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Traveling to Montreal with a Fine Dinning Chef

Hi Folks - The BF and I rarely get vacations as working in fine dining doesn't allow for much time off. That being said we managed to book four days and three night in Montreal in August- Thursday to Sunday.

I've booked Au Pied de Cochon for a dinner one night but I still have two others to select and of course breakfast, lunch and any must have snacks.

On our wish list we'd like to go one BYOW and one Greek meal. If this can be combined even better!

We have lots of Asian in Toronto so I think we will skip that while in Montreal but everything else fair game. The more unusual the better - feeding a chef is a unique challenge at times so boring is a no go!

Price points from cheap and cheerful up to $350 for two with wine. We are willing to cab or transit as necessary.

Thank you in advance!

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  1. I'm also a Chef and I really enjoyed Joe Beef . I've heard good things about Brassiere T.
    Garde manager looks good also. i might be planning a trip to Montreal myself soon, and those three are on my list plus Le Bremner, Chuck Hughes new restaurant.

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: bboss

      For a splurge,I'd recommend Club Chasse et Peche.Cheap&cheerful The Main or Schwartz's or Coco Rico for rotisserie chicken.
      For a great brunch or bistro experience check out Lemeac Bistro.

      Coco Rico
      3907 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2W1X9, CA

    2. If you're willing to spend up to $350 a meal, then definitely Milos for Greek. Not BYOB, but excellent food. Most of the BYOB Greek places seem to be clones of each other, and ordinary at best.

      1. I *think* there's a Chef's Table at Europea, but cannot find a reference to it on the site. Phone them up? Be that as it may, that might be too much like being at work for him.

        1227, rue de la Montagne, Montreal, QC H3G1Z2, CA

        1. (I did not check for summer closures or opening hours modifications)

          For greek and $$$ : Milos (parc ave.) or for a little less $, there is Mythos (parc ave.) with a street side terrasse.

          For BYOB : "Monsieur B", "Le Quartier Général", "O'Thym" ...

          For breakfast : get croissants and other goodies from "Boulangerie Guillaume", or go to Olive&Gourmando ...

          For Lunch, again a lot of options; Lawrence, Le Comptoir, Le Réservoir and in Old-Montreal Olive&Gourmando, Titanic, ...


          1 Reply
          1. re: Maximilien

            Max! We're going in a couple of months....and to all 3 of your recs for BYOBs!!! All three are fantastic and our favs! I think the poster will enjoy as well.

          2. Stay away from Old Montreal!!! For a food adventure spend a day at the Jean Talon Market. Too many good choices for lunch to list but the panninni at Capitale is the best I have encountered in North America and be sure to check out the surrounding butcher shops.
            I have lived all over North America and for this foodie Jean Talon Market is the most exciting place for both great food and the people who share the appreciation of how important food is to a good life. Check out NIno's to see what an excellent green grocer finds. Talk to the Capitaine about eggs several wonderful frommagerries and the the pie place. All North American cities have great restaurants but the excitement of food is brought to a new level at JTM.
            Quincallerie Dante near the market is a place every cook and chef should check out. I have been brought or have brought people to the jean Talon Market for over 60 years it is always exciting and every trip brings new and exciting experiences.

            18 Replies
            1. re: Moedelestrie

              Stay away from Old Montreal? really?
              Ok right, here are few of the places that you would manage to "avoid":
              Club Chasse&Peche (that would be my recommendation for the Thursday lunch at Chateau Ramesay’s nice terrasse - General comment: I would use weekdays’ lunch spots to hit high-end restaurants at way sweeter prices)
              Les 400 Coups (my lunch recommendation for Friday, the only time they open at noon)
              Bremner (not a fan of C. Hughes but, to be fair it’s pretty good and less boisterous then Garde-Manger - BTW since it is still mostly unknown, the reservations come by somewhat easily, especially for a party of two )
              Toqué (alternative to CC&P for Thursday’s lunch)
              These are all restaurants I would (strongly) recommend to visiting foodies…

