft-mentioned (on these boards) 5iem Peche or the hardly-ever-mentioned-but-still-damn-good Les Deux Singes de Montarvie. I don't know why that place gets a bum rap 'round yonder. Its prices may be a touch higher than some of its bistro brethren I suppose, but it has great ambiance and the food's delicious.

      Otherwise, for a more 'Montreal' experience, why not pick up a great bottle (or two!) at an SAQ and hit one of the better BYOBs. Les Héritiers, L'entrepont and Les Infidèles are all charming and romantic, and Le P'tit Plateau will wow you with its rustic French cuisine.

      3 Replies
      1. re: thebenc

        I have always found Les Infideles too loud, and I think Les Heritiers has lost some of its magic since it didn't seem that special the one time I tried it. L'entrepont was great, though!

        1. re: thebenc

          Les Deux Singes is an interesting recommendation... I want to love it, and I did really like it the first time I was there. In fact, I liked it so much that I recommended it to many others. However, I returned two times since my first experience and was much less impressed.

          What got me the first time (forgive the spottiness of this review as it was years ago): the reasonably-priced wines, an outstanding pastry appetizer that I think contained apples and cheese, on-the-house fish-based treats throughout the meal, as well as a really interesting main dish containing a really mild fish (I think salmon), a really mild cheese, and some type of red meat sauce, that together somehow melded into a perfect taste combination (strange sounding, I know... but it was my strongest experience of a whole far exceeding the sum of parts in a culinary sense).

          The times I've been back, the amazing dishes I had ordered the first time had been removed from the menu (though the same mediocre vegetarian options remained). I found the items I ordered on my last two visits to be overwhelmingly bland. Perhaps this preparation was intended to highlight the natural flavours of each dish, but I found each rather disappointing. Also, the wait staff, although helpful enough, exuded a sense of pretentiousness that has also discouraged me from going back. It felt to me like the staff wanted us to know that they were doing us a favour by providing us with service. Perhaps they were, but I think that should be left up to the guest to decide. All in all, it may be a good restaurant, but it is one I have actively avoided going back to.

          To the original poster, I would suggest Au Cinquieme Peche as well. Also, what about P'tit Plateau for a BYO option?

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          Au Cinquieme Peche
          4475 St-Denis, Montreal, QC H2J 2K8, CA

          1. re: thebenc

            I have to agree with your recommendation to eat at Les deux singed de Montarvie. I'm surprised there isn't more buzz about that place. I was there in July for dinner and the food was incredible. I had a lobster sausage dish (why is that not featured on every seafood restaurant's menu?) which was so good. My husband had a vegetarian chick pea & lentil curry that was also amazing. If I lived in Montreal I'd probably go back often!

          2. If you are looking for something romantic with fireplaces, candles, tablecloths with a French Canadian flair, you have to go to Gibby's in Old Montreal. Specialize in steaks and seafood. If you are a steak person, order the "Gibby's Cut" or great rack of lamb. Nice wine list also. After the dinner, take a nice relaxing ride on a caleche (horse drawn buggy).
            Happy Anniversary!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Van Nissen

              I wouldn't send a foodie to Gibby's. It's an old-fashioned steakhouse. I found my meal there traditional, but not really that great. The lamb was almost bland and really boring.

            2. I'd say "La Porte" (french food) or maybe La Chronique.

              Les Trois petits bouchons is good and fun, but not really romantic. Laloux is also nice, but not that romantic (i.e. not candlelight-ish); the others (Kitchen Gallery and Au 5è peche, I've not been).
              M.

              1. I'd definitely go for Au Cinquieme Peche. It's cozy and dim, and definitely has an unpretentious vibe, while still having top notch French-inspired food.

                DNA is delicious, but it's really not romantic. It's a big, open, modern dining room. Very stylish and fantastic food, but not intimate or romantic really.

                Au Bistro Gourmet might also suit. It's a little French bistro with a very small, cozy dining room. I think Justine Bistro a Vin could also suit the intimate, unpretentious vibe you're going for. However, of the three, I'd pick Au Cinquieme Peche as the most special.

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                Au Cinquieme Peche
                4475 St-Denis, Montreal, QC H2J 2K8, CA

                1. Thanks for the recommendations, folks. Based on your responses, I'm torn between Le P'tit Plateau and Au Cinquieme Peche, and based on what I've read here and elsewhere, I remain intrigued by Le Trois Petits Bouchons (acknowledging that it sounds like it's not romantic in a traditional sense).

                  Since you've been so helpful thus far, I'm going to push my luck with a follow-up: do you think I'd need reservations for any or all of these three for a Friday night in October? I'm so conflicted, I'm considering leaving Friday night open, and letting my wife decide (I would, of course, pass along all of your excellent feedback).

                  Thanks again, all.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: marcj

                    I think reservations are probably a must at Le P'tit Plateau. It's not a huge place, and they operate with two strict seatings a night. Also, while LPP is BYOW (hey now!), the other two aren't, so in the long run it's probably better to know in advance and have time to pick up a great bottle.

                    That being said, all three places are within minutes walks from each other, so you could always play it by ear and see how you feel.

                    1. re: thebenc

                      In re-reading these posts I realize that I keep not reading thebenc's last lines and then giving the exact same advice... maybe great minds think alike, but maybe I should just pay attention before I speak..

                    2. re: marcj

                      In the past I have been shocked to get a walk-in table on a Friday at 5ieme Peche (an early seating and during winter). However, I would not count on this for any of your 3 choices. All are fairly close to one another if you discovered there was no space at your first choice, but it hardly seems worth the risk of missing out entirely.

                      1. re: Fintastic

                        Thanks to both of you. I'm probably a bit too risk-averse to just head up to the neighborhood hoping we'll get in some place, but I might wait until that morning and then ask my wife which place sounds best.

                        1. re: marcj

                          Why don't you check the three of them out the day you arrive, and then reserve accordingly? You really can't go wrong with any of the three, IMHO.

                          1. re: cherylmtl

                            Cheryl--I just might do that! Glad to hear that you and other commenters seem to feel positively towards all three.

                      2. re: marcj

                        Au Cinquieme Peche almost always looks completely full and it's also a small restaurant. I would definitely reserve in advance for a Friday. I've not tried your other two options.

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                        Au Cinquieme Peche
                        4475 St-Denis, Montreal, QC H2J 2K8, CA