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Montreal for a week Food Critique

daffyduck Jul 31, 2011 03:53 PM

Hi all, I am a NYer visiting for a week. I have read a few of the threads on the boards and came up with a list of places to go when I visit in 3 weeks. Any feedback, suggestions, or additional recommendations would be appreciated. My primary goal is to have food that I can't really get in NY, price, atmosphere, service is secondary.
Pied de Couchon (various fois gras, duck in a can)
Schwartz (smoked meats psyched about this since I am a big fan of Katz in NYC)
Main (open late, will try just to compare with Schwartz)
St Viatear and Fairmont bagels (bagels, there is an ice cream place Kem Coba next to Fairmont)
Coco Rico's-rotisserie chicken
Romados-Portugeese grilled chicken, tarts
Daou (there are not many Lebanese places I know of in NYC)
Boustan (another Lebanese place, chicken trio and shawarma)
La Carreta-pupusa (never really had or seen this in NYC)
La Banquise (24 hours, poutine, will be going here a lot since I am a night owl)
Jean Talon Market (Capitale, read they have good panninis, Maraches des Saveurs, read their cheese especially the Cheve Noir is excellent, and Haurve aux Glaces for gelatos and sorbets)
Kaza Maza (Syrian)
Premier Moisson-palmier\croissants
Cinquieme Peche-horse and seal meat
DNA (rare organ meats I can't get in NYC)
Espace Europa (french macarons)
Toque (seems to be the fine dining restaurant with the most positive feedback here)
Malewa or Ranks (African, I couldn't find a menu online, there are Ethopian restaurants I know in NYC but I don't know any African restaurants)
McKiernan, Joe Beef, Liverpool House (all near each other, I could not find menus online so I will go there and see which is most appealing to me out of the three)
Guillanne (buns aux pommes and pastries)
The following I will consider if I have more time, I've read good things about them here on chowhound but their menus seem to consist of things I can get in NYC. I will change my mind if you guys give me more input.
Lemeac (brunch)
LawerenceByblos (brunch)
La goulette
Holder
Garde Manger
Tuck Shop
Buvette Chez Simone (will probably end up here one night though since they are open late)
Bombay Mahal (I see a lot of feedback on Indian food threads, I am a huge fan of Indian food, especially butter chicken. But I grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY which does Indian food very well. So I'm afraid to try any in case I'll be disappointed)
Sorry for the long post. Hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for all your posts, they were and are extremely helpful.

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

  1. kpzoo Jul 31, 2011 03:59 PM

    Wow! Awesome list. Just want to point out that McKiernan is currently closed and they are supposedly turning it into something else but I don't think it's open yet. http://www.joebeef.ca/

    And Liverpool House was just hit by a fire and not sure when they'll be open yet. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/L...

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpzoo
      f
      Fintastic Aug 1, 2011 05:12 PM

      Yes, Joe Beef will be your only option. McKiernan's is now the Joe Beef Oyster bar, which seemed open the last time I passed by.

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

    2. g
      Glaff Jul 31, 2011 04:20 PM

      That's a good list I think.

      For Première Moisson, if you're curious to see what our biggest bakery chain looks like you could go yes. It's not bad, but if you want to sample the best bakeries in town, here's a short list : Guillaume (already on your list, but try the baguette tradition too), Mamie Clafoutis, Au Co'pains d'Abord, La bête à pain, Arhoma, Le Fromentier and of course Kouign-Amann for brittany specialities that I don't think is available in NY.

      For palmier, there's only one place to go : Olive et Gourmando. They're absolutely amazing.

      For poutine I strongly suggest Patati-Patata, but La Banquise is worth the try too.

      Oh and for macarons, don't bother with Espace Europea. Nothing special there. You probably have the same kind of macarons in NY. If you want to try the "best" here, Point G has a lot of fans... I personally don't like them.

      If you're interested in other kind of pastries, I'd recommend Pâtisserie Rhubarbe. Fine pastries ALMOST like the one you can find in Paris, without the pretension.

      -----
      Olive et Gourmando
      351 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC , CA

      Patati-Patata
      2029 Rte Du Carrefour Val Des, Val-Des-Monts, QC J0X, CA

      Mamie Clafoutis
      1291 Avenue Van Horne, Outremont, QC , CA

      4 Replies
      1. re: Glaff
        k
        kpaxonite Jul 31, 2011 04:44 PM

        I agree with patati-patata over la banquise

        1. re: kpaxonite
          j
          J1836 Aug 1, 2011 05:57 PM

          Im not crazy for either frankly...

          P-P has an olivey like taste going on with their sauce that I'm not crazy about.