              Now, to stick to the other OP requirements:
              Without hesitation seconding Milos for the Greek – The reason behind the menu’s missing items is exactly why you wanna go there: They only serve the best fishes available... IMO, BYOW are generally dissatisfying and quickly losing attractiveness in the new wine by the glass era. Therefore, I could only recommend two places: Quartier-General (not strongly, as I cannot say the cuisine is particularly inventive albeit generally well executed) and Madre, an interesting Nuevo Latino place with the following caveat: the few times I have been, they had hits and misses. Others would point to Le Petit Plateau but I have not been in ages… Brunch… I love le Reservoir, but not everybody would agree… Some people told me Le Cartet’s Brunches are nice, never been, but the space is inviting for sure and most probably crowded with scenesters on Sunday mornings …

              Please give us feedback

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

                1. re: kpaxonite

                  Yes, I totally agree, I was up to add it...

                  1. re: Ched1000

                    DNA booked for Sat. And now I must not eat a thing until we arrive!!!

                    1. re: JennaBean

                      The chef took one look at the photos inside DNA and killed it. Le Quartier Général is now booked instead.

                      Le Quartier
                      1001 Sq Victoria, Montreal, QC H2Z2A8, CA

                      1. re: JennaBean

                        Judging a book by its cover. He's missed an opportunity.

                          1. re: kpaxonite

                            I fully understand. He's just more of a classical kinda fellow over the uber trendy. he didn't think he's be comfortable and then he read some reviews on other sites talking about snotty servive and that was the deal breaker. All it all, I'm sure between Cava, Toque, APD, and Quartier Général we should have some good meals not to mention what we will fill in for breakfasts and lunches!

                            1. re: JennaBean

                              Les 400 coups should definitely be on your list if you're still looking...

                            2. re: kpaxonite

                              FYI: DNA was featured in Travel Channel's bizarre foods episode about Montreal (cockcombs sour candy, tripe lasagne, blood pannacotta).
                              Me personally I was dissappointed with Le Quartier General. Although their food is less typical French bistro and their descriptions mouthwatering, the execution and flavour were lacking. I'd take le P'tit Plateau any day over QG.

                                1. re: kpaxonite

                                  While it's not a BYOB, les 3 Petits Bouchons is without a doubt, my favourite new wine bistro in the city. I went there for the 1st time with my friend last week, and was simply blown away. Service was really friendly, the food speaks for itself, not overly done up, local/organic. And then the perfect wine pairing, of course. Check it out for an unbelievable meal!

                                2. re: estilker

                                  I feel that same way about QG. Looks better on paper than on the plate. It's not bad at all, but I can't figure out how they made that En Route list. Unless that list is just some bull.

                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                    Remember Garçon! ? Made the en Route list too, though the brigade that got it there quit en masse the day the issue came out. Everyone I knew who went after en Route said "meh"

                                  2. re: estilker

                                    le P'tit Plateau isn't on the list b/c of a small pet peeve of mine - little butter packages in the bread basket. I know I know I'm so silly but I can't help it. We all have our idiosyncrasies and that would be one of mine!

                                    And that video would further convince him not to go. As we have a resto here that does that very thing and does is exceedingly well. Black Hoof if you ever get to Toronto be sure to check it out!

                                    But thank you for your input and time!!! :-)

                                    1. re: JennaBean

                                      I would say that Black Hoof is closer to Le Comptoir than to DNA. Had a very memorable meal there.

                                      Enjoy your trip!

                      2. re: Ched1000

                        As much as I love Old Montreal I suggest that the summertime is not the time to wine and Dine in Old Montreal to many people and I find the restaurants are not at their best especially at lunch time. My personal opinion is that old Montreal is not to be visited between June and Labour day except when I want crowds and a Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I agree lunch at Chateau Ramezay is very special and the restaurants you mention are very good but fine dining means never being rushed. Thanksgiving weekend would be a great time to visit Old Montreal.

                        1. re: Ched1000

                          Toque is booked for Friday lunch. My BF's exe chef booked it for us as he's friend's with these folks so I'm sure we're in for a serious lunch experience!!!

