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5 days in Montreal - help us shorten our restaurant list!

g
glang Jul 4, 2012 11:09 PM

Hi there Montreal hounds,

We've read some threads and there are way too many places we'd like to try (see below - blush). We like every kind of food, from ethnic hole-in-the-wall to cutting edge cuisine. We tend to crave Chinese food because it's terrible where we live (Colorado); seafood ditto. We are good cooks and like to go out for things we can't or wouldn't easily make better at home. Our budget allows for a couple of splurges, within reason.

Be brutal - we have to get this narrowed down to 5 dinners and 5 lunches! (Some of these could switch from dinner list to lunch list or vice versa; by all means weigh in on that as well.)

We have from midday on July 11th, through breakfast on Tuesday July 17th - Saturday dinner is out, we'll be at an Indian wedding (thus no Indian places on our list).

Thanks all!

Dinners:
Restaurant Park
Milos
Julieta
400 Coups
Pintxo
Trois Petits Bouchons
Comptoir Charcuterie et Vins
Lawrence
Cuisine Szechuan
Kan Bai
Kazu
Au Pied de Cochon
Damas
Club Chasse et Peche
Le Chien Fumant
La Porte

Lunches:
Le Cristal Chinois (for dim sum)
Mai Xiang Yuan
Olive et Gourmando
Lallouz
Hung Phat
Ba Le
Cafe Saigon
Romados
Petit Alep

Drinks:
Dieu du Ciel
Bar L'Amere a Boire
St Elizabeth Pub
Vices et Versa
Bar Bily Kuhn

Pastries and breads:
Kouign Amann
Olivier Potier
Fairmount
Patisserie Rhubarb
Boulangerie Guillaume
Cerise sur le Gateau

Cafés:
Vasco da Gama
Myriade
Caffe Gamba

Markets:
Jean Talon (good lobster roll place here?)
Atwater

  1. l
    Ljsfoodie Aug 20, 2012 10:26 AM

    where is the feedback? Can't wait!

    1. p
      painperdu Aug 8, 2012 09:08 AM

      Great thread, bookmarking for our short visit next week. And looking forward to the promised report from OP glang.

      1. h
        HamiltonLake Jul 16, 2012 07:15 PM

        I just flew back with bagels in my carry one and nothing happened. I like st. elizabeth. Yes, it's a dingy looking outside but once you see the terrace, you see why people like going there. If you are in the area, just go there for one drink. I think it will be hiighlight of your day. That's my opinion.

        1. i
          ios94 Jul 12, 2012 09:56 AM

          Make sure you grab a chocolate from ChocoMotive while you are in Marché des Saveurs at JTM, you'll find them right in the middle of the store on a table just to your right as you walk in past the cash. You won't regret it.

          1. m
            mangoannie Jul 8, 2012 12:56 PM

            here is a list of some of the award winners, the blue elisabeth was too mild for my taste,. I recently tried a new oka one which I liked. The cheesemonger will give you samples til you find one you like. Goat cheese is popular here and there are some wonderful sheep cheeses to try.
            http://ourcheeses.com/

            4 Replies
            1. re: mangoannie
              g
              glang Jul 8, 2012 01:15 PM

              Thanks mangoannie! I love cheese from all types of milk and will try as many as I can.

              1. re: glang
                Fritzy Jul 8, 2012 08:06 PM

                Be sure to try some Cheve Noire -- a hard aged goat cheese -- at Marche des Saveurs!

                1. re: Fritzy
                  g
                  glang Jul 9, 2012 07:22 PM

                  Hi all,

                  Mr F, I must say, that is evocative. Eeeewwwww. You convinced me to eat the sandwiches immediately, customs or no.

                  Thanks for all the cheese recs - they will be acted upon!

                  1. re: glang
                    c
                    catroast Jul 11, 2012 08:15 PM

                    call me crazy but if you have a few drinks at the wedding and if you want a late night snack, head over to the main - across from schwartz's for smoked meat...it's a montreal tradition and theyre open till 4

            2. q
              quddous Jul 7, 2012 05:06 PM

              My fiancé and her friends just visited Montreal. Their best meal was at Van Horne. They also really liked Olive et Gourmando (trendy cafe).

              Milos is good and a very fine restaurant but it will not be the best meal you've ever had. Just a very very good dinner; great service; great ambiance; well prepared food. If you do decide on Milos, they have a $20 3 course lunch which I think is the most amazing food deal ever.

              Schwartz - get your sandwich to go and save yourself a tiny bit of time (still a 30 min+ wait during lunch time). Get the fattiest cut you can, the fat melts in your mouth.

