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Advice for dining with toddler and adults from Boston and SF

j
jennyt May 31, 2011 12:14 PM

Hello there,

We are visiting during the Rogers Cup in August and will be staying at the corner of Blvd de Maisonneuve O and Ave Grosvenor. In our party there will be a 2 year old who is surprisingly not picky, and 3 adults (2 from Boston and one from San Fran). I am Canadian, but my husband and his twin are from the U.S.

We would like to try several restaurants in the area and are looking for recommendations that are within walking distance, not too fancy, would tolerate a toddler etc. We will likely be dining on the early side since the toddler gets crazy close to bedtime.

Recommendations for tasty poutine, locally sourced food are particularly welcomed.

Thanks in advance,
-jt

  1. j
    jennyt Jun 1, 2011 03:48 AM

    Thank you for all of your advice so far! Great tips.

    Yes, this is a vacation home rental in Westmount. In our experience, it is better to have a kitchen readily available in case the toddler gets hungry all of a sudden.

    I forgot to mention that we are all very used to taking the subway since we live in Boston and commute into daycare/work everyday using the T. I think there is a Metro stop close by? I assume that will open up options quite a bit?

    Thanks again everyone!
    -jt

    12 Replies
    1. re: jennyt
      e
      Evilbanana11 Jun 1, 2011 04:07 AM

      Yup the Vendome metro station is a few blocks West of where you're staying. Whenever you're in the mood for a coffee + pastry you can head to Cavallaro or Ducs De Gascogne both on Sherbrooke W and both walking distance of your home base.

      1. re: Evilbanana11
        d
        deborahm Jun 1, 2011 08:17 PM

        Just wanted to pipe in again and say that you'll see lots of strollers and kids at restaurants and cafes on Sherbrooke St. West. Also, Greene avenue is a pleasant walk away--with a kids' bookstore that I mentioned. And while it is really not fancy, there is Chez Nick's on Greene that might also be a kid friendlier place: http://www.cheznick.ca/menu.html . No, it's not fancy, but I've been there for work lunches and it's been there forever and pretty community-oriented....also on pleasant Westmount street and very close to entrance for Atwater metro.

        1. re: deborahm
          hala Jun 1, 2011 08:40 PM

          Not sure about dining out with children other than going to a place with a terrace where they can be distracted by peoople watching and car watching.

          But, if you want to eat in, Kaizen sushi is close to metro atwater and they deliver in your area.

          And for a brunch, I remember a while ago an article in the gazette about a child friendly place serving what she called "Medium tea". This is not a fancy place and I think they close at 6, so you could have that for an early dinner if you want. finger food could be really interesting for the child. There are other places that do an afternoon tea, but I am not sure how child friendly they are.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_TIfz...

          1. re: deborahm
            o
            OliverB Jun 3, 2011 09:58 AM

            Chez Nick's is terrible and OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced and outdated. I would avoid at all costs. I ordered a reuben and a milkshake last year and my girlfriend had a tuna sandwich... the bill came out to like $50! If I remember correctly- I'm pretty sure they used some kind of disgusting chewy salami in my sandwich and it didn't resemble anything that could be called a reuben! The milkshake and fries were both good, but not for what they're charging! Yes, they've been around forever, but only because they serve bland counter food to yuppies in a rich neighborhood. The food for the most part, is really terrible.

            There are two very good options in that area however - one being the bistro in Westmount Square (Tavern on the Square?) facing St. Catherine, which can indeed be kid friendly as the menu has a lot to offer (from salads, sandwiches and burgers, steak frites, pastas, meats, fish, etc.) and there is outdoor patio seating when the weather calls for it. It's nothing to rave about but consistently good from my experience - I've never had a bad meal yet. The dining room inside caters more to the office business crowd and is a bit more formal but not overly so.

            The other options is a personal fave and also inside Westmount Square, although it closes early! It's the Sushi Bar (Kim) in the market/food court, which happens to be one of the best deals in the city, as far as I'm concerned. They source only the freshest seafood (no fake crab meat or frozen stuff) and make excellent handrolls - it's really affordable too, as far as sushi goes! A great lunch option and there's plenty within the market for your toddler as well.

            Otherwise, Westmount is indeed a resto wasteland. There's Bilboquet (ice cream) and Pâtisserie Gascogne on Sherbrooke... Both good take-out options for lunch with your toddler in the beautiful park (Westmount Park) across the street. An afternoon at the park and library would be well spent. The asian grocery (forget the name, opposite Java U, I think) has good stuff both prepared foods for take-out and for cooking at home. La Foumagerie is a great cheese shop a few blocks from you, though I'm not a fan of their sandwiches and lunch offerings - it's a decent quick grab I guess. The IGA in Westmount (large grocery) is also up the street and a short walk.

            s for Kaizen, you're better off spending the extra money on a cab ride into the Plateau (or even to Monkland) for better value. It's all been downhill since Tri left and they moved across the street from the original location about 10 years ago. I was last there with family about two years ago and it was a travesty from the service to the food, the wait. If it were free I still would have complained. There's another (tiny!) sushi place on St. Catherine that's just a few blocks from the park, but I forget the name. It's mostly take-out I gather. I've eaten there once or twice when I used to take my little cousins to hockey practice at the arena up the street, and it's nothing outstanding, but a decent option I suppose. Kazu (izakaya bar a short walk up the street) is not really kid friendly at all, imo. The food is great but there's long lines and the space is extremely cramped. I wouldn't consider it with a toddler.

            Vendome and Atwater stations are both close by and will take you a lot further in the way of good eating.

            1. re: OliverB
              c
              C70 Jun 3, 2011 10:30 AM

              "The asian grocery" is called National, and yes, they have a lot of hard-to-find products for the area, and a decent takeout section.