                      3. If you are looking to eat good Greek Food/Sea food I'd go with Zante on St. Laurent vs Milos.

                        Zante is opened by two ex waiters of Milos. They have a much better price point, much better food that is available when you order it. (Went to Milos and TRIED to order 3 different things....waiter turns around and tells me that their menu is merely a "guide"...Uh if its a guide it should guide me to something you HAVE IF ITS ON YOUR MENU!)

                        Zante is small though, only fits about 50 people so you have to make a reservation if you are looking to have dinner Thursday - Saturday night.

                        If you are looking for a steak house I'd stay away from Queue de Cheval. It's the worst steak house on the island. I'd go to 40 West anytime but it is a bit out of the way.

                        Garde Manger is Chuck Hughes new restaurant but the reservation wait is about 4 months.

                        3449 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2X2T6, CA

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Tzenaki


                          "Garde Manger" is the originial (still open and wildly popular) Chuck hughes restaurant, his new restaurant (couple of days old) is "Bremner".


                          1. re: Maximilien

                            Cava on avenue du Parc has a younger vibe than Milos, same owners, great food.
                            Not your typical greek restaurant.

                            Le Cartet or Vallieres for brunch on saturday is excellent, both on McGill street in Old Mtl ;
                            there are excellent tables in Old Mtl, Graziella for example, Club Chasse et Pêche.

                            On Laurier street, I would recommend Lemeac, for any meal; their brunch ( weekends only ) is unique, just a few dishes, not standard.

                            Simple refined Italian, la Bottega, in Little Italy for a dinner of shared appetizers and pizza in a vibrant atmosphere, good wine list. Taverne Dominion in the downtown area is a rejuvenated old tavern with an assortment of good pub food.

                            enjoy your weekend ! let us know how it went.

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

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

                            1. re: superbossmom

                              Cava booked for our Thursday night dinner! I love Milos but I wanted something a little more casual for this evening.

                            2. re: Maximilien

                              Yep. I totally made a mistake. Bremner had its soft opening on July 5th and full on opening a few days ago. I am trying to make reservations to Garde Manger for my sister's birthday...Let's hope I can get em.

                          2. There's also Tasso Mezze (st. Denis street) with a street side terrasse.

                            18425 Rue Antoine-Faucon, Pierrefonds, QC H9K1M7, CA

                            1. Fine ding: Club Chasse et Peche (or the lunch in the Chateau Ramezay garden), Le filet (it's sister more fish oriented restaurant), Joe Beef (often described as the anglo version of APDC, Tuckshop in St Henri, Milos or Cava (fine dining and Greek) and Kitchen Galerie
                              Mythos & Phillinos are both really good for Greek as well (though have heard and experienced bad service especially with a large group).
                              Buvette chez Simone or Le comptoir are two excellent wine bars + food to match
                              Lawrence for one of the best brunches in the city

                              1. Wow! You folks are amazing! I have so many options to research and try to plan into our four days I can't wait! Thank you!!!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: JennaBean

                                  Just to make things more difficult, I would add Au Cinquième Péché to that list. It's a small bistro, pretty informal, but the food is great. I went for my second time last week and it was delicious. They had some offal (duck heart tartare, "riz de veau", etc.) they also served duck magret, seal cromesquis, braised pig... Everything was balanced, lots of small details in the dishes without being pretentious.

                                  Whichever restaurant you choose, enjoy your stay!

                                  1. re: JennaBean

                                    Just so you know, Joe Beef is closed until August 15th should you decide you wanted to go there.

                                    I agree with Esilker on her Greek recommendations. Mythos is a mess on Saturday nights when it comes to eating in the downstairs area. The music gets too loud, the crowd starts dancing therefore your table will get bumped etc. If you choose to eat at Mythos ask to eat up stairs and then go downstairs after for live Greek music, dancing, and drinking at the bar.

                                    Phillinos is very small and has a tiny terrace. If it gets crowded it gets VERY VERY hot in there. I`d recommend having their tiganopsmo with kopanisti (fried flat bread with a spicy feta dip)! It is by far my favorite kopanisti in Montreal besides the one my mom makes!