              Au pied du Cochon is terribly hard to book from what I've read. (actually I was reading an article about the 10 hardest restaurants in the world to get a reservation to and I think this restaurant was an "honorable mention")

              They also loved Kouign Amann. My sister who used to live in Montreal said their croissants were the best she's ever had.

              12 Replies
              1. re: quddous
                g
                glang Jul 7, 2012 05:16 PM

                What's up with the fact that we were able to get a Saturday 7 pm reservation at APDC one week out? I'm getting nervous - there's only one restaurant with that name, right?

                1. re: glang
                  q
                  quddous Jul 7, 2012 07:16 PM

                  Apparently I must have dreamed that APDC was in that list. It may be because I read elsewhere (and also on their own website) that reservations are booked long in advance.

                  I am sure it will be an amazing dinner. Don't be worried.

                  I found the original article I was referring to -
                  http://m.eater.com/archives/2012/01/2...

                  1. re: quddous
                    g
                    glang Jul 7, 2012 08:15 PM

                    Thank you quoddus!

                    1. re: quddous
                      f
                      Fintastic Sep 3, 2013 11:34 AM

                      Perhaps you were thinking of the APDC Sugar Shack? This takes thousands of reservation requests on Dec. 1 and is only open for a couple weeks each year... Very difficult to get a seat.

                  2. re: quddous
                    j
                    j_do Jul 8, 2012 08:07 AM

                    strange how APDC has that reputation. i've gone multiple times and sat at the bar without reservations.. and made reservations 2 weeks in advance without problems. it's definitely not close to being in the top 50 hardest reservations in the world.. compared to places like french laundry, noma, EMP, alinea etc..

                    1. re: j_do
                      g
                      glang Jul 8, 2012 08:24 AM

                      Hi everyone,

                      Just added roaming Atwater market to our Thursday agenda, with stops at Satay Brothers and the cheese purveyors as highlights... can anyone recommend some local cheeses that are really outstanding? I am a cheese expert (not hyperbole, I sold, taught and wrote about cheese for more than a decade) and will be familiar with most imports; but in most areas there's something special that doesn't get far from the source. What should it be in Montreal?

                      1. re: glang
                        m
                        Mr F Jul 8, 2012 09:49 AM

                        Can't comment on Atwater, but at Jean-Talon market you should see a producer of a fine tomme (and I always forget the name of the producer and the cheese, but I'm sure someone will chime in with it). Not 100% sure he's there Fridays, but I believe so.

                        Then, go to nearby Marché des Saveurs, which stocks all things Quebec (meats, wine/cider, beer, preserves, etc.) and has a very good cheese counter. The staff there should be reasonably knowledgeable. I'm not sure how well you'll manage if you don't speak French, but you should at least be able to try before you buy.

                        There are also two large cheese shops at the market (Qui Lait Cru, specializing in raw-milk but not necessarily all-QC cheeses and Hamel, which tries to cover the great cheeses of the world), but to get the best of the locals try Marché des Saveurs and that lone tomme producer first.

                        1. re: Mr F
                          g
                          glang Jul 8, 2012 10:34 AM

                          Mr F, great info, thanks. I can actually stumble along verbally in French, ungrammatically but enough to manage (although I often conflate my inadequate French, Spanish and Italian when I try to just speak one at a time). I understand a lot more than I speak so that works okay too. Will definitely look for tomme producer!

                          1. re: glang
                            s
                            Simon Patrice Jul 8, 2012 07:56 PM

                            The tomme producer Mr F is reffering to is most probably Chèvrerie du Buckland. The tomme itself is called Tomme du maréchal and is indeed very very good. A not to miss stop. Its right next to Mil'herbes, an organic vegetable stall.

                            1. re: Simon Patrice
                              c
                              chinitav Jul 19, 2012 08:27 AM

                              Does Chevrerie du Buckland do only goat cheeses? I think I'm in love...

                        2. re: glang
                          cherylmtl Jul 9, 2012 04:49 PM

                          There are many Quebec cheeses worth trying - if you're going to be at Atwater Market, just go in to Fromagerie Atwater, and they will gladly provide recommendations and tastes. One of my favourites is Alfred le Fermier, but there are so many good ones...

