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Jun 15, 2012 12:31 PM

Montreal w/ Kids and Parents -- Foodie family needs recs!

Hello! Or should I say Bonjour?!

I will be traveling to Montreal with my husband (we're in our late 30s), parents (in their 70s - not super mobile) and two young girls (1 and 2 yrs old) from June 30 to July 4. We are staying at Hotel Place d'Artes in the old part of town.

We are all big foodies and my kids are suprisingly great in restaurants (we live in Manhattan and eat out with them probably 4 or 5 times a week). The last time my husband and I were in Montreal w/o kids we ate at APDC, Le Club Chasse et Peche, and some restaurant with the work 'lait' in it that was quite good. We loved going to Jean Talon and buying all kinds of great foods to eat.

I would love some specific recommendations for:

1) Restaurants that are family friendly (for the 6 of us!) with great food, preferably within walking distance of our hotel or a short taxi ride away.

2) A high end restaurant that my husband and I should go to alone on date night -- when we leave my kids with my parents at the hotel. We've always wanted to try Joe Beef, but it has never worked with our schedule.

3) A place for great poutine and beer - also nearby the hotel!

Also -- we undertand that Montreal Jazz Festival is going to be happening when we are in town. Does anyone know if there are outdoor venues where we could bring a picnic blanket and eat things we've picked up at Jean Talon? Also, can one drink wine in public (like on the picnic) in Montreal w/o getting arrested?

Thanks in advance!!


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  1. 1. not my forte (family), but you could try Laurier 1936 (aka Ramsay's Laurier BBQ), or "La Salle à Manger" (both are not in old montreal, but easily accessible by taxi)

    2. "Les 400 coups" (old montreal) or "Bouillon Bilk" (near the jazz fest area). (better start thinking about your reservation)

    3. For Poutine, I don't know of places in Old Montreal, but I'm certain you can find it everywhere; but you could go to "La Banquise" or Patati Patata (small, you I think you can take it out and eat in the park in front (no booze outside).

    4. You can bring your lunch (food only) on the Jazz Festival site; most shows are outside during the day; andf there will be lot of places to sit down.

    As for booze on public space (parks) ; I think that it is accepted if part of an organized picnic (where it shows that you have a lunch with you)

    From the jazz fest webby.:
    The following items are prohibited on the Festival site:
    - Alcoholic beverages.
    - Glass and aluminum containers. Their contents will be poured into recyclable plastic glasses at festival access points.


    1. Montreal is a totally kid friendly city. From the Old Port in the summer at our only food truck called Muvbox to the restaurants on St Laurent and down through St Denis...and of course all the quaint sububrbs that have great restaurants.

      However on Sundays waiting in line downtown for brunch at places like Eggspectation can be hard especially with hungry kids so I would take a taxi or use your GPS and find Cafe Orange (I always go there) or St Viateur Bagel Cafe on Monkland - Chez Cora is not so great.

      1. This is obviously a tough weekend for bookings so definitely aim to book ASAP - overlapping US and Canadian holidays + jazzfest always tie up the best places.

        1) Maybe T! in the jazzfest space?

        2) If you liked APDC last time, then maybe aim for Joe Beef/Liverpool House, Garde Manger, Chien Fumant. If you liked CCeP last time, then maybe 400 Coups, le Filet. If you liked Monte de Lait (now closed), maybe something like Cinquieme Peche, Trois petit bouchons, Lawrence (different cuisine).

        3) Poutine near your hotel is hit-and-miss (mostly miss). Head for Banquise or something in the plateau.

        4) Yes, there are outdoor shows, but everything is on city streets (i.e. not on grass). If you arrive early and find an out-of-the-way spot you could maybe manage a blanket, but don't count on it. Montreal's picnic-booze rules are a bit subjective, but you cannot bring your own alcohol into the Jazzfest. If you're in a park and are eating food, no one will bother your drinking. Only late at night or in larger groups would be police ever object to public drinking. No one will ever be arrested.

