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Montreal - Garde Manger vs. Club Chasse and Lemeac vs. Laloux

First trip to Montreal for an NYC hound couple. Trying to decide between restaurants for two of our three nights in town. We are celebrating our first anniversary but want geat food first and great ambiance second.

I've combed the threads and looked at menus, narrowed it down to the following:

SATURDAY - Garde Manger or Club Chasse

SUNDAY - APDC (reservation secured)

MONDAY - Laloux or Lemeac (or anywhere else you can recommend that's open on a Monday, these seemed to be the best of the lot. No BYOB's)

We'll also be visiting Olive et Gourmando for lunch Sat, Schwartz's for lunch Sun, Patati Patata for lunch Mon and hitting up the Jean Talon Market prior to our departure on Tuesday. Will stop at St. Viateur for bagels either Sun or Mon AM - though we've had them at Mile End in Brooklyn, looking forward to tasting them from the source!

Let me know your thoughts and if we are missing anything crucial. Thanks!

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Olive et Gourmando
351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA

Patati Patata
4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

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  1. You've covered pretty much everything. Although, being a traveller myself i've never seems to have ALL my planned meals.

    Garde Manger is very hard to get reservations on a Sat night. When are you going? I'd reserve 2-3 weeks in advance.

    1. That's quite the plan!

      For Saturday, I think both the food and ambiance are "better" at Club Chasse.

      For Monday, I'd recommend Laloux, but that's mostly based on others' recent claims that Lemeac is not quite the restaurant it once was (at least relative to other options). Also, I can't think of a BYO off the top of my head thats definitely open Mondays, but is there a specific reason you are avoiding them? (i'm just curious..)

      Definitely get St. V bagels at the source (one of the two locations on St. Viateur)... As delicious as mile end is, these bagels lose 90% of their goodness the second they reach room temperature, and re-heating them only does so much good. Have fun!

      6 Replies
      1. re: Fintastic

        I agree Chasse et Peche is FAR better.

        Patati is a great call for lunch... instead Olives et Gourmando I I suggest you take the lunch special at dna.... it isnt that much more expensive (20 dollars vs 15). You wont regret it; its amazing ...and there is a decent chance you would regret O and G.

        Also if you really want to squeeze things in buy a sandwich at schwartz and a half chicken at romados (im eating it right now and every time I do I think about how its the best chicken in the whole world) and share them. The two places are very close to eachother. Since it will be sunday i recommend eating it all at parc jeane mance (Iook up tam tams festival)

        1. re: kpaxonite

          Chasse et Peche all the way! Garde Manger is hip and trendy,Food is good,not great. You won't be dissapointed with CC et P

          1. re: petek

            Lemeac is lively and full on mondays, the food is excellent in my opinion.

            1. re: superbossmom

              I haven't been to Laloux but i recently went to Lemeac and it was absolutely superb. Everybody at our table had a wonderful meal.

              1. re: SourberryLily

                I have been to both Laloux and Lemeac very recently. Laloux despite changes in the kitchen is as good or better than it has ever been. Let the staff choose the wine by the glass for you and you will have a great experience.

                I didn't notice any big drop off in quality at Lemeac either; the crab cake and the escargot apps were delicious. My companion litterally (almost) lickeded her plate for her filet mignon main; my roast duck magret was nice. We ordered single glasses of white wine to start and splurged on a California Pinot Noir. You should be happy at either of these very Montreal institutions. As mentioned Lemeac is likely to be the more boistrous of the two; Laloux a bit more relaxing. Great non-stuffy service both places. I would say Laloux by a nose (or maybe a head) -- Laloux is likely to have the innovative desserts.

                Just to make things interesting Mas des Oliviers (also open Monday) is a solid contender; I just ate there after a rather long hiatus on my part. I am happy to report that this downtown institution has fully returned to its past glories (after having gone through a bit of bad spell a year or so ago.) I will try to write a review in a few days.

