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Nov 6, 2011 08:07 AM

Alternate iconic dishes

I'm certain that most of you have already read Lesley Chesterman's article on the "12 iconic dishes of Montreal." (In case you missed it... ) And it occurred to me that she might have missed a couple. I'm thinking of poutine at La Banquise, something from L'Express/Leameac/Laloux.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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  1. I don't think there are iconic dishes at Lemeac, Laloux or l'Express; they all have good dishes (more or less at l'Express), but nothing that screams "Montreal".

    2 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      seasonal: sugar shack feasts (there is usually one in Old Montreal), maple taffy/ tir ice cream at bilboquet and the maple pastries/sweets at mapledelight store in Old Montreal--although one could argue more representative of quebec than specifically Montreal.

      I think she did a good job in her coverage on this topic so thats why we are stuck! That Wilensky special is odd but tasty and their milkshakes are watery as do not use ice cream but the prices are right and what a time warp! I love that big Orange, their old car nights and the julep is still as good and mysterious as ever. I tended to favor the st. viateur bagel but recently started to enjoy more the fairmont one, seemed lighter and parking less of a problem (+ ice cream treats nearby!)

      1. re: mangoannie

        I prefer Fairmount too!
        Yeah, LC pretty much covered it. Great article--especially enjoyable as I no longer live in Montreal.

    2. Croissant = La Croissanterie Figaro
      steak tartare = l'express
      St Ambroise Pale Ale
      Soupe à l'oignon = AU PIED DE COCHON
      tourtiere = La Binerie

      Soupe Cafe
      2725 Rue Notre-Dame W, Montreal, QC H3J1N9, CA

      6 Replies
      1. re: MartinSLR

        I don't really think any of those would qualify as "iconic Montreal". There's nothing Montreal specific about any of those foods.

        I think Ms. Chesterman pretty much covered it, already. I would be tempted to add rotisserie chicken from Chalet, CSL Bbq or even St-Hubert, but not sure if they are really iconic.

        1. re: SnackHappy

          LC had Montreal rotisserie chicken as a 'Honourable mention' for 'Iconic Montreal' dishes(she had a side article focusing on rotisserie chicken). For bagels, she had both Fairmount Bagel & St. Viateur Bagel(so it wasn't just St. Viateur Bagel on her list).

          And LC still calls Cott Black Cherry soda 'Cherry Coke(at Schwartz's). ' Nothing changes.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            What makes rotisserie chicken from Montreal unique compared to rest of North America? Is it because it's charcoal grilled at Chalet BBQ & CSL BBQ?

            1. re: BLM

              I don't know what exactly makes it unique. Is it the sauce? Is it the seasoning? What I do know is that we eat a lot of the stuff. We are probably the only region in North America with a "national" rotisserie chicken chain as well as many regional chains. I also believe this is also the only place where rotisserie chicken is probably the most popular delivery option or at least in the top two along with pizza. I'd say that makes it a good candidate for icon status.

                1. re: kpzoo

                  There is also St-Hubert brand chicken seasoning along with the sauces and all the other branded products. Montreal Chicken Seasoning could also just be a spin on Montreal Steak Spice.

        2. How about things that have been brought to Montreal from other countries. A great example is Pho/ Vietnamese cooking.Nowhere else in North America do the have the quality of ours.The first thing my foodie friend from NYC wants to do when he visits is go out for a good raw beef Pho Sate. Really not unlike Schwartz's/Smoked Meat where the recipe came to Montreal from afar.

          4 Replies
          1. re: finefoodie55

            I don't think Montreal is the bee's knees of Vietnamese food in N.America. San Jose/parts of Silicon Valley has a more legitimate claim to that.

            1. re: hungryann

              I never really understood why people think of Montreal as a Viet food mecca. I think every major US west coast city has more and better Vietnamese food than Montreal.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                As a California transplant, I have to agree. Little Saigon in Southern California is pretty spectacular. I had a Vietnamese place around the corner from my apt. in SF that was better than anything I've had in Montreal.

                1. re: picklebird

                  There's a big difference between "good" and "iconic." I don't know of anyone sober who would call the hot dogs at the Montreal Pool Room "good," there are dozens, if not hundreds of better hot dogs and sausages to be had in town which unfortunately are not "iconic."

                  Either Pho Bang New York or Pho Lien could be considered iconic in my eyes. Like Schwartz's there is a ridiculous lineup. Both have been around for easily 20 years now. The only thing missing to me would be the tourists.

          2. I'd argue that Romados/Portugalia piri-piri chicken is as uniquely Montreal as anything else on that list. Uniquely Montreal mind you, and uniquely different than any other kind of roast chicken style.

            It may exist in other places, but then, so do most of those 'iconic dishes'. Nor is it a specifically 'indigenous' dish, but then, none of her 12 selections are, and that's her very point. What it has has done, once here, is stake its own claim in our food conversation. It may exist in other places (though I've never actually seen it anywhere else), where is that kind of chicken such a shared cultural touchstone? You say 'Portugese chicken' to any Montrealer, and they'll know exactly what you're talking about. Their eyes might even light up.

            I think by the standard that Chesterman applies - what do people living elsewhere dream of/where do they head to, when dreaming of/coming back to Montreal - piri piri most definitely applies. More than even the Eastern European sandwich.

            2 Replies
            1. re: thebenc

              I'd agree with you on the Portuguese Chicken, and with finefoodie55 on Pho. Contrary to SnackHappy I actually know some people who come to Montreal specifically for the tartare at L'Express. I'd also add to MartinSLR's list the beans at the Binerie as well

              And now that I'm thinking slightly further afield, manakish, a shwarma, and possibly a submarine.

              1. re: EaterBob

                Binerie Mont-Royal has been part of Montreal since the 1940s and should be a landmark of the city of Montreal.

                I know them as a Breakfast place but they are more than that.
                I am ashamed to always forget to mention them and also ashamed that I never had nothing there but breakfast when I know that they serve a few dishes from the quebecois kitchen like "La tourtière (sheppard pie)" , "le ragoût de boulettes", "le paté chinois (similar to cottage pie)".

                The star of the show is of course "Les Bines". their Beans. They have a unique way to prepare them that I believe can't be found elsewhere on earth. I love them with my breakfast and some maple syrop. mmmmmmmm!

                La Binerie Mont Royal
                367 Av Mont-Royal E, Montreal, QC H2T1R1, CA