        1. Thank you for these great suggestions! We are getting excited. I had our concierge hook us up with some reservations. Her is the itinerary:

          Saturday 30 of June : Joe Beef at 7pm for 4 pers. is confirmed. They are full on the other dates.

          Sunday 01 of July : Vallier for brunch at 1pm for 6 pers. is confirmed.

          For dinner, casual place for you to choose:
          Modavie, Méditerranean cuisine at
          Bevo, italian cuisine at
          Vieux-Port Steakhouse , seafood and steak and a beautiful terrace at
          Please confirm the number of persons.(6 or 8


          Monday 02 of July: lunch at La Banquise at 1 pm for poutine and beer. No reservation required. The best in the city.

          Dinner at Le Local at 8 pm for 2 pers. is confirmed.

          Tuesday 03 of July: lunch at Bouillon Bilk at 1pm for 6 pers. is confirmed.

          Dinner at Au Pied de Cochon at 8 pm for 4 pers is confirmed. They are full on the other dates.

          On July 1, does anyone have an opinion of the suggestions? I would like to try Garde Manger -- but I read somewhere that they specifically will not accept kids (is that legal?!).

          4 Replies
          1. re: Stickies

            Sounds like a lot of fun. If you plan to eat at Modavie I'd suggest their lamb chops or rack of lamb which are their specialties. They also have a mediterranean meal salad with smoked salmon that is nice, and some simple pastas which might please the kids, as well as good live jazz. I haven't been to the other places on the casual list. Garde Manger refuses kids based on some odd liquor licence quirk, shouldn't be a problem anywhere else.

            1. re: Stickies

              The kid thing at Garde Manger has been discussed before, and the kid rules stands (I cannot find the discussion thread) because the place turns into "supper club"-ish as the evening goes.

              And it's surely full packed on that day.

              1. re: Maximilien

                Honestly, based on my experience there last night, I wouldn't even recommend Garde Manger if kids ate for free. I won't get into all the details, but I withdraw my prior recommendation.

                The food was mostly very good, but we had several serious service problems that will keep me from going back. The most unfortunate was the waitress' decision to order one member of our party the main-sized version ($48) of a dish that he requested as an appetizer ($19), claiming that he wasn't going to have enough food. She told us she had done so, but her explanation made it sound like she was going to bring the appetizer as his main course, not that she had changed his order to an item 2.5 times more expensive. She was evidently displeased with our table's frugal ordering (about $355 + tip between 4 people), but this was completely unacceptable.
                It's too bad, because I know people who work both in the kitchen and on the Chuck's Day Off film crew, but based on this server's performance I won't return. This is the first time I've ever sworn off a restaurant that serves such good food..

                Your other choices are excellent, and I hope you have a wonderful time! On July 1 you could maybe try to get an early reservation at Lawrence, who've dealt quite well with kids in my experience. Again, July 1 is a national holiday (so we get the Monday off), making this a busy day for restaurants..

              2. re: Stickies

                I assume you aren't bringing the kids to Joe Beef? (not the greatest place for 1 and 2 year olds).
                For brunch, I'd skip Vallier, and head to Lawrence, if it's open.
                If they're open on July 1, dinner suggestions would be Le Filet (Club Chasse et Peche's slightly more casual small plates resto), or Le Bremner (Garde Manger's version of the same). Or Brasserie T, which is always consistent (but given that it's festival time, you would have to be sure to reserve).

              3. For the poutine, you can go to Brisket on Côte du Beaver Hall (not too far from Square Victoria and Old Montreal). They do a version with smoked meat, hence you cover two Montreal specialties in one. It's pretty casual, so family friendly.

                For date night, I recommend DNA on Marguerite D'Youville in Old Montreal.

                For picnic food, an alternative to the Jean-Talon market is the Atwater market. You can take the métro (orange line) to Lionel-Groulx. On a nice day, you can stroll along the Lachine Canal, picnic and even rent kayaks.

                Enjoy your stay.

                1 Reply