                So you have three very solid choices!

                1. re: SourberryLily

                  you can also choose to go to lemeac for brunch, its very popular with families on weekends and it is often full late evenings as they have discounted meals after 10pm
                  http://www.restaurantlemeac.com/en-CA...
                  http://www.restaurantlemeac.com/en-CA...

        2. Thought I'd give you my thoughts as my wife and I are also NYC foodies and have travelled to Montreal 5-6 times over the past 5 years and in fact were just there last w/e. Never ate at Garde Manger, actually tried to a couple of years ago but it was closed when we walked by and we walked into it this past w/e and looked around (it was early) but we had reservations already at Club Chasse et Peche. Can't recommend CC et P any more then to tell you we've eaten there every trip to Montreal. We actually ate at the bar this past w/e bc we love the apps more then the entree's and didn't want to occupy a table if we just drank a few glasses of wine and ate several apps. I ended up ordering an entree as well (wife stuck to the plan) bc they had a poached lobster/kobe steak combo that sounded too good to pass up. Definitely get the scallops (they cut back from 3 to 2 though)and the pork risotto w/foie gras shavings for apps, you won't be disappointed. We also have eaten at APDC every trip as well as last w/e. I also recommend you ask to sit at the bar in front of the open kitchen as it is pure theater watching the chefs do their thing. Also, try the APDC Beer, it is great and cheap $5. I am a foie gras nut so I typically get a couple foie gras items there. Try the tomato tart (they also had a wild mushroom tart which we also got which my wife loved). My wife doesn't eat pig and always orders the fish of the day-which was swordfish last Friday, halibut and cod previously. She says it is always amazing. Also you get 2 foie gras shots for $3.50 (fried foie gras) which are novel and tasty if you like foie gras. I wouldn't go to Olive et G for lunch-they open at 8am on w/e so just graze there for b'fast. JMHO. Also, we both hated Schwartz's-if you like NYC delis this place is a dump in comparison. The smoked meat is a joke again IMHO. I would skip this place. Instead hit L'Express for lunch and go to Jean Talon Market (we've gone here every time as well and this past w/e hit Atwater too for the first time) for lunch. You can seriously graze at Jean Talon. We typically buy a small size of strawberries, wild blueberries and earth cherries (cerises de terre) and munch on them along with grabbing a sandwich at one of the many booths surrounding the market. We also sometimes buy some cooked baby shrimp and picked jonah crab meat and eat that while we walk around. The ice cream place Havre de Glace is pretty awesome too. We have been to both Fairmount and St. Viateur bagels before but decided to have a taste off this w/e and determined that St. Viateur was a 10 out of 10 compared to Fairmounts 8.5 out of 10. Make sure you go to the St. Viateur at 158 St. Viateur-IMO. We also ate at Brasserie T for lunch-it is the new lowkey sister of Toque. Wife had braised rabbit salad (served kept saying it was candied rabbit so my wife ordered it for the hell of it) and liked it, I had codfish and potato spread on a couple of pieces of toast. We have eaten at Toque previously but we tried to double dip dinner by eating at APDC at 5pm and Toque at 8:30pm with disastrous results. Neither of us really could appreciate the second dinner so don't try it. Our server at CC de P recommended a few places for us to try next visit which I'll list-bear in mind we haven't eaten at these places yet:
          Trois Petit Bouchous-neighborhood bistro
          Juni-high end sushi
          Graziella-high end Italian
          Joe Beef
          Liverpool House
          McKiernan

          Last but not least, if you like beer def go to Dieu du Ciele, they don't open til 3pm but it is amazing. We showed up at 2pm, wandered over to St. Denis and bought Tin Tin stuff and returned at 3:10pm figuring they probably wouldn't open right at 3pm. Well there was a line of 50 people out the door and I snagged the last table in the joint while the wife waited in line. The small beers are $2-3 and are all handcrafted. So take my ramblings for what they are worth. Enjoy Montreal-we always do.