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

                                    1. re: Tzenaki

                                      mythos and phillinos are both underwhelming

                                      since your budget is high, milos is your best pick.

                                    1. re: JennaBean

                                      Don't bother. It's not bad, but it's nothing special. It's a bit of a mess, actually.

                                      1. First thank you to all that provided advice and direction, we had a lovely and filling vacation in your beautiful city.

                                        The highlight meal was the lunch we had a Toque where we both had truly beautiful fish mains, great service, well thought out wine pairings and overall a wonderful experience. The maple trout with blackberries and French beans was the overall winning dish for our entire trip. My only regret is that we didn't have time to go back for the tasting menu.

                                        APDC was what we expected (in a very piggy sort of way) with some disappointing moments. The fois poutine was wrecked by a somewhat cold and far too thick gravy. The crispy pig salad was boring and under seasoned but the pigs foot main was CRAZY good and make up for the other two items that were just average at best.

                                        Cava was a bit of a let down. The highlight was the prime rib for two (which was a great cut of meat and cooked prefectly) and the meatballs with the somewhat Turkish influenced sauce. All the other items we had were boring and lacked any exciting flavour or presentation. The dakos salad was TERRIBLE. We didn't even eat 1/4 of it between the two of us. The tomatoes were ice cold and the bread had zero flavour. I've had this dish in other places and this was a not a good representation. I should have booked Milso but c'est la vie.

                                        After a lot of debate and conversation with others we decided to go to DNA. It was a 6 out of 10. My starter was great seasonal tomatoes with blue cheese and basil. It was fresh and tasty but lacked any depth. As well the tomatoes were not trimmed of their cores. At this price point that's not really acceptable. The BF has the veal tartar and it was very good. The plate was pretty and the portion was of a good size for a tartar.

                                        For my second I had a lovely mushroom pasta and the bf had a tomato leaf pasta with tomatoes and anchovies. The tomatoes again were great but the anchovies were missing in both taste and appearance and the pasta itself was so hard it made a sound when you cut into it with your fork. The bf left it all on the plate and when asked why he said it was under cooked for his liking. The plate was taken again but nothing said about it or done.

                                        My main was veal saddle with fresh corn polenta. The veal was cooked well but I found the cut itself rather tough (but I expected that) the corn polenta was fantastic - the highlight of the whole meal for sure. The bf has the rabbit. It was rabbit in cornmeal with micro greens and lemon wedges. Unimpressive, under seasoned, kinda dry and overall BORING. The lemon wedges came complete with seeds. Not a sauce to be seen for miles. Again at least 70 percent of this dish was left and he indicted that he didn’t enjoy it for a number of reasons and no comment was made nor was it discussed again.

                                        I will spare you my comments on the "service" we recieved from Alex b/c shortly after his 30 second visit to our table he was down at the chef's table drinking. The meal was the most expensive we had and by far the most disappointing. We when out for midnight snacks as the BF hardly had anything to eat.

                                        We ate, we drank, we walked, we shopped and we loved Montreal. Looking forward to out next eating adventure minus DNA. :-)

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: JennaBean

                                          Well, nice that you attempted it after all the lambasting we gave you. Not so nice that it didn't meet expectations.

                                          When you come back, check ahead at Raza and ask Navarrete to make the foie gras empanada for you (it's off the menu). Also suggest revisiting Les Trois Petits Bouchons and La Salle a manger too (slightly less porky).

                                          Trois Petits Bouchons inc (Les)
                                          4669 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2J2L5, CA

                                          Restaurant Raza
                                          114 Av Laurier W, Montreal, QC H2T2N7, CA

                                          1. re: wattacetti

                                            No regrets at all! All dining experiences have something to offer and we really did have a great time in your city. We are both looking foward to our return visit and I think we may actually brave the snow and do it in the heart of the winter! :-)

                                          2. re: JennaBean

                                            I know that this thread is super old now, but I was reading through these old reviews and have to give my $.02. I had been meaning to write a review of DNA for a long time and now I'm compelled to do so b/c of OP's experience. I too ordered the homemade pasta on the night I went and it was totally raw! Not al dente, but hard and uncooked in the center. I alerted the waiter to have it sent back (something I never do-- I've done it maybe 5 times in my life) and he came back with my plate a second later and said that "the chef said it's perfectly done." I was flabbergasted! Did he taste my pasta himself and then send it back to me? I didn't eat it and had it taken away, but it really ruined what was supposed to be a nice evening out. I guess the moral of the story is not to order the pasta at DNA.

