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Garde Manger, Au Cinquieme Peche, Le Bleu Raisin, or DNA?

Hi chowhounders! So my bf and I will be coming up for a weekend in May to celebrate my birthday. I'm really excited since I haven't been back to Montreal since this past fall. I have two dinners and after scouring the boards have chosen Garde Manger, Au Cinquieme Peche, Le Bleu Raisin, and DNA...only problem, that's 4:-) I'd like my birthday dinner to be in an intimate and lively atmosphere and the other dinner to be more romantic but I'm open. Garde Manger seems to be a good fit for the bday dinner. So I would love to hear which two restaurants you would choose and would greatly appreciate any feedback on these restaurants regarding food, price range (couldn't find a website for Garde Manger), atmosphere, etc...TIA!

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

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  1. Le Club Chasse et Peche or maybe their new spot Le Filet.

    1. Bleu Raisin is BYO if cost is an issue or if there's a particular bottle you'd like to drink to celebrate.

      DNA would have been the pick out of the four; lively yes, intimate and lively seem to be mutually exclusive to me but you're the one who wrote it. Inventive food, attentive staff, lots of glass, chrome and orange leather, best Canadian wine selection in Quebec (probably one of the best in Eastern Canada), annoying early and late seating system (pick late seating - much less rushed).

      petek's suggestion of CCeP would fit as well.

      Garde Manger website appears to be coming soon. http://www.chuckhughes.ca/ is the jump-off point.

      5 Replies
      1. re: wattacetti

        I'll second DNA. My wife and I went last time we were in Montreal. We're heading back up this weekend and I'm so tempted to go again. The atmosphere was great, the staff were all warm and helpful from the hostess to the sommelier, and the food was absolutely delicious. I loved the basketball net in the men's room for used towels (my wife tells me that unfortunately the women's room did not have this amenity).

        If you go, I highly recommend the pine nut tart. I think it's the best dessert I had in all of 2010.

        My only disappointment was that the bar couldn't fulfill some of our requests for before-dinner cocktails. But, I guess I couldn't argue with the reasoning (they were out of the fresh ingredients they needed).

        1. re: wattacetti

          Thanks for the link Wattacetti. Actually, I would define intimate as warm and informal. But anyway, have you eaten at Bleu Raisin? Like Garde Manger, can't seem to find a menu for them. How would you describe their food? And any favorite dishes?

          1. re: poutinelover

            Haven't been to Bleu Raisin in a couple of years but a friend of mine went recently. Classic French, no big surprises. He described that his favorite dish was a venison liver.

            1. re: poutinelover

              Their menu is available at the below link. A lot of restaurants in Montreal don't have websites (this drives me crazy) and instead use restomontreal to post their menus.

              http://restomontreal.ca/restaurants/i...

          2. Hi poutinelover,

            I can't comment on the others but I have been to Garde Manger: my boyfriend and I did not have a good experience. Maybe our expectations were too high because Chuck Hughes' Day Off on Food Network was awesome.... Anywho. The ambiance was not very romantic, if that is what you would like for your birthday. But what bothered us the most was the food plus the service was quite poor. We are from Toronto and only been there once, so I am in no position to give advice, but rather offer my one-time experience... and who knows, maybe we went on an off day.

            I can tell you that we will be visiting the lovely city at the end of this month; we are planning on going back to a favorite (Kitchen Galerie) and also try new places (Le Comptoir, Bocata, Quartier General).

            10 Replies
            1. re: newbie_gourmand

              I had a similar experience at Garde Mager last summer.Can't comment on the other suggestions,but I had a great time at CCeP. How about Lemeac bistro?

              1. re: petek

                Lemeac is great! Every time I'm back in Montreal I go there for the late night pre-fixe. I was tempted to devote one of my nights to Lemeac but I'm trying to expand my horizons! Also really enjoyed APDC on several occasions and thought maybe Garde Manger would be similar in the sense that it's elevated Quebecois comfort food. I think ideally one evening would be a hearty Quebecois meal while the other would be a more modern creative meal or a bistro with some inventive twists.