              The grocery store in Wsmt is a Metro, not IGA.

              .. and I like Nick's. Yep, Greene ave. prices, but the food is good!

              1. re: C70
                kpzoo Jun 3, 2011 10:33 AM

                Some family members had a really poor brunch recently at Nick's. I've never been there myself but I wouldn't rush to go there based on their experience. Head a bit further east to Cocktail Hawaii (de Maisonneuve near Guy) if you want a great brunch not too far away.

                1. re: kpzoo
                  c
                  C70 Jun 3, 2011 10:39 AM

                  the longtime owner (son of the founder) died a few years back... shame to hear it's gone downhill.

                  1. re: C70
                    o
                    OliverB Jun 3, 2011 12:21 PM

                    The food's really bad, prices notwithstanding.

                    I used to order burgers there often as a kid, so when I was in the neighborhood and in the mood for a bit of nostalgia and a shake and fries, I figured I couldn't go wrong. Boy, was I mistaken. The food is really not good at any price.

              2. re: OliverB
                b
                butterTarrt Jun 3, 2011 11:52 AM

                Oh, yes, it's called Tavern on the Square... I called it Tavern on Green above.. sorry!

                1. re: butterTarrt
                  o
                  OliverB Jun 3, 2011 12:25 PM

                  Well there's another resto on Greene ave. that -is- called Taverne on Greene, confusing huh? It's the place right near the Nicholas Hoare bookshop. They have a decent cocktail bar, and the food's passable (I had a pretty good burger there last year) but I really wouldn't bother. Taverne on the Square however, does have good food imo and is a bit more fun. The place on Greene is kinda drab and sort of dark pubby looking inside. I'm not too crazy about it.

                  1. re: OliverB
                    b
                    butterTarrt Jun 3, 2011 12:39 PM

                    Right, I remember now! Agreed - Tavern on the Square does have better food (great salads!) and is easier to be at with a toddler too. If memory serves, there is more space around the tables. I think the other place is called Bistro on the Avenue (?) but perhaps it used to be called Bistro or Taverne on the Green or something? In any case, yes, it's pubby and not very spacious.

                    1. re: butterTarrt
                      o
                      OliverB Jun 3, 2011 12:52 PM

                      Yep, you're right -- the other place is called Bistro on the Avenue and it has that dreary pub atmosphere. I always get the two places mixed up. Apart from the after-work cocktail hour meets for the nearby law offices, it seems to be more of an old folks hang-out for the Wood Avenue condo crowd. Not my cuppa tea.

        2. cherylmtl May 31, 2011 05:50 PM

          Is that in a private residence? I assume it's Westmount - in which case, you're in a bit of a food wasteland. The closest place would be WellHouse, a few blocks away, but the food is really hit and miss, and the service among the worst I have had in Montreal. I'm afraid that for a decent meal, you have to head out by car, either to NDG, or a little further afield. And there is nothing even close to poutine nearby. But depending on what you consider walking distance,
          the two closest decent places that I can think of are: about a 15 minute walk to Chalet BBQ to the west, which is extremely family-friendly, and has among the best rotisserie chicken and fries going...and about a 20 minute walk from Tuck Shop, a very good bistro, to the south, which, if you dine early enough, is probably okay with a toddler (but you must reserve there - it is small and gets very busy). About 30 or 40 minutes' walk will get you to Atwater Market, and the nearby restos (Joe Beef, Liverpool House, but neither are exceptionally toddler-friendly IMHO). And Chinatown west is about 40 minutes west of you, for good Asian food (Kazu, Cuisine Szechuan, Qing Hua dumpling, etc.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: cherylmtl
            b
            butterTarrt May 31, 2011 06:41 PM

            Chalet BBQ is great, although I have only picked up - so don't know about the inside, but for sure it's toddler friendly.

            There's also Le Claremont, where I've seen strollers at lunch time, but not sure about supper - probably if you make it early.
            http://claremontcafe.ca/

            There's L'Oufrier for breakfast/Lunch, open til 3pm I think. Has a little play area for the toddler downstairs, but as diners you could become forgotten! Eaten there many a time, it's ok. My friend lives in the area, so we go there because it's close.

            Tao on Victoria: Asian, child-friendly. Not my favorite, but if you want something close, it's not the end of the world.
            http://taorestaurant.ca/eng/home.php

            Right beside Le Claremont there's a Korean place called la maison Seoul - haven't been, but check the board and see what the reviews are.

            The good thing is, Westmount is very child-friendly. From what I've been able to experience, though, the restaurants are just ok.

            Oh, there is Tavern on Green, which might be manageable at lunch or early supper. I was there with a two year old who dumped the fries on the floor, and the waitresses just thought he was cute and didn't even get upset! Opposite side of the street is Kaizen, upscale sushi, but I've liked eating there, and I think I was there with kids once... was fine.

            Very close to you there's Tehran for Iranian food. Smells yummy, but I honestly haven't been in a long time. It was good when I went a few years ago!

            )

            Good luck, hope you find some help here!

            -----
            Claremont
            5032 Rue Sherbrooke W, Montreal, QC H4A1S7, CA

          2. d
            deborahm May 31, 2011 05:45 PM

            Hi, I wish I could help you as I live in a different area of Montreal, far from where you are staying in what sounds like Westmount; so any recommendations may not be relevant. Until you get some suggestions, there may be some handy info. here: http://www.montrealwithkids.com/ as these books/guides have been around for awhile--and in fact one of the most charming children's bookstores (Babar Books) is around the corner from where you'll be staying that stock these guides if you can't find them in US. There will surely be restaurants in Westmount, however, that are family oriented. If I think of anything more specific I will post again.

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