                        3. re: j_do
                          s
                          stak Jul 8, 2012 06:57 PM

                          I wonder if the reservation difficulty is referring to the APDC cabane a sucre??? Sounds like it is much harder to get into than the resto proper

                      2. b
                        berbatov Jul 7, 2012 02:54 PM

                        When you go to the jean talon market take the time to make the five minute walk to Caffe Italia. The coffee is better there than at any of the other places mentioned herein. In my opinion anyway. And it is a Montreal institution.

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: berbatov
                          g
                          glang Jul 7, 2012 03:38 PM

                          Now don't mess me up just when I got all decisive :-D

                          berbatov, I added Caffe Italia for an afternoon espresso on our Jean Talon jaunt...

                          mangoannie, I had wavered over Brasserie T and almost had it on there for lunch on Monday.... then put Imadake on because not sure we will tolerate the wait at Kazu... would you go to Brasserie T instead?

                          There was an error in my schedule to go to Rhubarbe on Monday (they're closed Monday) so I switched it to Sunday and put in Fous Desserts for morning pastry on Monday. Yum.

                          Huge bummer on the Schwartz's sammies, porker! In the US we are allowed to take non-liquid food through security and somehow I keep forgetting the additional restrictions at customs... Maybe we can eat them on the way to the airport...

                          1. re: glang
                            d
                            Daiya Jul 7, 2012 03:46 PM

                            BUT Fous Desserts is closed Sunday and Monday.
                            There are more and more coffee places to choose from, depending on your tastes. (Note: Café Névé and Flocon Espresso are related.)
                            You have done some great investigative work! I will bookmark this thread.

                            1. re: Daiya
                              g
                              glang Jul 7, 2012 04:02 PM

                              Yikes! Turns out he only bakery on our list that's open Monday is Kouign Amman, so I switched that and Cafe Neve to Monday and Fous Desserts to Friday. Whew.

                              Any other alerts?

                              1. re: glang
                                s
                                stak Jul 10, 2012 06:25 PM

                                I thought I had already posted this but can't find it now - apologies if I am repeating myself. I passed Fous Desserts the other day and there was a sign on the door saying they are closed for vacation; I believe it was from June 30 to July 15 inclusive, but since they are closed Sundays and Mondays, I guess they won't be open until the 17th? Be warned in general that many smaller places close for a few weeks of vacation in the summer and they don't necessarily indicate this on their websites...I think there was a thread about vacation closures at one point but I haven't seen it lately.

                                1. re: stak
                                  u
                                  unlaced Jul 10, 2012 07:17 PM

                                  Fous Dessert were open tonight, I noticed as I walked by as they had a large line up for icecream! Was it for July 30 to Aug 15?

                                  1. re: unlaced
                                    s
                                    stak Jul 11, 2012 12:32 AM

                                    Really? Oops, wonder where I messed up. Sorry bout that!

                            2. re: glang
                              SnackHappy Jul 7, 2012 04:22 PM

                              I've only been to Brasserie T once, but I was less than impressed. Feels like they're not trying very hard. I've heard similar opinions from friends.

                              1. re: SnackHappy
                                g
                                glang Jul 7, 2012 04:32 PM

                                Thanks SnackHappy, leaving our plan as-is!

                              2. re: glang
                                s
                                stak Jul 8, 2012 05:13 AM

                                For air travel to the US, you need to think about both security and customs. Security won't allow liquids or gels in your carry-on, but bagels & sandwiches should be OK. However, customs might have a problem with smoked meat being transported over the border, whether it is in your carry-on or checked baggage. I've heard of someone having a smoked-meat sandwich taken away at customs, but when I declared the leftover pizza I had brought to eat on the plane, the customs officer kind of laughed at me & told me to enjoy it :o)

                                1. re: stak
                                  m
                                  Mr F Jul 8, 2012 09:36 AM

                                  ...and what may not be immediately obvious to those who haven't flown from YUL to the US before is that you clear US Customs in Montreal.

                                  Personally, if timing permits I would plan on being at Schwartz's around opening time (still 11 a.m. AFAIK), and eat-in before heading to the airport. It should be no problem to get a seat right at opening time.

                                  The sandwiches are big and can be a little messy. Take-out that travels for more than a few minutes will suffer from soggy bread and quickly slide into "why is this famous?" territory.

                                  1. re: Mr F
                                    cherylmtl Jul 9, 2012 04:47 PM

                                    Smoked meat sandwiches are fine to take into the US, as are bagels (you just can"t use Nexus if you do).

                                    1. re: cherylmtl
                                      porker Jul 9, 2012 05:22 PM

                                      Bringing stuff into the US and getting past airport security are two different things. I'm just saying.

