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Best Dinner/Restaurant in Montreal?

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I am taking my boyfriend to Montreal for the weekend as a surprise for his 30th birthday. I want to take him to at least one really special dinner while we're there and I'm hoping for some suggestions. Some background:

- "Special" does not have to mean fancy or really high end, though I'm open to that. Mostly, I just want the best food, though an interesting setting or historical import would be cool.
- Price is not really an issue, though I'm generally of the opinion that $$$$ does not always equal quality. We love finds off the beaten path.
- We're pretty open in terms of cuisine but for this occasion, I think I'm less interested in ethnic foods. Would love a bistro, farm to table, Italian, or French food.
- We love good cocktails, wine and beer.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. did you mean this coming weekend, if so it is grandprix weekend hence good restos are already booked and prices often inflated. You might be better to go off beaten path to try a BYOB in plateau or other neighbourhood. Bistro T could be a possibility (they usually have a seafood platter at this time of year)
    bistro T is not expensive, it is a sister restaurant of Toque one of better restos in Montreal
    this statue is worth seeing and you can have a drink nearby as it is at entrance of Old Montreal
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Joute

    other choices might be laloux, lemeac, chasse et peche but I would start now to see which of the popular restos might have reservations still available

    3 Replies
    1. re: mangoannie

      Thanks mangoannie!

      We are going to be visiting July 6 - 9, which I think coincides with the second weekend of the Montreal Jazz Festival. Does the city get equally busy for that event?

      We have three nights in total for dinner. I've been doing some searching myself and what's caught my eye thus far are the BYOs in the Plateau, particularly L'Petit Plateau, Lemeac, and Pintxo for tapas.

      Thanks for your suggestions!

      1. re: aowhite

        ptit plateau is great, pintxo is pretty good as is lemeac but ptit plateau is tops on that list.

        city isnt that busy for jazz fest. Reserve just to be safe but a week in advance should be fine.

        1. re: ahnuld

          Thanks ahnuld!

    2. The cute and romantic spots your looking for won't really be affected by the the fancy watch crowd. Lawrence would be my pick, but it is closed until June 13th for summer vacay. In lieu, I would vote for Trois Petit Bouchons, Van Horne and Pastaga.

      11 Replies
      1. re: tocino.

        The OP is coming July 6-9 so Lawrence could work.

        http://lawrencerestaurant.com/
        Menus: https://twitter.com/Lawrencefood/

        1. re: kpzoo

          The menu at Lawrence looks amazing! You'd recommend that over Lemeac? I think we're definitely doing L'Ptit Plateau one night.

          Thanks!

          1. re: aowhite

            I've only been to Lawrence for brunch (in their former Sparrow incarnation) but I don't recall ever seeing a negative word here on CH about their dinner or lunch, while reviews of Lemeac (where I've never been, either!) seem more mixed. Hopefully others who have been to both will chime in.

            1. re: aowhite

              For sure. Lemeac is great, but one can't really fault Lawrence for anything. Its menu is pretty unique in the Montreal dining scene, and even the most unusual dishes (i.e. an entire fried calf brain, bird and boar hearts, etc etc) have been delicious. There are always not-so-strange things on the menu, but it definitely helps if one is adventurous.
              Even with the weird items, it never feels like the chef is trying to prove something. Its just honest cooking done with available ingredients, whatever they happen to be.

              1. re: Fintastic

                I agree with Fintastic. The menu at Lawrence is much more fun. I've only been to Lemeac for brunch and while it was very good, Lawrence would be my first choice.

                1. re: causeimhungry

                  Everyone does seem to love Lawrence but I am definitely one of those who thinks it is only ok. The brunches are not bad but if you are visiting from the UK or Australia, they are really nothing special. I also find the items to be over salted (and the spinach always under-washed!)
                  Dinner - the sommelier is excellent, but I find there is inconsistency between the pricing structure of some meals. Some are excellent value, with a variety of ingredients, others are fairly basic and still quite expensive. Again, it might depend on where you are coming from - I guess Lawrence's style is fairly unique in Montreal, but again, not so for other places around the world.

                  1. re: unlaced

                    Thanks for your input!

                    I wonder if we shouldn't try Lawrence for brunch and go somewhere else for dinner? While I'm on the subject of lunch, is Schwartz's worth it?

                    1. re: aowhite

                      Brunch is a good plan (though I agree that it may be more typical for UK residents). The only issue is that one cannot reserve for brunch and it often involves waiting in the doorway for a table to free up.
                      Good dinner alternatives would be 3 Petit Bouchons, 5ieme Peche.
                      Schwartz's is definitely 'worth' it from a monetary perspective, but not if it involves waiting in line for days. If there's a line and its normal business hours, go to the new side of their operations (just to the left of the old resto) and get take out. The only thing you'll be missing is the diner ambiance and the surliest of meat-slicers.

                      1. re: Fintastic

                        Thanks for the tips. We are coming from New York City, so I think the menu might still seem unique, but I am not up for standing in line; I get enough of that at home!

                        1. re: aowhite

                          If you want to go for brunch but don't like standing in line, I'd definitely get there before 11am. Most of my favorite brunch places start getting crowded around then.

                    2. re: unlaced

                      I only went once to Lawrence but dont recall anything I ate except didnt like standing in line, didnt find the small donuts anything to rave about and felt kind of rushed as there was still a line when we left. I avoid these brunch places with lines and crowds inside. I do like the ambiance and space at Lemeac. So I think it does depend on personal tastes, how far you want to go for breakfast.