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May 3, 2012 07:31 PM

Last-Minute Itinerary Advice

Hi all,

You were so helpful when I posted a month ago seeking out advice, so I wanted to post my semi-finalized dining itinerary and see if there's anything I'm missing or any weak spots. My boyfriend and I are visiting from NYC next week. His first time to Montreal, and my first time in several years.

So far, we have:

May 12: Dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, 9:30 p.m.
May 13: Breakfast at Boulangerie Guillaume, lunch at Schwartz's, dinner at Le Comptoir (No reservation yet—do I need one?)
May 14: Bagels from St. Viateur, visit Jean Talon Market for light lunch, dinner at Le Bremner (9 p.m.)
May 15: Breakfast at Chez Claudette, lunch at Le Réservoir, dinner at Joe Beef (9:30 p.m.)

Snacks/Other Food Possibilities: Other Places: Koign-Amann, Petits Gateaux, Le Nouveau Palais, Le Havre des Glaces, The Sparrow

Any input/possible changes are appreciated. I've read on some places that doing both Joe Beef and APDC is overkill, but we really, really like that type of food (my boyfriend works for a pretty renowned
"nose-to-tail" type chef here in NYC), and I think would kick ourselves for skipping one. Also, is Garde Manger better than Le Bremner?

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  1. Here are few thoughts:

    "Breakfast at Boulangerie Guillaume" I don't know if you're planning on actually eating there, but there's nowhere to sit and eat at Guillaume. It's just a bakery. You can always buy your stuff and eat it at Parc Lahaie at the corner of Laurier and St-Laurent. They are picnic tables there.

    "Le Comptoir (No reservation yet—do I need one?)" Absolutely

    "Breakfast at Chez Claudette" Unless you're going for a specific reason, I would pick something else. Claudette is just a standard greasy spoon. There's nothing special about the place.

    7 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      Sorry, I should've clarified: we're pretty happy with just grabbing a pastry and coffee to go and enjoying it in the park. :)

      Will call Le Comptoir ASAP.

      Chez Claudette was on the list only because the people we are renting an apartment from recommended it, as it's close to the apartment. Other good breakfast options near the Mont-Royal Metro?

      1. re: loratliff

        I like L'avenue. It's about a 4 minute walk from the Mount Royal metro. They make good benedicts. I usually try to arrive before 11 because it gets quite busy.

        1. re: causeimhungry

          I second SnackHappy. I recommend the buns aux pommes from Guillaume. If you do want to sit down, you could go next door to Cafe Sardine (pretty wicked donuts, though coming from NYC with Led Zeppole, probably nothing special to you). Otherwise a couple of coffee places nearby (Cafe in Gamba, not sure if this qualifies as 3rd wave, or Club Social or Olimpico on St Viateur where a lot of locals hang out). For a more extensive brunch, Lawrence (also 2 doors down from Guillaume), but be prepared to wait 30-45min. If you can't get in for dinner at Le Comptoir, try get in their Sunday brunch.

          Chez Claudette is really nothing special. More a place for a drunk greasy midnight snack. Once again you're not far from Guillaume, Lawrence or Sardine.

          Also Le Reservoir is a bit so so. The beer is not really great (compared to other brewpubs) and the food, though carefully prepared, has always underwhelmed me. Dieu du Ciel is nothing great foodwise (though a year ago they had bread from Guillaume prepared with one of their beers) but it is one of the finest brewpubs in the city. Depends how liquid you want your lunch to be.

          EDIT: just want to clarify that you could easily bring your pastries to Olimpico. Almost everyone brings their own bagels or pastries there to enjoy with the coffee on the terrace. Nobody will flinch.

          1. re: estilker

            guess it is personal preference, club social or olympico look like rundown places to me, I would much prefer de gascogne for a coffee much nicer ambiance.....just my opinion

            1. re: mangoannie

              I think Olimpico and Club Social qualify as non-touristy quintessential Mile End places. It's the type of place I want to go to when I travel.
              Ah, les gouts et les couleurs ...

