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Feb 8, 2011 09:40 AM

Bistros, Coffee, Beer & Pizza

Planning a trip to Montreal & Quebec in August (hopefully air fares will come down between now and then).
I want to fully embrace the Frenchness of the area and I know there are several helpful threads on the food but I’m specifically looking for recommendations on traditional French-style bistros and croissants/coffee. Not interested in bagels or delis.
Hoping to do a Unibroue brewery tour while in Quebec but don’t know if that is available so other beer-centric recs would be appreciated.
Would like to do an article on the trip but would need a pizza stop or two. Is there such a thing as Montreal or Quebec-style pizza? Whether there is or not any favorite pizza mentions would be helpful.
I don’t care if the recommendations are touristy or frequented by locales, only care that they are good.
Also; thinking about getting the Rosetta Stone for French and I’m wondering if I’d be better off just getting by in English or if attempts at speaking French are appreciated.

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  1. Learn this: "Bonjour. Hi." It's standard Montréalais for "I'm being polite, but if I have a choice I'd rather be served in English." Add a "merci" or ten, and you'll be probably okay in English.

    + Paltoquet are the city's best, also their almond croissants; but they often sell out. Smaller than you might be used to - elegant, so good.

    + Try these relatively obscure (and incroyable) sweet French pastries at Mamie Clafoutis.

    + This is not a pizza town.

    + Vices & Versa is the best brewpub bar etc for ambiance. Dieu du Ciel has great beer but I find it too noisy. You can find Unibroue beer at any corner store.

    + If you can afford it, go for an amazing bistro like Bistro Bienville, P'tit Plateau, 5e Pêché (lots of recs in other threads), or do Léméac's after 10pm $22 special.

    Enjoy. Montreal is very special.

    1. Coffee... 2, 3 places ; Cafe In Gamba, Neve and Myriade; all 3 look like a "hip" western coffee houses
      Broissants, ... don't know; I'm not too picky.
      Beer : 2, 3 places : Dieu du Ciel (*), Reservoir, Le Cheval Blanc.
      Pizza : not a montreal speciality, but 2 places : Bottega, Magpie (the new hip place) .
      Bistro : The ubiquitous "L'Express" can be fun for a more "France" experience; other (better) choices : "3 Petits Bouchons", "5eme Peché", Petit Plateau, ...

      Breweries : unibroue is outside of the city, McAusland brewerie is on the island and more accessible if not having a car. I don't know if any of those brewery have tours. (a quick google could not find an answer; you probably need to contact them).

      (*) they brew on site.

      65 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montreal, QC H2S1K7, CA

      Cafe In
      236 Pl Du Marche Du N, Montreal, QC H2Y, CA

      4 Replies
      1. re: Maximilien

        Mcauslan also has a terrasse during summer, I don't know if it's open during August tough.

          1. re: vanierstudent

            Yes it is usually opened until at least Labor Day, maybe later if weather is still fair

          2. re: Maximilien

            All three of those places brew their beer on-site not just Dieu du ciel.

            It should also be noted that the beer at Cheval Blanc is not the same as the what's sold in deps. The Cheval Blanc bottling operation was bought out years ago and is independant of the brewpub.

          3. Montreal has an important Anglophone influence, but learning some word in French will not hurt.

            I second the recommendation for DDC, the beer is really topnotch. Peche Mortel on tap if you can get it, you will rarely get a more complex stout. Truly a great beer.

            There's a lot of good croissant in the city, one of my fav is Kouign Amann.

            Montreal-style pizza does exist... its fat greasy and they put the pepperoni under the cheese? Not worth it. If you INSIST on trying it, Emilio in the Mcgill ghetto will probably be the best in that category...

            2 Replies
            1. re: vanierstudent

              Great recommandations, merci!
              I may have to check out fat & greasy ghetto pizza just out curiosity.

              1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                To make it easier to find, it's called Amelio's -

                201 Rue Milton, Montreal, QC H2X1V5, CA

            2. as vanierstudent said Montreal pizza does exist
              fat and with greasy liquid pooling around the center of the pie... generally huge amounts of super cheap and chewy mozzarella... toute garnie or all dressed is the way to go. I wouldn't opt for Amelio's but for something more authentic like Jojo Pizzaria on Papineau. The big the size, the bigger the pool of greasy liquid and the more slippage you get (everything falling off the dough leaving you holding limp soggy crust). You shouldn't buy by the slice since that defeats the entire pooling effect and possibly the slippage. They are truly wonderful in their own special way.

              201 Rue Milton, Montreal, QC H2X1V5, CA

              Jojo Pizzaria
              6507 Av Papineau, Montreal, QC H2G2X3, CA

              1. napolitana is a montreal institution for pizza - they have lineups out the door on a daily basis. whether it's all that or not is up for debate, but i've had some pretty fine meals there and their gnocchi is some of the best in the city.