          1. re: J1836
            c
            celfie Aug 1, 2011 06:21 PM

            maam bolduc for the win

        2. re: Glaff
          daffyduck Jul 31, 2011 10:20 PM

          Thanks! Glaff

        3. hungryann Aug 1, 2011 10:11 AM

          I don't think you'll be disappointed with either Bombay Mahal, Curry & Naan or Sana on Jarry street, if you're in the mood for Indian and especially butter chicken. Please report back and share your experiences in our fair city.

          1. daffyduck Aug 1, 2011 09:40 PM

            I'm not sure how popular these places are, which ones do you guys suggest I try to make reservations for?

            3 Replies
            1. re: daffyduck
              m
              Maximilien Aug 2, 2011 02:52 AM

              I will surely have to make reservation for the following :

              Pied de Cochon : YES. as soon as possible
              Kaza Maza : YES, on the same day or the day before.
              Cinquieme Peche : YES.
              DNA: YES
              Toque : YES
              Joe Beef : YES
              Lemeac : YES if the weather will be nice and want to eat on the terrasse.
              Lawerence: The don't take reservation.
              Holder: YES, same day or the day before
              Garde Manger: YES as soon as possible

              For the bakery, it's GUILLAUME not, Guillanne (buns aux pommes and pastries)

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

              1. re: Maximilien
                b
                Bwitch Aug 2, 2011 04:52 AM

                Please note that when SO and I arrived without a reservation, we had difficulty being seated even though we were there early. The owner advised us that Lawrence takes reservations for dinner, but NOT for the weekend brunches.

                1. re: Bwitch
                  f
                  Fintastic Aug 4, 2011 01:59 PM

                  Yes, make sure you reserve at Lawrence, unless you had planned to eat brunch there.

            2. estilker Aug 2, 2011 01:41 PM

              Note that Kaza Maza is raking up some pretty bad reviews lately. Although initially a board favourite, the chef moved to their other restaurant Damas (also on Parc, avenue, just a couple of blocks north). It seems those raving about Kaza Maza, have moved along to Damas as well (myself included).
              A very good list might I say. Lawrence is really worth it especially because e.g. in the English breakfast the sausages, bacon and blood pudding are all homemade.
              Alternative for Buvette Chez Simone is Comptoir. Buvette has a slightly more anglo hipster crowd, Comptoir more French and perhaps more upscale. Comptoir makes it own charcuterie though and is a little bit more inventive. But both places have a young boisterous vibe.
              BTW: Boustan is a great midnight after-drinking snack/lunch, but would not go out of my way to eat there for dinner.

              4 Replies
              1. re: estilker
                daffyduck Aug 2, 2011 05:21 PM

                Thank you for the tip about Kaza Maza and Boustan. I will check out Lawrence since I have very little breakfest choices. I ran across Shahi Palace and BAHN LAO THAI both seem to have interesting dishes that I cannot get in NYC (we have Thai but I have never came across Laotian food).

                -----
                Shahi Palace Restaurant
                4773 Boul Des Sources, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y3C6, CA

                1. re: daffyduck
                  hungryann Aug 2, 2011 07:13 PM

                  FYI, Shahi Palace is in the West Island, a good 30 minute drive from downtown if no traffic. Bahn Lao Thai is in Ville St-Laurent is accessible by metro (Cote Vertu); about 20 min ride from downtown.

                  -----
                  Shahi Palace Restaurant
                  4773 Boul Des Sources, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y3C6, CA

                  1. re: hungryann
                    daffyduck Aug 2, 2011 08:46 PM

                    ohh thank you! that is quite far. i'll ask the hotel if there are things to do around there and I'll see how my friend feels about going.

                2. re: estilker
                  daffyduck Aug 3, 2011 02:02 PM

                  I will probably replace Boustan with Alep. I read about the degustation menu, it sounds good and I dont think NYC is big on Syrian\Armenian food.

                3. daffyduck Aug 2, 2011 05:23 PM

                  I can't find much info on Malewa or Ranks. Are there any other African (that are not Ethopian) restaurants you guys recommend or dishes you recommend for Malewa or Ranks. Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys!

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: daffyduck
                    hungryann Aug 2, 2011 07:32 PM

                    I don't have any personal experience with African (non-Ethiopian and non-Marocan/Algerian/Tunisian African) restaurants but some places you may want to look into:
                    Jounieh for Egyptian
                    Chez Khady (near Bahn Lao Thai if you venture out there)
                    Gracia Afrika (Congolese)
                    La Khaima for Mauritanian
                    Le piton de la Fournaise (Iles de la Reunion)
                    Afrodiziac for Ghanaian
                    Keur fatou (Senegalese) Closed for good?
                    Kangmanka (Gambian)
                    Tam Tam d'Afrique (overall African)

                    -----
                    Jounieh
                    , Montreal, QC H2Y, CA

                    1. re: hungryann
                      daffyduck Aug 2, 2011 08:47 PM

                      thank you so much! i'll try to look into which cuisines are not available in NYC.