        2. re: loratliff

          If you're near the Mount Royal metro and eating at both APDC and Joe Beef, you need to have breakfast at The Binerie Mount Royal. It's been around since the 1930s, still uses the same recipes as from then, and will enable you to eat the history that APDC and Joe Beef are building upon.

          1. re: EaterBob

            Definitely skip Chez Claudette, I went there once and they took my order out of the freezer and nuked it (Shepard's Pie or Tourtiere, I can't remember).

            I'm a St Viateur over Fairmont bagel person but if you try Fairmount you can grab an ice cream at Kem Coba which is literally right next door (not that St Viateur is that far away). You must try the soft serve at Kem Coba.

      2. You guys are so much nicer to visitors than we are over on the NYC boards. ;)

        Thanks again. Definitely will scrap Chez Claudette. In fact, since May 13 is a Sunday, we'll probably do brunch at Lawrence that day, and save Boulangerie Guillaume for our breakfast on the 15th, a Wednesday. 30-45 mins. wait is nothing—we're used to hours. (Sigh, NYC.)

        We like beer, but not as much as we like wine and good food, so Le Reservoir might be worth skipping for us.

        La Binerie Mont Royal was also on the list of places our apartment hosts sent us, so glad to hear it mentioned favorably on here.

        Once again: thank you, thank you! Can't wait to report back.

        2 Replies
        1. re: loratliff

          If you like beer, "La Salle a Manger" now has a small selection of (750ml) bottles of imported belgian beers.

          1. re: loratliff

            Sounds like a really fun itinerary! I would probably head to Kouign Amann for a breakfast of croissants and chocolatine and try La Binerie for a snack or lunch instead. They are very close to one another. You might want to add the ice cream shop Les Givrés to the list as it's just down the street along St-Denis. And you can always have your St-Viateur bagels at their café on Mont-Royal which might be more comfortable than dashing up to St-Viateur in Mile End and the bagels are made on site the same way. The tip to switch Schwartz to Monday is a good one too. The market is fun on Sunday, and the lineups at Schwartz on Sunday are a drag.

          2. If you are near Chez Claudette then you are not very far from Fous Desserts for pastries and croissants and Patisserie Rhubarbe for cakes.

            1. Some other places that I think you should consider for "snacks" :

              - Olivier Potier and Pâtisserie Rhubarbe. The 2 best pastry shop in Montreal. I would take that over Petites Gâteaux cause you probably have everything you need in terms of cupcakes in NYC.
              - Fous Desserts for great great viennoiseries
              - Already mentioned, but Kem Coba for ice cream. Delicious soft serve.
              - Le Marché des Saveurs at Marché Jean-Talon for Québec produces to bring back (if you like jams look for Simon Turcotte's amazing jams).

              I would still keep Boulangerie Guillaume with all that though. I also recommend the buns aux pommes. Don't leave without a baguette tradition too.

              If you like cheese, maybe it would be interesting to sample some Quebec cheeses. Hamel and Qui lait cru at Marché Jean-Talon could help you with that.

              1. Keep in mind that Sunday May 13 is Mother's Day, and the restaurants might be a bit busier than usual. Enjoy!

                5 Replies
                1. re: Aurore1

                  True, brunch places especially.

                  1. re: Glaff

                    Lawrence opens at 9:30. Typically if you show up 15-20 minutes before opening you should be able to get a table right away. That is if you can manage to get up so early (especially after a late meal at APDC). Though the let you put your name on the list and will give you a call. So enough time to explore some more of Mile End.

                    BTW: I have found people on the NYC board friendly too ...

                    1. re: estilker

                      That sounds like a nice morning. :) In NYC, alcohol can't be served before 12 on Sundays—is there a similar law? If so, we might wait until later so we can enjoy a bloody mary with our brunch. If the weather's nice, a beautiful wait outside is no big deal.

                      1. re: loratliff

                        > In NYC, alcohol can't be served before 12 on Sundays—is there a similar law?

                        Ha - we have other weird laws, but I don't think we have that particular one here!

                        1. re: loratliff

                          In the Province of Québec, licensed establishments can serve alcohol from 8am to 3am, every day of the week.