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What does Montreal have to offer? June 30 - July 3

Hi Montreal chowhounders

Coming with a group of 4 from New York and SF. Planning some dining options for the trip. Not interested in formal, tasting menu restaurants, looking for quintessential, casual Montreal dining options. Since we are coming from NYC and SF, not interested in ethnic fare,steakhouses that we can find in the states. Price range for dinner is $50 -75pp, brunch/lunch under $25pp. I'm open to revising my plans, these are just rough options. Thanks for all your help!

Saturday 6/30
Lunch - L'Express (looking for French style bistro; other options Lemeac)
Dinner - reservations made at Joe Beef (only day available for trip since closed Sundays/Mondays)

Sunday 7/1
Brunch - Fairmount Bagel or St. Viateur/Schwartzs deli
Dinner - reservations made at Au Pied du Cochon
After dinner plans - Dieu du Ciel

Monday 7/2
Brunch - Le Cartet - location close to Ca Roule Montreal for bike rentals
Lunch - Jean Talon market Atwater market while biking
Dinner - planning to make reservations at Garde Manger
After dinner plans - Le Saint Bock (any other outdoor drinking options?)

Tuesday 7/3
Lunch - Griffintown Cafe

Any recommendations for an outdoor terrace restaurant that is also BYOW?
Any recommendations for the best BYOW restaurant?
Any good dining options near the Marriott Chateau Champlain?
Planning to bike around Montreal, any good places to stop along the various biking trails Montreal offers besides Jean Talon market and Atwater market?

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  1. Since I'm in town similar days I too would like any advice from locals as to what's new and chow-worthy. Right now we've got Joe Beef and Au Pied du Cochon reservations but are open to anything. What about Big in Japan? Does anyone know their hours as I can't find a website.

    Whatsgood, enjoy your trip and we'll see you at Au Pied du Cochon ;)

    1. I think you've done a good job with your selections. A few notes:
      On Saturday L'Express does brunch - I don't know if they have their standard menu available, but thats one thing to keep in mind. It is maybe the most quintessential bistro in town, and although their food isn't always super exciting, its hard to beat in terms of ambiance. They also have great wines if you ask for the cellar list. Lemeac, too, only has brunch on saturdays at noon, but would be an equally good option. Their terrace is particularly nice.

      There aren't a lot of good BYOWs with terraces. You can find several on Duluth that are acceptable and have patios (or at least have windows that fully open, like Prunelle), but I can't think of many that rival the other choices you've listed.
      Really, there are a million outdoor drinking options. If you avoid the pepper spraying, St Bock is good due to their beer selection, but there's several other huge terraces on that same block. If you're biking the canal West from Atwater market there's the St. Ambroise brewery terrace which isn't exactly beautiful, but it serves as a nice break from riding. Similar to St. Bock is Vices and Versa, but its a bit isolated in Little Italy.

      Finally, as far as I know Garde is not open Mondays - in fact, many restaurants in Montreal are closed. I'd suggest Trois Petit Bouchons in its place, but maybe look for a recent post on this CH board regarding other places that are open Sundays and Mondays. You could also consider Dominion Square Taverne, which I spend a lot of time recommending. It will be cheaper and has spectacular interiors.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Fintastic

        Vices et Versa would be a great option if you are biking back from Jean Talon market - they have a nice backyard terrace, although it does get very busy!

        1. re: unlaced

          thanks everyone for the replies, really helpful

        2. re: Fintastic

          "On Saturday L'Express does brunch"

          Is this a recent change?

          "Lemeac, too, only has brunch on saturdays at noon"

          They also have brunch on Sundays.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            Re: L'Express - I'm not an expert on this. All I know is that I've been there on weekends at noon and every time I've been given a menu with eggs, french toast, etc listed. This for a number of years, but if someone knows better then please post. As far as I know this isn't their normal lunch menu, but it could be the standard breakfast menu from weekdays.

            Re: Lemeac - I meant they don't do lunch on Saturdays. They, of course, do brunch Sat, Sun, and holiday Mondays.

            1. re: Fintastic

              I actually looked into this last year, so here's what I remember: Lemeac serves their brunch menu from the opening (10h30-11h?). They only serve the regular menu from 12h30 or 1, I can't remember.

