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Aug 9, 2011 05:03 AM

Best Montreal Bistro for Dinner?

Having read several threads on this site, I am seeing multiple bistro names being thrown around, with each different writer declaring their choice as the best bistro in town. Clearly, restaurant choices are somewhat subjective, but I still was hoping for a general consensus.

That being said, I am looking for a bistro for dinner that is fairly traditional, with a dash of innovation. I would like to ideally stay with the price range of $60-$90, for two people.

here are certain names that I have seen thrown around:


I am also open to additional suggestions.

Being that I can only choose one, given my aforementioned criteria, cuisine-wise and price-wise, which would you recommend?

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  1. Well, the best is definitely subjective. Except for Monsieur B, which doesn't get much comment, and which I haven't tried personally, you can't go wrong with these choise.

    Lemeac is the general consensus for the top of it's class, over l'express, but it is pricier. Your price range may be hard to get to at Lemeac (but you can check their menu online). And I hope you mean without the alcohol. Otherwise, l'Express is less expensive, especially, their insanely well priced wine-list.

    Au Cinquième Pèché is also top notch, maybe better than Lemeac for what is does, but the menu is shorter, and much less conventionnal. Unfortunately, not available online. Much less traditional bistro than Lemeac, more Montreal-style Bistro.

    1. While you've listed the heavy-hitter bistros, for the sake of ambiance you might want to consider one of the city's smaller bistros: Le P'tit Plateau or Bistro Bienville, for instance.

      Le P'tit Plateau
      330 Rue Marie-Anne E, Montreal, QC H2W1B1, CA

      1. I have not eaten at L'Express or Laloux but given the choice of the remaining three I would recommend Monsieur B. Seems the most likely to fit into your price range (though on the high end, and not including wine purchased elsewhere - our meal there last week ran us just about $100 for two including desserts and amuses), and was also my favourite meal of the three. Ambiance was also nice, it's a small room in an attractive neighbourhood.

        I think even excluding wine you'll have a hard time keeping a meal at Lemeac or Au Cinquieme Peche under $120+.

        8 Replies
        1. re: jerkstore

          Not very impressed with L'Express. Was underwhelmed by the hangar steak. Tough, cold and no flavour. On the Prairies this would be called minute steak, very cheap and very tough. Here it seems trendy but it's just as bad! By dinner do you mean lunch? I am from the Prairies and "dinner", is the mid-day meal. Supper is the evening meal.

          L'Express Restaurant
          3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

          1. re: eatwell

            Hanger steak is not minute steak. Hanger comes from the diaphragm right under the loin – same place as skirt steak. Minute steak is mostly sirloin or round. Hanger is a very prized cut of beef, and not just by wannabe Frenchies. It's what is called a butcher's cut i.e. it's so tasty that butchers like to keep it for themselves. And no, it's not as tender as ribeye or tenderloin but it's much, much more flavourful.

            1. re: SnackHappy

              I thank all of you for your input.

              I believe that I will eliminate AU CINQUIEME PECHE from consideration, given the abbreviated menu and the fact that certain dishes seem too daring (i.e. - seal)

              Being that multiple people have stated L'EXPRESS as being dated and too traditional, I might drop that from consideration as well.

              Therefore, LE LEMEAC or LALOUX?

              Although LE LEMEAC appears to be somewhat above my stated budget, the menu appears to be excellent. I was unable to preview a menu for LALOUX.

              Again, additional suggestions are welcome, for a middle-ground bistro (not too daring and not too traditional), with a respectable by-the-glass wine list that will definitely not exceed $120 for 2 people (wine excluded).

              1. re: Nicholas12

                i havent been but heard good things about Restaurant Van Horne. It is market driven and their sample menu is very tempting and well priced. It will also take you to a neighbourhood visitors do not typically visit
                You may want to stroll around the neighbourhood before or after - van horne has some nice cafes, two bakeries with the best croissants in the city and a few blocks up is lively bernard st

                1. re: Nicholas12

                  I'm pretty sure that Leméac and Laloux are roughly the same price point. You can definitely stay within a $90 budget for two comfortably at either. I'd take Lemeac over Laloux personally. Since it's attached to my favorite wine bar int he city, why not eat at Leméac and then head to Pop afterword for a glass of wine and sample some light canapés or dessert from Laloux's kitchen?

                  I love 5ieme but it's not a french bistro and doesn't really fit into the same category as other places you're referencing. There are many other fine bistros besides the big three (L'Express, Leméac, Laloux)...

                  Some other options yet unnamed in this thread:

                  - Chez l'Épicier Restaurant Bar a Vin
                  - Les Trois Petits Bouchons
                  - Mas Cuisine
                  - La Montée de Lait
                  - Justine Bistro A Vin
                  - Bistro Bienville
                  - Pyrus Bistronomique
                  - La Salle à Manger
                  - Bistro Cocagne
                  - M sur Masson
                  - L'Inconnu

                  I'd still probably chose Leméac though.

                  1. re: OliverB

                    just to clarify, Lemeac does not have a wine bar attached to it, it's Laloux.

                    1. re: Maximilien

                      I guess I could've typed that with a bit more clarity, but yes, that's what I was trying to put across.

                  2. re: Nicholas12

                    A not-that-up-to-date version of Laloux's menu can be found here:

                    Personally, I'd take Lemeac over Laloux simply because I enjoy the food more (fantastic scallops) as well as the atmosphere.

            2. I vote for Narcisse in the old port. Live jazz and yummy food.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lissalee

                I do believe that I have confidently concluded on LE LEMEAC and that I will be happy with my decision, once have finished my meal.

                I thank all of you for your help.

                1. re: Nicholas12

                  The name of the restaurant is Lemeac.

                  Sorry its just really been annoying me.

              2. If you are looking for the best quality for your money, 100% guarantee MAS CUISINE is the place
                trust me you will not be disappointed, I have been to most of the places here.

                Another place if your in a casual fun mood La Salle à Manger sit at the bar, the food i have had there on many visit has been very good and not pricey.