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Jan 28, 2011 03:08 PM

Montreal's Top 3 Restaurants

Heading to Montreal in 2 weeks. I think we're there for 4 nights or so - I want to go to the best that Montreal has to offer - price is not an issue.

What would be Montreal's top 3?

Planning a lunch at Schwartz's... anything other 'foodie' experience we shouldn't miss?

I've not been there in at least 5 years.

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    1. Hi justpete,

      First, when you say top restaurant from any category? Schwatz's is a very good smoke meat place (I think it's a better steakhouse!), it's more in the "greasy spoon' (casual) category.

      Montreal top for year's is Restaurant Toqué ( go ) in the Old Mtl area. You indicated that price is NOT an issue ... this is one of the most expensive restaurant in Mtl.

      Nose to nose with Toqué is Le Club Chasse et Pêche ( go ).

      Near the same area (Old Mtl) there is also Restaurant Le Local ( see A bit less costly than Toqué and Club. Young and very creative Chef.

      Au Pied de Cochon, Martin Picard restaurant, who specialize in Foie Gras.

      If you want to stay in the Schwartz's category, try Taverne Magnan. Especially for their roast beef with black pepper sauce!

      Montreal as a lot to offer in restaurant and everyone has their favorites. For example, check this article from The Gazette on high-end restaurants (2009):
      They also have an article on casual restaurant. However, Toqué doesn't show up in their list.

      Hope you enjoy Montreal and have, possibly, the best meal of your life!


      3 Replies
      1. re: axone

        That's a great list! Thanks Axone! I wasnt including Schwartz's as part of out "top-restaurants" dinner plans - I just understand that it's the best smoked meat in MTL and is not to be missed!

          1. re: justpete

            Id also check out XO and La Chronique

      2. What do you want ? what do you NOT want ? wine list important ? ethnicity ? vege ?

        - Au Pied de Cochon is not to be missed ... if you're into large portions and want to indulge in foie gras and other porc and regional cuisine (but ask for the day specials ...)

        - 3 Petits Cochons is a fun bistro/wine bar specialising in natural wine and private import wines.

        - Le Comptoir is the new "hip" hit in town for small plates and charcuterue and small and fun wine list.

        La "Salle A Manger" offer some local cuisine with some interesting menu items for 2 (need to ask them, I don't think the web site is up to date)

        the 4 "best" restaurants are Toqué!, Europea, La Chronique and "Le Club Chasse et Pêche"; the 2 first are more into "international" level resaurant flavor with very good produces, La Chronique is a small restaurant a little bit more "bourgeois" but very good; and Le Club is quite "montreal-ish" in style and substance with an atmosphere of "private club".

        Other places :
        Alep, Damas, "5ème peché" "Chien Fumant", Raza, Mas, Pullman ...


        1227, rue de la Montagne, Montreal, QC H3G1Z2, CA

        16 Replies
        1. re: Maximilien

          What do I want? Postings just like yours - I'm not particular as to cuisine or atmosphere, just wanted a general idea of all the top restaurants so I could pick a few to dine at. Thank you for your contribution.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Im booked at Toque on Friday, and Decca 77 on Saturday as timing was tight before the Hockey game (that we're going to at 7). Decca 77 was recommended by the Chef/Owner at La Chronique for it's proximity to The Forum...

              Decca 77
              1077, rue Drummond, Montréal, QC H3B 4X4, CA

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                I certainly think DNA should be on the list.

                My picks would be DNA, APDC, Au Cinquieme Peche.

                For the casual end that's classic, not-to-be-missed Montreal: Schwartz's for a smoked meat sandwich, St-Viateur for bagels, and La Banquise for poutine.

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

              2. re: Maximilien

                max, don't you mean '3 petits bouchons'? and i second that recommendation, the place is great for both wine and food

                1. re: mak2k

                  Hi, Mak2k is right. On St-Denis Street. Excellent bistro. Far from the Bell Centre! Their web site is . It's in French, however the articles tab will give you some English reviews.

                  Near the Bell Centre, their is Magnan Tavern (2602 St-Patrick Strt) for a different experience! Best roast beef (with black pepper sauce) ever had!!! Don't forget the cold beer and low prices! For decor, remember it's a tavern! Go see their web site also:
                  Enjoy Montreal!

