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FIRST TRIP TO MONTREAL

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soko Feb 8, 2011 06:19 AM

Fellow Chowhounders, please help. First trip to Montreal and there are three of us including an adventurous 14 year old chowhounder in training. What are the "not to be missed" dining/eating experiences in Montreal? I know about the wonderful Smoked Meat and of course Bagels, and I've heard about Pied de Cochon. So, what would you recommend? We're staying in Old Montreal. Really appreciate this!

  1. c
    celfie Feb 8, 2011 06:54 AM

    there are currently active threads on the first page offering suggestions

    1 Reply
    1. re: celfie
      s
      soko Feb 8, 2011 07:09 AM

      Hmmm, Celfie. Maybe I am not good at navigating this board, but I don't see anything on first page that talks to not to be missed experiences. I also did a search on the board and couldn't find anything. can you be more specific or point me to a link. Much appreciated.

    2. kpzoo Feb 8, 2011 07:20 AM

      Hiya, here are a couple of good threads:

      Spring Trip to Montreal - Suggestions?
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/763246

      A week of Montreal dining for two hungry brothers?
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/762162

      Mid-range to high-end Montreal restos: personal reccos
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643621

      Quintessential Montreal?
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/399473

      1. n
        newbie_gourmand Feb 8, 2011 11:12 AM

        Soko, I am probably not the best person to provide help, since I myself am a "tourist" when it comes to Montreal. But my boyfriend and I stayed in the Old Montreal area and will be staying there this March. This is only based on my past experience. In the Old Montreal area, we had dinner at Garde Manger (Chuck Hughes) and Holder. Despite many wonderful reviews, our experience at Garde Manger was not successful (both the food and service was pretty bad, maybe we went on an off-night but my boyfriend did not even finish his main plate. He told me that he could not swallow it anymore....sigh) But Holder was very nice. The food was not super amazing, but it was good and the service was amazing.

        I would also recommend the Olive + Gourmando in the Old Montreal. The service was crappy, but the baked goods were very tasty. We especially liked the Chocolate Banana Brioche: it was dense and yummy that we made the trip again the next day just to buy another one. I believe O+G doesn't open on Sunday and Monday, so you may want to check their website.

        We also went to a place called Le Cartet. We were there for brunch before leaving back to Toronto. I thought it was alright, a bit pricey for the food, but the place had nice vibes and people were lined up to get in on Sunday morning, so I guess it's a not a horrible place?

        Outside of Old Montreal, we went to St.Viateur Bagel, La Banquise and Kitchen Gallerie for a dinner. We also went to Jean Talon Market and ate some munchies here and there including some gelato. They were all fine. Again, we are not montreal locals, but we read numerous reviews and chose carefully since we were only there for a long weekend.....Hope this helps.

        Also, I don't know if you are cupcake fans, but Les Glaceurs is in the Old Montreal area near Notredame and I just saw a group deal (which I just bought). Maybe your family may enjoy the deal also. The link: http://dealoftheday.redflagdeals.com/...

        Let me know what your final plans will be. I am super happy to go back in March and am currently planning like crazy! lol. Mostly getting hungry.....

        -----
        Le Cartet
        106 Rue McGill, Montreal, QC H2Y, CA

        13 Replies
        1. re: newbie_gourmand
          SnackHappy Feb 8, 2011 11:46 AM

          Thank you for the fine report, but it's called Old Montreal not Old Port.

          1. re: SnackHappy
            n
            newbie_gourmand Feb 8, 2011 12:55 PM

            hope the edited response makes SnackHappy, truly happy! cheers!

            1. re: newbie_gourmand
              c
              celfie Feb 8, 2011 01:49 PM

              people regularly say old port - natives even.

              1. re: celfie
                SnackHappy Feb 8, 2011 02:02 PM

                That doesn't mean they're correct.