                                          3. We are heading back to your fine city for my 35 (ugh) bday at the end of the month. I would like to do one really blow your socks off meal. Price not important but service, the room, wine list, and of course the food is.

                                            We are willing to travel anywhere in the city for the meal and would prefer a later reservation time if at all possible as we are night people.

                                            Our first night we are going to do something a little more casual (I was thinking Joe Beef but they are booked) so I'm considering Liverpool but could easily be swayed.

                                            So that you don't have to read my report back post, last time we went to APDC, Toque, Cava and DNA. We'd like to change it up this time so any suggestion would be more than welcome!

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: JennaBean

                                              I'd suggest the tasting menu at Europea. I went recently and had an amazing experience! Food, presentation, wine and service were all great!

                                              1. re: mystikdrey

                                                I don't disagree with Europea, but I also like Club Chasse et Peche, or for something slightly cheaper their sister resto Filet (from your other post I infer that you're thinking about this already). Cinquieme Peche is also one of the best around, though its not really in the same category as Europea, Toque, etc.

                                                1. re: Fintastic

                                                  I'm thinking about Le Filet for our more casual evening. Club Chasse & Peche and Europea are both on the list for the main event so to speak.

                                                  1. re: JennaBean

                                                    I like Europea, but I would do Les 400 Coups before... much more innovative and unique desserts.

                                                    Alan Richman recently called it the best restaurant in North-America : http://www.statejournal.com/story/169...

                                                    1. re: Glaff

                                                      Les 400 Coups seems more on the casual side of the fence, is it in reality?

                                                2. re: JennaBean

                                                  Second trip and once again a lovely time in your great city. We had dinner at Liverpool house on the first night. We both immediately love the room and reminded us of some of our fav places here in Toronto. We had a 930 reso and the place was still packed and we had to wait about 15 mins for table. Exactly the atmosphere we had in mind for our casual evening out. Our server was lovely and helpful. The wine list is giant but really hard to read depending on where you are sitting so we just asked for recommendations and were very pleased with the selections. We shared the clam linguine for our app and had the cote de boeuf for our main. The linguine was good. The pasta was cooked well and the clams were nice but I could have made it at home. It was not disappointing but it wasn’t anything wow either. We debated rare vs med rare with or server for the cote de boeuf and settled on med rare to get a little more caramelazation on the fatty bits. Unfortunately for us, what we got was much closer to medium. Not at all my ideal when it comes to meat but not the end of the world. The bigger issue is that the beef just wasn’t that great. It didn’t pack any big beefy punch. While again, this dish too was good, there was nothing special about it that I couldn’t do at home – and maybe with better results b/c I have a great local source for some amazing dry aged beef. Overall it was a nice local neighbourhood place but did not live up to the “Joe Beef” hype I was kind of expecting. If we lived in the area we would go back but seeing as we only get to Montreal once in a while, we’ll take a pass next time around.

                                                  For our Sat night fancy dinner (my bday dinner) we did the chef’s tasting menu at Europea. It was GREAT. Once the better fine dining experience I’ve had in a while. When we made the reservation we noted that it was a birthday and they ensured that we got the royal treatment. Great table, note for me from the chef, great service and a total of six extra dishes in addition to the 10 on the tasting menu. For someone looking for a special night out in I would recommend Europea without hesitation. While it is not the trendy hotspot I believe it may once have been, it was a great fine dining experience at a price point that is more than reasonable for what you get.

                                                  Thank you again for all of your thoughts and recommendations and I look forward to my next visit and eating adventure!

                                                  1. re: JennaBean

                                                    thanks for report and glad to see Europea did not let you down. Have always been reluctant about mentioning birthday occasion when my own and when booking, I can see I will have to rethink that!