                  Bell Centre
                  , Montreal, QC H2Y, CA

                  1. re: axone

                    So I went to Toque. It was excellent - some very interesting dishes. The Bread was a disappointment, however, and a poor introduction to the restaurant. The wine parings were great, the food was intuitive and interesting. They had a foie gras terrine on endives that was incredible. The other complaint I had was that there was a lobster and shrimp salad w/ Avacado in a hollowed out grapefruit. In the mix, though, was a very, very pungent scallion. I couldn't get the scallion off my palette for another 4 dishes. It was pretty annoying.

                    I also went to Decca 77. The food was utterly terrible - I'm shocked that anyone would have recommended it, let alone the chef/owner of a top Montreal restaurant. The food was cold, un-imaginitive, and bland. My chicken confit, I'm sure was sous-vide instead - and lacked any flavour.

                    The sommelier and wines, however, were excellent - it's not often you run in to a restaurant where the sommelier is better/more talented than the chef.

                    Oh yes - we also went to a place called Juliette & Chocolat - a place we stumbled on to while trying to kill some time. This place was also a total and complete disaster, and we couldn't find a manager anywhere. Not a single personnel in the place was older than 20. I asked to see the manager, and our server said that she was in charge.

                    Lastly, we went to Schwartz's. There's a place in Toronto that has very good smoked meat, it's called Caplansky's. They have an excellent product. I thought it would be comparable to Schwartz's. Boy, was I wrong. Schwartz's takes it by a landslide - and you wouldn't believe how good Caplansky's is. Schwartz's has something special, though, and I brought 2 pounds home. I can't wait to go back, despite having to had stood in line.

                    Decca 77
                    1077, rue Drummond, Montréal, QC H3B 4X4, CA

                    Juliette & Chocolat
                    1615 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2X 3K3, CA

                    1. re: justpete

                      Hi Pete,

                      Great you enjoyed Mtl. As for Decca77, please write back to La Chronique about it. I went there for lunch a few years back and I wasn't impressed. I thought it was because only a lunch!

                      We have quite a few places with really good smoke meat. Unfortunately we lost Ben's. Admit, Schwartz's is special. Love those half sour pickle with a cold Cotts' black cherry soda! Surprisingly my favorite is the liver steak.

                      I still have a soft spot for Chez Toqué. Le Club Chasse et Pêche is also a favorite.

                      I didn't try Chuck Hughes restaurant Le Garde Manger (it's the chef on Chuck's Day Off on the Food Network). Was told it was pretty good. Small restaurant (around 30 seats I was told ?).

                      1. re: axone

                        I should also mention that I tried to get a seat at le locale, but it was fully booked, being that it was Valentines day. The best they could offer us was a bar seat, but I turned that down. Le club chasse and le local will have to wait until our next visit.

                        Thanks for all of your recommendations! Well, except for Mr. La Chronique. Ha!

                        1. re: justpete

                          I am assuming Decca 77 was recommended solely on the fact that it is near Bell Centre, and they have a pre-game fixed price menu (if I'm not mistaken) to get people out the door in time for the game.
                          But definitely let La Chronique know about your experience, and they hopefully will think twice before recommending it again.

                      2. re: justpete

                        I'm not entirely surprised to hear about problems at J&C ... I'm assuming you were at the one on St-Denis. Their service has been horrendous for years. The one up on Laurier was still good that last time I went, though.

                        I once went to a business dinner at Decca77 on a Monday night and it was fine, but it definitely isn't somewhere I would recommend as a "top" restaurant. This was also a couple years ago, so it may have gotten worse.

                        1. re: eoj

                          Could've been the J&C on St-Laurent, it's also staffed by teenagers, and I've heard the wait is brutal (up to 45 mins to get your order).

                          1. re: Shattered

                            In defense of J&C I have never had problems with service at the Laurier location (the only location I have visited, but I have been quite often in the past year or so) That said, I don't normally go at peak times (I have never had to wait in line for a table)

                            1. re: unlaced

                              My experience at the Laurier location has always been good as well, which is why I surmised that it was the St-Denis (or as someone else pointed out, the St-Laurent) location. I wonder if the more upscale neighbourhood has something to do with the better service.

                              1. re: eoj

                                According to my SO, we were indeed at the St. Laurent location.

                          2. re: eoj

                            I think Decca 77 has deteriorated. I went for a business dinner a few months ago and I had a similar experience to justpete's.

                            Decca 77
                            1077, rue Drummond, Montréal, QC H3B 4X4, CA

                  2. If you are looking for a great Viet place for lunch, try Pho Tay Ho 6414 Rue Saint-Denis
                    (514) 273-5627. You have to order the Bun Cha-grilled pork and pork patties wrapped in perilla leaves, served with a mountain of fresh herbs and bun noodles!