              For L'express, I'm surprised you got a brunch menu, as I was told they don't have a brunch menu, and when we went on a Saturday for lunch, it was the regular menu(which was okay, that's what we wanted and why we went there, because it was one of the few places we found that had a regular menu at lunchtime on a Saturday). I believe if you go early in the morning (breakfast time, not brunch time), they will have a breakfast menu, but that may be only during the week

              1. re: sweettoothMTL

                My understanding is that they do breakfast, lunch and dinner, no brunch. So at lunchtime, you get the regular menu.

        3. Big In Japan is considered not good on these boards. Kazu is the best izakaya in the city, but tiny and long line-ups (no reservations possible).

          Le P'tit Plateau is one of the better french bistro BYOW, but no terrace. I would also recommend Le Comptoir for home-made charcuterie and wine and other small plates.

          1 Reply
          1. re: estilker

            There's an alternate izakaya nearby on Ste-Catherine, called Imadake. It's not in the same style as Kazu, but some of their small plates are quite lovely (like the black cod in miso)

          2. I would not recommend "Cafe Griffintown" as I was disappointed both by dinner and brunch. I found it too expensive, very small portions, and the food is not that great.

            If you are in the Old Port area, I'd recommend "La Gargote" close to Place d'Youville. Small menu, but delicious food! And I was pleasantly suprised by lunch at "Holder" on McGill. A bit expensive but excellent meat.

            For outdoor drinking, there is Brasseurs de Montréal on Guy/Ottawa. Not a great ambiance, but food & drinks are good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mtl4real

              I agree regarding, "Cafe Griffintown", was there for brunch and the food was awful, also expensive and tiny portions. Was looking forward to it and so disappointed.

            2. Khyber Pass has a small outdoor terrace and is byow. It's a nice Afghan restaurant on Duluth. Jardin de Panos, also on Duluth, has a larger terrace, also byow, and is a Greek restaurant. If you'd rather sit on a terrace on a busy street and watch people walk by there are a number of cafes and ice cream places along St-Denis, either in the Plateau or the Quartier Latin areas. Parc Lafontaine is a great place to stop along the biking trails and there is a bistro in the park as well, also with a terrace. You might want to plan a bakery tour while cycling, that could be a lot of fun.

              1 Reply
              1. I will tell you what I adore in Montreal but my off-beat suggestions may offend proponents of fine restaurants. But, here goes. 1) Although I am not a vegetarian I make a beeline for (vegetarian) Le Commensal (several locations) which has a hot buffet and a cold buffet because the cold buffet is the most awesome salad bar I have ever seen in my life. 2) The Underground City has many many many food courts which set up for lunch for the hordes of office workers who eat lunch there so that at about 11 or 11:30 everything is fresh and gorgeous and these food courts are ethnic food heaven---I swear that half the new international residents of Montreal must run food court places. My introduction to all kinds of foreign delights was in the Montreal Underground City and because there are so many places and prices are low you can make this an occasion for grazing.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Querencia

                  where specifically in the underground mall? underneath the scotia cinema has a few nice looking places, but 99% of the ethnic food from cours mont-royal to the bay are pretty awful - especially that new indian chain.

                  1. re: catroast

                    The OP specified that he's not interested in ethnic fare though...

                2. If you want a truly Montreal experience (not gourmet in the slightest, but VERY authentic) get a sandwich at Wilensky's. Only open weekdays. And don't dare ask them to cut the sandwich in two....


                  4 Replies
                      1. re: bonefreakchef

                        any places close to marriott chateau champlain in the downtown area? thanks

                        1. re: Whatsgood

                          Dominion Square Tavern is a few blocks away. Brasserie T and F Bar are about a 15-minute walk, but because it's during jazz fest, you would have to reserve in advance to get a table. Ferreira (F Bar's big brother) is fairly close by as well. And while it's not a novelty to someone from NYC, the Daniel Boulud restaurant in the Ritz Carlton is opening this week (and is relatively close to your hotel as well)

                  1. Whatsgood,

                    you will be in Montreal during the Jazz Festival. Might be worth spending an afternoon there. There usually is a patio with wine and cheese between Hyatt and the fountain which I like to do with friend while listening to music.

                    There is a casual french bistro style steak frite place on Peel..