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

          L'Express Restaurant
          3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

          5 Replies
          1. re: Fallon

            Awesome review!
            Le Saint bock is good for beer too with 300 choices.....
            And I think you are dead wrong about schwartz
            But right about st viateur and T

            1. re: kpaxonite

              Kpaxonite-I don't get the appeal of Schwartz's. I wanted to like the place, I really did. It was dirty and compared to any of the deli's here in NYC it was not in the top 100. Really don't get it. But hey, just my opinion (and the wife's too).

              1. re: Fallon

                Well to be fair I never actually eat at schwartz because I live fairly close by and usually just walk there and get take out for my place or mt royal park... either way I know there are plenty of people who will agree with you (though the not making top 100 in nyc comment is extreme......) and an equal amount who will agree with me (and another group that will say schwartz is good but the main across the street is better)...

                1. re: kpaxonite

                  I think part of the problem is a direct comparison of Schwartz's and NYC delis. What Schwartz's serves, no deli in new york can match (and few try), and what you can get at NYC delis is not a specialty of Schwartz's. Anything I've ever ordered at Schwartz's, other than mtl smoked meat and pickles, has been a disappointment. I also hate trying to eat their sandwiches as assembled. When I lived across the street I'd buy a pound of meat, rye bread and mustard and do it myself. It all felt much more reasonable.

                2. re: Fallon

                  I agree wholeheartedly. It's a dive and the smoked meat is no better than Snowdon deli. Their attitude is obnoxious, their ambience terrible and their "food' is highly overrated.

                  Yeah, I really need a cherry coke sitting next to some loud NY tourists.I just don't understand the Montreal penchant for dingy holes-in-the.-wall, like Montreal Poolroom and what used to be Ben's. Crappy food, crappy service crappy ambience.

            2. Thanks so much for all your recs!

              Revised plan below, with a single void - breakfast on Monday. Beauty's or L'Avenue, before hiking Mont Royal. Which has better food?

              Also, do we need a reso for brunch at Lemeac?

              SAT - Lunch at Olive et Gourmando, Dinner at Club Chasse et Peche

              SUN - Breakfast at St. Viateur, Late Brunch at Lemeac, Dinner at APDC

              MON - Progressive lunch splitting food at Schwartz's (sandwich), Romado's (chicken) and Patati Patata (poutine)

              TUE - Snacking brunch at Jean Talon Market before departure

              -----
              Olive et Gourmando
              351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA

              Patati Patata
              4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: tatiana_nyc

                i LOVE your monday lol

                I dont know if you will really need to eat breakfast considering your lunch but in the neighbourhood there is a diner type place called beauty's or you could walk through mcgills beautiful campus and eat at the diner on milton near university ... a full breakfast (two eggs bacon sausage toast ) is 5 bucks. It isnt fancy at all and will only have students and maybe a prof or two but it is a pretty good breakfast for the price.

                1. re: tatiana_nyc

                  I'm sad you're missing out on The Sparrow - such an awesome breakfast/brunch! But they aren't open Mondays...

                  Haven't been to Beauty's in years but hear these days it's an overpriced tourist trap. A friend *loves* l'Avenue but I haven't been there. Just check that they're open for brunch on Mondaya.

                  1. re: tatiana_nyc

                    A reservation for brunch at Lemeac is probably a good idea, but since I've only been for dinner I'm not certain if it's absolutely necessary.