                1. re: poutinelover

                  Garde Manger is nothing like APDC - it's closer to bistro food, although the atmosphere can be a lot of fun. But it's not really modern creative, nor really bistro with inventive twists - for that, try Laloux, Club Chasse et Peche (or perhaps their new resto, Le Filet), Chien Fumant, Salle a Manger...there are plenty of choices.

              2. re: newbie_gourmand

                If you elect for Lemeac, ask for a table with Étienne Guérin. Great wine suggestions and very polished service.

                1. re: newbie_gourmand

                  Thanks for the feedback newbie! Sorry about your Garde Manger experience, sounds like it may have been Chuck's day off! Perhaps I should've worded my original post better...I'll be spending two nights in Montreal so I have two dinners to reserve. One night will be my birthday dinner which I would like to be in a lively and intimate restaurant. Then for the next evening's meal, I'd prefer a more romantic atmosphere. So I'm trying to choose two out of the four restaurants I had mentioned. Anyway, Kitchen Galerie was another restaurant that piqued my interest but I didn't want to add to my indecisiveness:-) How is Kitchen Galerie?

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                  Kitchen Galerie
                  60 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montreal, QC H2R1S5, CA

                  1. re: poutinelover

                    We loved it. I actually love the concept: local cuisine as in there is no actual set menu, whatever is fresh in the market (i guess at the jean talon market?); the open kitchen, the chefs/owners are cooking, serving, and also entertaining...one of them was actually singing while cooking, the other chef/owner had to shush him. It's a cool experience, something you don't see much in the Torontonian dining scene (imo). It definitely wasn't quite but it was fun and still be able to keep your own conversation. There were a lot of couples out on a date and few tables of 4-6 ppl.

                    The service can be slow, i mean they do everything, but so friendly and funny. One of the chef was actually nice to translate the french daily menu to us in english and had a conversation with us. He also recommended the wine with the table d'hote that we chose. I don't know. We thought they were attentive, but then again, we also went on a Thursday night (it was a busy night, though)

                    The food was good. We may have felt that it was better than it actually was, if I think about it now because the ambiance was so delightful. After a 7hr Megabus ride from Toronto, we needed a fun, yummy night out! haha

                    In terms of the menu we had that night, for apps. we chose fois gras and escargot something. The mains were lobster ravioli and braised veal cheeks (the apps and mains were really good) and the desserts were chocolate torte and creme brulee (not so memorable)

                    The photos are kind of funny. I am in no way a food blogger or a great photographer, but I thought I would share: sorry, the place was kind of dark and except for few photos, I did not use the flash. My boyfriend was a little embarrassed by the light flashes I was making in that little restaurant! haah!

                    On a side note, we are planning on going back to KG this month, if the experience is still as awesome, I will let you know....:) Hopefully it will be as good as our first time...please.

                     
                     
                     
                     
                    1. re: poutinelover

                      Kitchen Galerie was AWESOME. We had a foie gras appetizer for 4 and it was an entire foie gras served with carmelized apples which went splendidly well together. We shared the mains, 2 people each: Beef ribs(so succulent and very large serving) and my friends had the ?Cornish Game hens. We didn't have room for dessert but did take in some lovely wine.
                      Has anyone tried KG Poisson?

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                      Kitchen Galerie
                      60 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montreal, QC H2R1S5, CA

                      1. re: Mandarine

                        This is hilarious: I read this before seeing who posted it, thinking, "wow, this is EXACTLY the same menu all four of us had!"

                        I lost the bit of paper on which I had written down the wine's name (but since it's a private import, heh...)

                        I remember how P insisted we ALL try gnawing on those brontosaurus ribs LOL For the record, the hens were stuffed with duxelles. So good.

                    2. re: newbie_gourmand

                      I have not been to Garde Manger in years, because I went twice and food was poor both times (with the exception of the seafood platter, which was delicious). Great ambience if you like hip, noisy and energetic, but I can't quite wrap my head around the glowing reviews it gets for food.
                      I haven't eaten anything there that I couldn't have easily whipped up myself, which at those prices is not how I like to feel. I'll have a drink there, but not food; feeling ripped off kinda kills my buzz.