                    1. Bernard street in Outremont has pleasant sidewalk terraces in a nice neighbourhood-- for breakfast or lunch, not expensive and very French ambiance. There are several restos always busy and this month a new one is opening Le Murphy Boire et Manger at 1249 Bernard. You will get much more of a feel for Montreal than downtown restos where tourists tends to go. On same street are good cheese shop*, pastry shop, fine food takeout shop**, and artisan ice cream***, specialty shops for teas, olive oil-all within 4 blocks. Worth going by even if for a glass of wine or beer. Easy to get to from downtown.
                      New this year, not sure how it will turn out though, we will have a sand beach along waterfront in Old Montreal (no swimming) kind of like what they did in Paris along the Seine and there will be some food/beverage service (see opening section)



                      1. No to Big In Japan unless you just want to drink.
                        What, no croissant and pastries ?
                        Have brunch at Byblos, walk by Patisserie Rhubarbe for dessert. Pick up a BIXI to get to St-Viateur and Clark to get the best falafel in town at Panthere Verte. Walk down Clark to Fairmount for a triple threat of Le Sardine donuts, Boulangerie Guillaume stuff and Kem CoBa icecream.

                        1. Looking forward to the upcoming trip. Finalized dining itinerary, any noteworthy dishes we should try?

                          Saturday 6/30
                          Dinner - Joe Beef

                          Sunday 7/1
                          Dinner - Au Pied du Cochon
                          After dinner plans - Le Saint Bock, Dieu du Ciel

                          Monday 7/2
                          Dinner - Gibby's
                          After dinner plans - Suite 701 Lounge

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Whatsgood

                            Everything sounds great except for maybe Gibby's. Was it steak you were looking for? Montreal is not big on steakhouses, but you could definitely find a better meal and nicer atmosphere. I haven't been to Gibby's in about 5 years, but it would never be considered to be in the same category as your other choices. Dominion Square Tavern could be a nice substitute.

                            1. re: causeimhungry

                              thanks for the advice, the bachelor requested a steakhouse so gibbys was the default choice after some research, plan on going to dominion square tavern for lunch during the trip since its near our hotel.

                              1. re: Whatsgood

                                You might want to look at a place with steaks, instead of a steakhouse. Steak-frites is a standard dish which can be found in many local restos, although it's ususally bavette or onglet, not t-bone or sirloin. IMHO Gibby's is a waste of a meal opportunity...

                          2. I think you should just skip Montreal and head straight for Ottawa where our lord and beloved leader King Harper the 1st reigns.

                            I mean, Montreal is a filthy, degenerate city full of them frenchies (strike that I meant nationalists) trying to bring fun, good food and libations to our sacred Dominion.

                            I mean they serve alcohol until 3am to adults over 18, can't agree on the best smoke meat or bagels and have thriving artistic community (bilingual too - yuck!)

                            Should you be crazy enough to head to this nest of evil and insulting the Gods of Gas by using a bicycle, the Lachine Canal path is great and you'll end up in Lachine for great food (El Meson or Il Fornetto or even Dairy Queen (Best!!! No Alcolhol!) you can go up north towards the tamtam for the afternoon.

                            Just make sure you don't have too much fun during jazzfest, its probably sinful. Be safe.

                            Please read between the lines and enjoy!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                              sounds like a horrible place, i will do my best to hide my face of disgust during the trip

                            2. If you can squeeze in Le Comptoir, as someone else mentioned, try to. Our group of 4 from NYC liked everything about that place more than APDC: better service, atmosphere (granted, we had the worst seat in the house at APDC), and food, which is beautifully done and won't make you feel ill four hours later (one favorite dish: veal loin with sage puree and these genius "sweetbreads popcorn" on top).

                              Another Mon night idea is L'Amere a boire, very near Le Saint Bock. It has a small outdoor seating area on the sidewalk and some really nice beer, including a delicious (and strong!) 10% ABV pilsner. Also on Saint-Denis is a random little bar called Le P'tit--a tiny hole in the wall with live music most nights, very French and intimate and everyone in the place singing along to all these folk/political songs. It made a fun stop, for us anyway.

                              We also biked everywhere using the bike-share program! It worked out well for us, although biking to Atwater on a Saturday was the toughest part--there were no open bike racks for us upon arrival, and we lost a bit of time (and money) looking for another one nearby, eventually having to sit there and wait for four bikes to be taken out. I guess it comes down to a little luck; just a word of warning.

                              One final rec: While you're in Mile End for the bagels, swing by Boulangerie Cheskie on Bernard for some babka--a square of the rich, chocolatey Russian babka and a piece of the high or flat kind. I promise you will not regret it! It's unlike any babka I've had in NYC.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: loumarie

                                Thanks for the report on Le Comptoir - I have friends in town this weekend and I have decided to take them there over APdC, for almost all of the exact reasons you mention - glad that it was a great night, I can't wait for our visit!