                  2. We are an old time NYC couple who just moved here. You must try Sparrow for brunch on teh weekend, much better than Schwartz (skip this-you have something ten times better in Katz' on Houston in NYC), and much better than Olive et Gourmando. Au pied de cochon is the most unique by far in Montreal-very much of a "foodie" menu with the kind of Bourdain style food-organ meats, hearty fare, very interesting and rich combinations. I agree with the NYC couple that Schwartz' smoked meat doesn't compare with Katz'. Definately Laloux over Lemiac, but definately put L'Express up there as a must try before Lemiac. Laloux has some wonderful and unique deserts-be sure to try their chocolate desert which they are famous for. Best Brunch in all of Montreal is Sparrow, which is only open for a few brunches and a few lunches during the week. It's amazing, with a chef trained by the legendary British Chef, Gordon Ramsay, who has so many restaurants and all of them great. La Chronique is great for lunch and you can have any of their wines by the glass if you get the right somelier. DNA is really excellent, and try their heart of veal tartare, or their pork belly, or much more; they do a lot of very unusual and local things. Olive et Gourmando is great, but do Sparrow first. For interesting cuisine, try Le Georgia for food that is from the old Soviet Union. Generally, skip Korean and Chinese here in Montreal with so many great places in teh various boroughs of New York. An interesting Indonesion restaurant called Nona is very good. Good New York level Sushi exists in Juni, but won't compete with Kuruma, Sushi Yasuda, and others of that caliber. A wonderful Peruvian style brunch on weekends at Madre in the Gay Village area. Authentic Mexican in Guadalupe in that neighborhood. Wonderful sausage around the city, and Jean Talon berfore you leave will be disapointed in the fall vs. summer season, but homemade salamis there from an Island in teh St. Laurence are worth taking home if you can. Bagel's at St. Viateur, are great, but get their St. Adar lox (no match for Russ and Daughters in NYC, but a good solid clean and firm tasting lox), but be sure to try Quebec style cream cheese-it has real cultures and tastes much better than anything in NYC, even the homemade ones at Zabars). At Jean Talon, be sure to try Hamel market for their amazing assortment of cheeses, which will make any NYC person jealous. Jean Talon. Premiere Moisson is wonderful bakery there, and has an amazing array of baked things, as well as lunchy things as well as a full array of Pate. Don't know Patati Patata at all.

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                    Olive et Gourmando
                    351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA

                    L'Express Restaurant
                    3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

                    Le Georgia
                    5112 Boul Decarie, Montreal, QC H3X2H9, CA

                    Patati Patata
                    4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

                    Premiere Moisson
                    3025 Rue Saint-Ambroise, Montreal, QC H3J, CA

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: foodlovergeneral

                      Chef Marc Cohen and a couple of other principals have left the Sparrow to open their own restaurant. No word yet on how the replacement team is faring. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7461...

                      The Indonesian restaurant is called Nonya. http://www.nonya.ca/

                      If buying bagels at St-Viateur during slightly extended normal business hours, you can get far better smoked salmon a block away (west side of Parc just south of Bernard) at Nouveau Falero's upstairs store. A half dozen or so types, including M. Émile's. Other smoked fish too.

                      Le Georgia's fun but the neighbourhood is soulless and kind of off the beaten path for tourists.

                      There's no disputing taste, but I'd never recommend L'Express over Leméac. A tired old menu, dishes prepared without passion and served in a noisy room by indifferent waiters. About the only attraction is the fairly priced wine list.

                      -----
                      L'Express Restaurant
                      3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

                      Le Georgia
                      5112 Boul Decarie, Montreal, QC H3X2H9, CA

                      1. re: carswell

                        Have any Chowhounds tried the Rijstaffel at Nonya? How is it?

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          Years ago and I've never had it anywhere else, but I really enjoyed it. At the time, they had three different rijstaffels. Both times we ordered it, we had whatever was the meatiest one. Highlights were the cornish game hen in red curry, the rendang and the tempeh.

                      2. re: foodlovergeneral

                        For brunch on Sundays I love the Orange Cafe on Decarie. Great coffee, good menu and most importantly good food. As for lox; all of Montreal would agree, I think, that the best lox ever is to be found on Victoria Ave at the Victoria Fish Market.

                        1. re: foodlovergeneral

                          Old timey Noo Yawkahs shouldn't pass judgement on Schwartz, comparing to freakin pastrami of all things. Dem's fightin woids! ;)