                      1. re: daffyduck
                        Jeffsayyes Aug 2, 2011 09:03 PM

                        Daffy! I just got back from Montreal, I can help you! (check my board on Montreal Greasy Spoons, I wrapped up a lot of what I did and included pictures).

                        Go to schwartz's. I liked it better than katz's.

                        I wasn't that into PDC actually. while the food was excellent, it didn't feel as homey as I wanted it to. I much prefer M. Wells.

                        Maamm Buldoc is really cool. there are places funky similar in NYC, but not really to this level, and authentically.

                        Pay close attention to when places are closed. Much of the town is closed on Sunday and Monday, possibly more. - like Lawrence, which we tried to go on Tuesday, but it was closed. They were there though and recommended me Chez comme sois a few blocks down, which I freaking loved. The food wasn't as good as PDC, but I loved the energy of the place. Lots of places have this funky, DIY energy about them. Another place that seems really cool is Nouveau Palais - seems like M Wells(was rec by a friend of theirs to me)

                        Everyone told me Banquise is THE place for poutine. I had it at other places, will have to go there when I return in teh spring.

                        some things I noticed: There are no Chinese take-out places. Almost every diner serves pizza, in a pizza oven. And burgers are usually not pink inside.

                        Fairmount bagels > st. viateur. Most agree on this point. they are very similar, but Fairmount has the edge.

                        The porteugese bakeries are cool. We went to a reeaaaallly good one Baguette Doree Ltee (La) - i love the egg tarts there.

                        oh, also, if you can get your hands on Spruce beer and a steamed hot dog, they are something worth trying.

                        -----
                        Baguette Doree
                        3743 Boul Levesque W, Laval, QC H7V1G4, CA

                        1. re: Jeffsayyes
                          daffyduck Aug 2, 2011 09:44 PM

                          thanks Jeff! I really appreciate your posts on the NY boards, especially the outer boros. What did you order at PCD, that was actually the restaurant I was looking forward to most.

                          1. re: daffyduck
                            Jeffsayyes Aug 3, 2011 11:34 AM

                            i was looking forward to it the most too. maybe you'll like it more than I did, there is a very real chance of that. The food was great, but I didn't get an edge that I wanted to.
                            I had tomato tart, Pied du cuchon, and this thing i forgot what it was, with foie gras http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlick/5...
                            I mean, yeah, it was really tasty. but...

                            1. re: Jeffsayyes
                              f
                              Fintastic Aug 4, 2011 02:23 PM

                              I think you're right about PDC. It is now a decade old, and for much of that time it has been packed night-in and night-out with people who have the foresight to book well in advance. That's not to say that this is a bad thing (I'm often one of those people), but its probably not the definition you'd give for an edgy establishment. You also find M. Wells and Nouveau Palais more homey, and I think I'd have to agree. At night both are darker, smaller, quieter, and not packed quite so tightly with frightened tourists.

                              But in saying this, I think PDC really paved the way for an entire breed of restaurants (now the most common species), not just in Montreal but across Canada and maybe even flavoured the Brooklyn dining revolution, so perhaps its not surprising that its 10 year old interiors seem a little blasé in comparison to its younger relatives. I think, if I were heading to PDC for the first time (as is daffyduck), I wouldn't expect to be overwhelmed by its ingenuity or innovation. In many ways it is now a historical landmark of the foodie world... but fortunately it still maintains much of its former culinary greatness. Maximilien is right about the specials, and he is certainly not the first person I've heard suggest off-menu ordering, though I'll always have a place in my heart for the Plogue de Champlain (pictured in Jeff's photo), which changed my entire perspective on food.

                            2. re: daffyduck
                              m
                              Maximilien Aug 3, 2011 12:00 PM

                              At au Pied de Cochon, you can go for the classics and mostly be disappointed (IMO).

                              Get the day specials; they are usually better then the regular menu; especially the fish specials.

                              I'm one of the rare person who likes foie gras but never order it at restaurants; and the last 2 times I went to APdC, I only ate fish!

                            3. re: Jeffsayyes
                              c
                              celfie Aug 2, 2011 10:11 PM

                              by the way, there are tons of chinese takeout places. however, there are very few in the plateau and mile end. there is no shortage downtown, in fact the downtown is in the midst of a huge demographic shift

                              1. re: celfie
                                daffyduck Aug 2, 2011 10:25 PM

                                thank you, but I'm going to avoid Asian food, I have a lot of friends that live in Flushing, NY which has a great selection of various regional Chinese cuisines.

                                1. re: celfie
                                  Jeffsayyes Aug 3, 2011 11:35 AM

                                  hmmm, I have to go wider then next time. My hosts had never heard of sesame chicken before. I was wondering what your version of it was.

                                  1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                    c
                                    celfie Aug 3, 2011 11:45 AM

                                    sesame chicken is definitely widely available regardless of district

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