                      1. re: newbie_gourmand

                        I have been to Garde-Manger this weekend as well as to Restaurant Toqué (not on your list but recommended). My experience at Garde-Manger was not good. The music was way too loud and the crowd tended to be on the young and pretentious side (to the women who screamed 'Zoé' in my ear all night to get the bartender's attention--you are one classy chick). The menu looks interesting, but the execution is not good. I live in NYC and found the service at Garde-Manger bordering on negligent. We ordered dessert which didn't come after 45 minutes and had to ask for it to be taken off the bill when we asked to leave. Chuck has become famous in the US. He should spend more time in the kitchen than TV.

                      2. I will add my comments to the chorus of negative Garde Manger experiences, had during a recent weekend in Montreal. Mediocre food at a very - very high price. All wines come from private brokers- which means you will likely not recognize any- or know that they are charging 75$ for a 20$ bottle. We were so looking forward to going there and left so disappointed- and $250 poorer. THe next night we went to Quartier Generale, BYOW, and for approximately 40$ per person had an amazing evening.

                        1. I think out of those that Garde Manger is the best one! The Lobster Poutine is to die for and the deep fried mars bar is always great! I must say that this is a really fun place for all to enjoy! Good music and good fun all around!

                          1. So turns out I won't be dining at any of these restaurants! Based on mixed reviews for Garde Manger, I decided to nix it. I did more scouring of the boards and research and came down to Europea or La Porte for my b-day dinner. I'm leaning more towards La Porte since it's in the Plateau and my bf and I will be at diese onze prior to dinner (he plays manouche jazz and is interested in checking out this band called Manouche Swing...anyone ever see them play?). I was hooked on dining at Au Cinquieme Peche for our other dinner, but unfortunately they're in the midst of relocating. So it came down to Chien Fumant, Trois Petits Bouchon, or Quartier Generale. I was really interested in Kitchen Galerie however after a full day of driving, we don't foresee ourselves motivated to trek over there. I would love to hear some feedback back on my new choices. Thanks again chowhounders!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: poutinelover

                              Trois petits bouchons. Nice wine selection, interesting plates, including a tartiflette which isn't exactly a spring dish though.

                              1. re: poutinelover

                                I went to La Porte for my bday dinner as well. I found it was a great spot. Nice classy atmosphere, attentive staff and pretty solid food. just upset that I ordered the cerf for the main instead of the piglet. Cerf was good but that pig was awesome. Def. getting that when I go back.

                                Also plan for a longish dinner. we had the menu plaisir and it took about 3 - 3.5 hours for everything.

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                                La Porte Restaurant
                                3627 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2X2V5, CA

                                1. re: ahnuld

                                  Annuld, thanks for the feedback! I'm really looking forward to my dinner there now because I was interested in the piglet. What did you choose for your app. and dessert? Also I was thinking about pushing back my original reservation from 8:30 to 9, but now I'll be keeping it at 8:30 thanks to your info!

                                2. re: poutinelover

                                  I second Trois petits bouchon. But book early - not always easy to get a table, especially on weekends.

                                  1. re: Jasper1

                                    What have you eaten and enjoyed there?

                                3. I went to DNA for the first time today and I was quite disappointed. Although they had amazing service and a great atmosphere, the food was not good at all. We had the charcuterie which was alright, veal sweetbread (wasn't good), clam casino (alright), raw scallops (alright), calamari with saffron aioli (absolutely terrible), and ravioli (overcooked, too tiny, in a broth not a sauce). Seems like a lot of food but their portions were really tiny. We finished off with the donut and dandilion and honey icecream for dessert. Funny to say that the donuts were the most exciting part of the night. I am currently still hungry. Their dishes all sounded good and interesting however they didn't taste great. Our bill at the end of the night came to 155$ which really wasn't worth it. I don't recommend this restaurant.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: VikPham

                                    go at lunch...its always been amazing when I went for lunch and its pretty cheap for what it is (20 dollars)