                1. re: SnackHappy
                  kpzoo Feb 8, 2011 03:42 PM

                  Agree. The Old Port is in Old Montreal, but not all of Old Montreal is part of the Old Port, so they can't accurately be used interchangably.

                  1. re: SnackHappy
                    s
                    Shattered Feb 10, 2011 11:49 AM

                    Here's a tip, newb gourmand: Next time, spend less time in the most overpriced, touristy part of town :) Tons of great food awaits outside Old Montreal (& not trying smoked meat is criminal).

                    1. re: Shattered
                      n
                      newbie_gourmand Feb 10, 2011 03:55 PM

                      Shattered, I guess since we stayed in Old Montreal, we resorted to staying in the Old Montreal area...besides Garde Manger, Holder and O+G were recommended to us by previous chowhounders (as the popular thread by Carswell) Anywho: I would love to hear your recommendations on "tons of great food" places outside of Old Montreal. Many thanks.

                      1. re: newbie_gourmand
                        s
                        Shattered Feb 12, 2011 11:27 AM

                        The threads above will give you lots of ideas. A few recs off the top of my head: Cafe Ferreira on, Phillinos on Parc, and Schwartz on St. Laurent.

              2. re: SnackHappy
                s
                shopgirl Feb 8, 2011 04:30 PM

                Well, I believe (as a tourist myself) that the area by the water is called the Old Port. As Wikipedia states:
                "Today, the riverfront welcomes over seven million visitors per year. The historical Old Port offers Montrealers and visitors alike access to a wide variety of activities, including the Montréal Science Centre, with an IMAX Theatre, and the Montreal Clock Tower. It offers riverfront access for walking, cycling, roller-blading, quadricycle, pedalo and Segway rentals. It is also located at the eastern end of the Lachine Canal, which has itself been extensively refurbished as a popular destination for cycling, roller-blading and pleasure boating. Cultural events include the Festival Montréal en lumière, Igloofest and the Matsuri Japon festival.
                The Old Port of Montreal changed its name to The Quays of the Old Port of Montreal in 2005. Every 2 years the Cirque du Soleil launches a new show from the Jacques Cartier Quay."

                1. re: shopgirl
                  c
                  chickenbruiser Feb 8, 2011 05:44 PM

                  Old Port = park/tourist area on the water front.
                  Old Montreal = general historic area including the Old Port.
                  restaurants are in Old Montreal not the Old Port
                  cirque de soleil is in the Old Port which is in Old Montreal
                  :)

                  1. re: shopgirl
                    SnackHappy Feb 9, 2011 03:58 AM

                    Yes, the area South of De La Commune which includes all the things listed in the wikipedia entry is The Old Port. Everything North up to Saint-Antoine is the historic district of Old Montreal. Every place mentionned in newbie_gourmand's post is in Old Montreal.

                    Furthermore, Old Montreal was around long before what we now call The Old Port was created and no one ever confused the two until a few years ago.

                  2. re: SnackHappy
                    i
                    ios94 Feb 9, 2011 04:12 AM

                    "Old Port" is fine newbie-Gourmand, I've been living in Montreal my whole life and always say, "let's go to the old port" and people know you mean Old Montreal, no need to excuse yourself.

                    1. re: ios94
                      n
                      newbie_gourmand Feb 11, 2011 09:51 PM

                      thank you, ios94. :) I'm frankly not sure what the whole discussion on the name was all about...but it's important to people, I guess. I'm more interested in the food, but that's just my fatty belly pondering along.

                2. Delucacheesemonger Feb 8, 2011 11:46 AM

                  Not a Montreal native, but visit every year or two. My musts are your list, Schwartz's, St. Viateur, and Au Pied de Cochon, end of story. Oh, Moishes 100 feet from Schwartz's has one of best strip steaks ever.

