A challenge for Montreal CHers - no reservations AND kids.
Visiting Montreal with a fairly large group of 12 (6 adults / 6 kids ranging from 1 to 7 years) for 3 days in August.
Some of the kids in the group are VERY well behaved and used to eating in fancier restaurants.. and others are not.
Therefore we don't have a set itinerary for meals -- with some of the toddlers the parents may decide to head back to the hotel for nap time, so any meals may involve all of us (most likely lunch) and other meals may just have a few of us.
This makes making reservations difficult, but at the same time we don't want to be eating at fast food restaurants the entire weekend.
We plan on trying La Banquise as the kids are poutine-eating monsters (are reservations necessary?) as well as Shwartz as it'll be the kids' first trip to Montreal.
We'll be staying at Le Centre Sheraton, but it doesn't necessarily need to be in that area.
We plan on hitting some of the usual tourist spots (Montreal Planetarium and Biodome, etc).
Any other recommendations would be appreciated.
Yes, if the wheather permits, take-out food in a nearby park is a good options for a few meals. For Schwartz's, five minutes away north-west is park Jeanne-Mance, a large park across from the Mont-Royal. Other good take-outs around that could be eaten in this nice park: Romados (Portuguese chicken), La Chilenita (empanadas, Marie-Anne location) or Patati Patata (good burgers, fries (or poutine), grilled cheeese sandwich, etc...)
For la Banquise, I don't even know if they take reservation, but it should not be a problem without, as it is more packed at 1am that at 1pm.
I always like Terrasse Lafayette for a large group without reservations, and no problems with the kids. Outdoors and indoors seating available. It's Bring your Own Wine.
250 Rue Villeneuve W, Montreal, QC H2V2R1, CA
4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA
La Banquise will not be a problem and it's a fun atmosphere. Warning: that place can get totally packed! But you should of course still try to go. If it is packed with a long wait for a table, I can suggest that you get takeout and walk 30 seconds to one of Montreal's most beautiful parks, Parc Lafontaine, where there are outdoor shows and a pond, picnic tables and an amazing summer atmosphere. As a group of 12 you shouldn't deny yourself a poutine even if you can't eat it on site and you'd get a really nice sense of the city's summer outdoor life at Parc Lafontaine--a bonus to being in that area of the Plateau.
I find dining at Portuguese restaurants in Montreal frequently kid friendly. One of my faves is close to Schwartz's on Saint-Laurent, called Jano (http://www.restaurantjano.com/). You would definitely have to make a reservation (but you could guestimate if you're not sure whose on nap time...and the place is usually so busy that if you end up being less than 12 they can take walk-ins). I find the waiting staff very kind and courteous with kids, and there are often large family groups there, close to the back. Plus the grill is really excellent. It's not talked about alot here, but it's fun and very tasteful with a nice wine selection. and there are amazing thick cut 'frites' so kids will still be into it. Call ahead to see what they say but I have seen many small kids and babies there in the past.
I recommended this to someone else here but there is a very good kids' guide book called "Montreal For Kids" that you could probably pick up at a bookstore where you are, or once here. It might be worth checking to see what their eating suggestions are because there might be some lovely surprises.
I went last week to Apollo to their front terrace --the one on university, near ste catherine- and there were large family groups -they just push tables together, I just dont recall if there is anything childfriendly on their terrace menu; you would not likely need reservations as new place and terrace/patio is large. This would be good to have as backup idea and you could call to see what they provide for children, the terrace menu is not expensive but is not yet posted online; centrally located
we used to always go to the terraces/patios (some are back courtyards such as jardin nelson) just to give the children some freedom to move around; also the tables in montreal restos are usually very close together!
At complex desjardins opposite place/quartier des spectacles there are some family friendly restaurants such as st hubert, eggspections on ste catherine st.and some wide open spaces for children to run around or play in dancing fountain. If its hot you can zip into underground shopping area for cooling off.
I second the Chez Cora recommendation above--fun for people of all ages and lots of healthy choices as well as fun dessert crepes. Also, there is Eggspectation which has some downtown locations that would probably serve a big group without reservation--although that is not a uniquely Montreal franchise, whereas Chez Cora is very much a local place.
You will not be able to sit 12 people together at Schwartz's unless you want to eat at 9 am - and even then you'll need to sit at two separate tables as they only hold 8 people each. ;-) I suggest taking out food and eating in a park instead.
There are many threads on this board with suggestions for eating in Montreal with kids. Here's a recent one:
Casual Montreal with toddlers
If you search on terms like 'kids' 'toddlers' and 'children' you'll hit other threads as well. Good luck!
Your big problem is the size of the group and the inability to reserve in advance.
Jardin Nelson is fun for families and should be able to seat 12 without too much trouble. Food is ok, not great, just ok.
Dimsum is very family friendly as it is served quickly and everyone sees what they are ordering. Any of the big dim sum places will have no trouble seating a table of 12.
other options would be to pick places you want to try and get the food to go and eat at a nearby park.
any recs for dim sum?
We're coming from Toronto AND we're (mostly) asian, so dim sum will at least be very familiar for the kids.
We're not coming for the "foodie" experience so it doesn't have to be "the best in the city" -- just something solid and reliable with all the dim sum usuals that one would normally look for.
I'm more concerned about having no choice but fast food restos.
People may tend to recommend Tong Por in Cartierville (Ville St. Laurent) or Kam Fung on the south shore, but you can be a large group coming from Toronto, so I assume you don't really want to drive far to eat Dim Sum.
So you can hit up Chinatown. Either Ruby Rouge or Kam Fung - me, I tend to frequent Ruby Rouge.
Also in Chinatown, theres Beijing. Not dim sum but usually a solid choice for dinner (or lunch), good for larger groups with a reservation either the afternoon of, or the day before. Lunch is less busy.
Just realize Montreal's Chinatown (or perhaps "Chinablock") is nothing like Toronto or Markham.
In Montreal West, you can find Chalet BBQ. They do rotisserie chicken on charcoal, kind of a Montreal institution, can fit a large group, and cheap.
Although I love MoWest since i grew up there for chicken i really have to vote for eating romados in the park ...montreal west also is quite far and time consuming (considering the construction) to get to and not a tourist place at all.
If you do venture west at all I recommend Villa Du Souvlaki which is half the distance to montreal west and has great greek food..
Villa Du Souvlaki
5347 Rue Sherbrooke W, Montreal, QC H4A1V2, CA
+1 for dim sum at either Ruby Rouge or Kam Fung. They are also good for dinner time, i love kam fung's MaPo Doufu.
Lemeac MIGHT be ok, depending to the hour and the day on which you go. They have a rather large dining room and i believe they have a private area as well. They serve fantastic french food. I'd recommend you phone just a little in advance (1 hour) to make sure they have a table for you.
Because of the kid factor and the large group, i'm also going to recommend Saint-Hubert. Now this is a local quebec rotisserie chain, and some foodies might not agree with me on this. However, they are good with kids and are used to large crowds with last minute or no reservations.
Just to clarify, Chalet BBQ is not actually in Montreal West, it's in very central eastern NDG at the corner of Decarie and Sherbrooke West - 2 minutes from Villa du Souvlaki, actually. You may have trouble seating 12 people, however, unless they open up the private room. Best to call for info. It's super kid-friendly and 1,000,000 better than St-Hubert. ;-) http://www.chaletbbq.com/