Thanks for all the help Montreal and Quebec
I just returned from a visit to Montreal and Quebec. We had a nice time. It would have been great if we had not had rain EVERY day, but Quebec City is lovely.
I read the boards for a few weeks prior to our trip and wanted to thank you all for your active conversations. My report;
We stayed by Vieux Montreal, and I was not overwhelmed by what we found in that area (or the area itself, but that is another web site.) We were unfortunately there late on a Saturday night (after a delayed flight) Sunday and Monday when many places were closed, and were on a budget that may have limited our choices. Sunday morning was almost desolate and breakfast very hard to find.
I never made it to Schwartz's and I so wanted to. We did have a smoked meat sandwich at the train station that we thought was pretty good, but I would love to know what it is, since to me it tasted like a cross between corned beef and pastrami. I wanted to try poutine, but kind of wanted a kiddie size as I did not want to commit to it for a whole meal.
There was one standout. Per your suggestions and a suggestion from our concierge, we ended up at Leméac on Sunday night. It was our "fancy" meal, and it was fabulous. Service was great, wine was good and my husband's lamb looked out of this world. My cod (a fish I don't often choose) was great too; perfectly seared then roasted. I was sorry nothing else in the area was open as it would have been nice to take a more leisurely walk back to the metro after dinner.
I almost forgot. We also spent a morning at Jean Talon market. Oh my god, I wanted to buy every pepper, leek and piece of cheese in sight. It was a wonderful pleasure and a great stroll. I so wish I could have purchased some to take home...but it was early in my trip and alas, I was traveling via plane to a country that does not like other's produce to cross it's borders.
In Quebec City we had two notable meals. First a lunch at the Bistro Sous Le Fort, just down the hill from the Funnicular entrance in Basse Ville. I had an elk burger and my husband a duck sandwich, both really good and something we cannot get in Minneapolis on a regular basis.
For our last night, we ate at aux Anciens Canadiens and had a fabulous meal with the meat pie and pea soup as headliners. The chocolate cake (I could not convince him to get the maple pie) was enough for 4 people and really at $49 a head, their table d'hote menu is a value and more food than a person should consume in a day. On a budget? their lunch deal also seems a good value.
Thanks again. I hope to be back someday to eat more and see the city in the sun. And, as to dress codes---not to worry. We really found anything goes.
thanks for taking the time to give us feedback on your foodie visit, I havent been to jean talon market in a long time so will have to go back there for some grazing next summer. Glad to hear the Lemeac meal was worthwhile --so many times we recommend a place and then it goes downhill or is inconsistent. You are right about old montreal not the place to be on a rainy day (and we sure have had a few of them recently) nor in winter, but it does get less gloomy and more animated when the sun comes out. I think it is more a place to visit but the hotels have been expanding in that area and I am sure tourists walk those narrow streets perplexed by the lack of activity going on. For this reason the hotels in the downtown core have an advantage to give a more montreal experience --let alone the difficulty to find decent, interesting food at affordable prices in vieux montreal. Montrealers do enjoy walking/biking along the waterfront but rarely if at all go there to eat.
I think both from a culture and a foodie aspect, my recommendation would generally be a B&B in the Plateau over a hotel downtown (and certainly not Old Montreal). In the Plateau one is walking distance from many of the most recommended restaurants, not to mention tons of other options for people to discover on their own.
it just goes to show you divergence of opinion on this board which makes it so interesting, I have never found the plateau appealing, always looked rundown sort of shoddy to me despite some reputable restaurants; besides parking/traffic being a nightmare and sidewalks too get crowded. I dont think it is just an age thing as never really appealed to my children either, they seemed to prefer st denis or laurier or mileend places than mont royal ave. per se. I would certainly never recommend it as a place to stay but i can see others who enjoy the hustle and bustle of that neighbourhood and variety of stores praising the plateau area. I do like the fact that there are some cute little restaurants off of main street, always something new to discover.
The Plateau includes St-Denis and Laurier, as well as Mont-Royal. Perhaps your definition of "The Plateau" is stricter than mine. I would agree that the Plateau is not a place for cars/parking, but that's part of what I love about it and it makes it great place to walk and discover restaurants just by looking at the menus you pass (that's how I discovered Au Cinquieme Peche, before it became so frequently recommended here).
Au Cinquieme Peche
4475 St-Denis, Montreal, QC H2J 2K8, CA