                  1. b
                    blondee_47 Feb 8, 2011 12:29 PM

                    I would say not to miss Kazu on St Catherine St. It is small and the food is not quintessential Montreal but it is truly a hot restaurant and is making or already made its mark on our food scene
                    1862 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Montreal, QC, Canada

                    -----
                    Kazu
                    1862 Sainte-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3H 1M1, CA

                    1. t
                      tofutti Feb 8, 2011 01:26 PM

                      Hi ....My husband and my 11 yr old daughter and I love Laloux (classic French cuisine and chic understated atmosphere) on Ave. des Pins. Also discovered Joe Beef in Little Burgundy after seeing it on Diary of a Foodie (PBS).. had great seafood (oysters) and halibut.. creative side dishes. Cozy and very fun. Also a classic Greek seafood place is Milos on Ave. du Parc... Last but not least for a French casual cafe is Cafe Cherrier on St. Denis&Cherrier. ( Goat cheese salad, moules et frites, and classic bistro food) Hope this helps!!

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

                      Cafe Cherrier
                      3635 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2X3L6, CA

                      1. a
                        Annevdw54 Feb 8, 2011 01:35 PM

                        Hi,
                        If you are staying in Old Montreal you will be surrounded by great restaurants. If you like steak you MUST try Gibby's steak House. Classy and Awesome.If you walk along St. Denis Street you will find that Montreal has so many fine restaurants.Little Bistro's,Pub's,Great Asian restaurants,anything you want Montreal has.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Annevdw54
                          c
                          celfie Feb 8, 2011 01:52 PM

                          Gibby's is very hit or miss. I've had error prone meals. I wouldn't call it classy - it is american steak house with a tired menu. You won't find great asian on St-denis either. Look for destinations before hand. if you are tempted during a stroll up st-denis, you will likely find yourself at a tourist trap

                        2. b
                          blondee_47 Feb 8, 2011 01:58 PM

                          Please remember before you go home to get to Victoria Fish Market for a pound or more of their lox: best in the city no doubt about it and take it home. It freezes well

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: blondee_47
                            c
                            celfie Feb 8, 2011 02:06 PM

                            agreed

                            -except for the freezing part (but i havent tried)

                            1. re: celfie
                              chefjeannine Feb 8, 2011 02:39 PM

                              I can second the freezing...it does freeze quite well.

                            2. re: blondee_47
                              n
                              newbie_gourmand Feb 8, 2011 06:10 PM

                              I just checked and the place is near st. cote catherine station...hmmm. Is there a good place for lox near or in Jean Talon Market?

                              1. re: newbie_gourmand
                                davekry Feb 8, 2011 07:00 PM

                                It's actually closer to Plamondon station. I'm pretty sure you can get lox at the fish place in JTM, but it's not in the same league as New Victoria Fish.

                                1. re: davekry
                                  n
                                  newbie_gourmand Feb 8, 2011 07:07 PM

                                  It is so tempting that it makes my mouth water just thinking about it, but we will be staying near place d'armes and incase we don't have time to make it up there on our weekend, I was just trying to get the second "best" place, maybe? lol.

                                  1. re: newbie_gourmand
                                    cherylmtl Feb 10, 2011 05:11 PM

                                    There is some pretty decent smoked salmon to be had at Atwater market, which is closer. Fromagerie Atwater has been stocking M. Emile's smoked salmon, in blue packages, which is very good, and Poissonnerie Atwater had some from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia (can't remember which offhand) which was super-smoky and highly recommended.

                                    1. re: cherylmtl
                                      n
                                      newbie_gourmand Feb 10, 2011 05:49 PM

                                      YUM!! thank you. we will try to stop at the market!

                                      1. re: cherylmtl
                                        e
                                        eat2much Feb 10, 2011 06:20 PM

                                        Poissonnerie Atwater has two types of smoked salmon. The extra smokey is Oven Head and is one of my faves. I find the salmon from New Victoria to be too oily.

                                        1. re: eat2much
                                          davekry Feb 11, 2011 04:45 AM

                                          I can understand the appeal of Oven Head, but I find that it's a bit dry and flaky. To each their own...

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