Three amazing days/nights in Montreal from NYC (long)
The wife and I just spent three glorious days/nights in Montreal-from Wed, May 23-Sat, May 26th. The weather was unseasonably warm, it hit the high 80's on Thur/Fri and we hit some regular spots and some new ones I thought I'd share with everyone. We have been visiting Montreal for the past 7-8 years, usually in April and October so we miss the hot months. As a result we have never seen the seafood menu at Au Pied de Cochon, even though we've eaten there every time we've been to Montreal. We typically stay at the InterContinental Hotel as it is perfectly situated reasonably near everything and isn't crazy expensive for a very nice hotel. This trip we stopped at Saratoga Springs on the way up from NYC for lunch for the first time and ate at The Local, a british pub with good food and I had the largest piece of fish for my fish & chips order imaginable. I wish we took pics but we didn't. Suffice it to say the fish portion was a good foot and a half long. I recommend it to anyone who likes fish and chips.
We arrived at our hotel in Montreal at 4:45pm, just missing traffic at the bridge and checked in and wandered over to our 5:30PM dinner reservation at Les 400 Coups. I wasn't sure we would make it in time and made the reservation thru Open Table and that was the only time available. It was an incredible meal. We thought about getting the five course meal as it was lobster centric but decided to try other dishes as we had never eaten here before. My wife had raw shrimp in milk for an app, I know it sounds disgusting but it worked well and she loved it. I'm not doing it justice with that description but she hates raw seafood and despises milk and loved the dish so go figure. I went with the roast suckling pig app which was delicious-hard to screw up suckling pig. She then had the Atlantic Cod dish which she liked a lot and I being a pig, had the scallops and more suckling pig, our server assured me it was prepared completely differently and he was right. Unbelievable combo. She had an organic white wine to go with her dishes and I had a blonde beer followed by a glass of Chardonnay and a glass of Pinot Noir. We shared the Green dessert which was white chocolate yogurt with pistachio and granny smith apples which blew us away. Great start to our stay.
The following day we had coffee and a croissant at La Croissanterie Figaro, followed by a bagel each at Fairmount Bagel and St. Viateur Bagel, we flip flopped from previous visits and found the Fairmount Bagel slightly better. Both were hot, straight out of the oven, much tastier than our NY Bagels. We had a late lunch at La Chronique for the first time. Very small, intimate setting, only 32 seats in the whole place. She had a shrimp app dish that she liked followed by a seared scallop dish that was spectacular. I had the seared foie gras app followed by their version of fish and chips. All of the food was great, it was a little formal but would recommend it for anyone for lunch. We then had dinner at Le Club Chasse et Peche, where we have eaten pretty much every time we have been in Montreal. They didn't disappoint, I was actually not feeling well and so I didn't drink. I had the cavatelli with snow crab, creme fraiche and basil followed by the Chasse et Peche which was kobe steak and poached lobster. She had two apps, the asparagus dish and the seared scallops, which is one of their signature dishes. I had one of her three scallops and imo it was the best scallop compared to Les 400 Coups and La Chronique. Again, just my opinion. Friday was food packed. I had a croissant at Olive et Gourmando and then we hit Marche Jean Talon. We grazed some fruit at the outdoor market and got a pound of cooked Nordic Shrimp at Les Delices de la Mer and ate that while walking around. On the spur of the moment we jumped in the subway and headed to Kazu hoping to make it before they opened at 12 Noon. We got there at one minute til, and there was a long line of people. I had read that there were only 30 seats in the joint, with 8 of them being at the bar. I'm happy to report that there are actually 32 seats and they expanded the bar seating to include 10 as we were numbers 31 and 32 and were seated where the servers put their orders down so it was crowded. Having said that, we were thrilled we got in on the first seating and we ended up being the 2nd group to leave so we were quick about it. I had the 48 hour pork dish which was amazing and cheap and she had a tofu dish which was huge and delcious.
We decided to walk off some of the food we had ingested and headed to Atwater Market. It was a healthy walk and we ended up buying some strawberries there, we noticed that the vendors at both Jean Talon and Atwater were taking Driscoll Strawberries from CA and dumping them in new containers and presenting them at Quebec strawberries, which we thought was cheesy but ended up buying some were much smaller and looked real from one of the vendors but it was still a bit early for strawberries and these weren't great. We walked back to our hotel, a 45 minute jaunt and prepared for our final meal in Montreal. I had booked seats at the bar for 6pm at Au Pied de Cochon, our favorite place to eat. We prefer sitting at the bar as you can see the cooks preparing the dishes, kind of like an open kitchen. It is a little warm there but well worth it. As I mentioned before, this time the entire left side of the menu was seafood related. They had seafood towers as well as lobsters and other delights. I ended up getting the Foie Gras Poutine for the first time followed by the ultimate lobster roll, 1 1/2 lbs of lobster meat stuffed into their bread with foie gras and cheese and lettuce. The food was excellent. As was the APDC beer. She had a crab and cucumber salad to start followed by their halibut dish which was great. We were both stuffed to the gills so alas no dessert. The non eating highlight was watching one of the chefs prepare the Pigs Head in front of us. He ripped the mouth open wide and yanked out the tongue and threw in in a frying pan. The head was already cooked but he was prepping it on a cutting board to serve. He slathered on mashed potatoes in the mouth covered it with a bed of asparagus and then put the lobster shell in the mouth of the pig as well. He shoved a asparagus spear up one nostril to boot. He also had a dipping bowl filled with au jus on the cutting board as well. The server really struggled picking up the whole contraption to serve to some lucky people in the back. Again, I wish we took pics but we didn't. Had to see it to believe it.
Next visit we may not go to Club Chasse et Peche and try Joe Beef. On a previous visit we ate at Liverpool House, which is a sister restaurant to Joe Beef and had an incredible meal there. We had the lobster fra diavolo and their version of the Plogue a Champlain which was french toast, foie gras, cheese and maple syrup and their cote de boeuf for two with lobster mashed potatoes which were incredible. Sorry for the length, but wanted to post our food experiences for other visitors. It was an amazing foodie trip this time.
Thanks for taking the time to report back in such detail. Glad you had a good trip!
"we noticed that the vendors at both Jean Talon and Atwater were taking Driscoll Strawberries from CA and dumping them in new containers and presenting them at Quebec strawberries"
Wow, that's disgusting. I must be very naive as I never imagined that happening. Ugh.
Thanks for the report!
As for the strawberries... I'm surprised too. I know some vendors are selling US strawberries in other containers to make them look fresh... but I've never seen them with a QC tag on.
Are you sure they were labelled as Quebec strawberries? Many of the vendors at the market lead you to believe that they are farmers but rather buy all their produce at the fruit & vegetable terminals and quaintly repackage the stuff in their stalls. In other words never assume that the produce is local.
what an upbeat report. And I always say dont come to Montreal for fish (considering distance) and here you proved me wrong. My mouth was watering at your description of each meal. Thanks for sharing!