                                      1. re: cherylmtl
                                        m
                                        Mr F Jul 9, 2012 06:38 PM

                                        Just mentioned customs to clarify the previous poster's info.

                                        I'd still eat-in just because the sandwiches will be a soggy mess by the time they get to the airport, let alone all the way to the plane. Mmmmm, semi-congealed brisket fat, disintegrating bread and cold meat.

                                  2. re: glang
                                    porker Jul 8, 2012 06:00 AM

                                    Maybe ask the Chowhound Team to lock this thread down. Suggestions will continue to come in and drive you nuts!
                                    {;-/)

                                  3. re: berbatov
                                    c
                                    catroast Jul 11, 2012 08:12 PM

                                    by the way, at JTM there are seafood stalls with lobster and oysters
                                    you can get a 1 pounder for $10 and split in 2

                                  4. m
                                    mangoannie Jul 7, 2012 01:22 PM

                                    I would consider going to brasserie T (reservations needed, they do have a seafood plate not on menu as seasonal) as not expensive and lots of ambience on square, free outdoor shows and buskers at festival for laughs. They usually have quebec cheese plate, pates at one of kiosks on site. This is Montreal in summer-festival crazy

                                    1. n
                                      nikkori Jul 6, 2012 02:59 PM

                                      Of the places you list, I would deem these essential:
                                      - Lawrence
                                      - Cuisine Szechuan
                                      - Au Pied de Cochon
                                      - Damas
                                      - Romados
                                      - Kouign Amann (strictly for kouign amann, if it's available)
                                      - Jean Talon market

                                      I would add caveats for these:
                                      - 400 Coups
                                      I really don't think this place is special, EXCEPT for dessert - which is out of this world, some of the best I've had anywhere in the world.
                                      - Fairmount bagel
                                      I prefer St Viateur bagel. But really the note is simply that St-V and Fairmount bakeries are a block away from each other, so why not try both? You want to order whatever is hot, straight out of the oven. (Probably sesame.)
                                      - Myriade
                                      If you're coffee nerds, then Myriade is definitely the café that's most similar to coffee nerddom in other cities. But I find that boring. Better to visit Caffe Italia or Café Olimpico for a more authentically Montreal coffee experience - might not have the same bouquet as what you're used to, but it's not just the same old imported beans and style.

                                      I would add to your list, as essential:
                                      - Léméac, for their pain perdu dessert.

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: nikkori
                                        g
                                        glang Jul 7, 2012 12:43 PM

                                        Again with the fantastic replies! CaptCrunch, you went above and beyond - twice!

                                        A word on our Pho neglect: Pho is one of the only Asian dishes that we can get decently made here, so tho it's obvious that Montreal shines in this area I thought we'd go for the stuff we never get.

                                        Here's the plan we ended up with, reservations and all - I hope everyone approves! Thanks to all of you, and again, we WILL report back.

                                        Wednesday
                                        Lunch Romados or Olive et Gourmando no res
                                        Dinner Restaurant Park 8pm res

                                        Thursday
                                        Café Myriade
                                        Pastry Olivier Potier
                                        Lunch Kazu (or Cuisine Szechuan) no res
                                        Dinner Trois Petits Bouchons 8:30pm res

                                        Friday
                                        Café Neve
                                        Pastry Kouign Amann
                                        Lunch Hung Phat banh mi
                                        Market Jean Talon
                                        Dinner Damas 8pm res

                                        Saturday
                                        Café in Gamba
                                        Bread Boulangerie Guillaume
                                        Lunch Ruby Rouge 11am res
                                        Dinner APDC 7pm res at bar

                                        Sunday
                                        Café Olimpico
                                        Bagels Fairmount/St Viateur
                                        Indian dinner at wedding

                                        Monday
                                        Café Flocon
                                        Pastry Patisserie Rhubarbe
                                        Lunch Imadake noon res
                                        Dinner Lallouz 8pm res

                                        Tuesday
                                        Café Myriade
                                        Bagels Fairmount/St Viateur (a dozen to take home!)
                                        Lunch Schwartz takeout sandwiches for flight home

                                        1. re: glang
                                          porker Jul 7, 2012 12:53 PM

                                          I don't think they'll allow the sammies past airport security nor the bagels for carry-on...
                                          but you can pack the bagels into your suitcase.

                                          You *can* get a Lester's smoked meat on the secure side of the gate to bring on the plane. Although not bad (even lousy montreal smoked meat is pretty good), it certainly ain't Schwartz'...

                                          Have fun!

                                          1. re: porker
                                            c
                                            catroast Jul 11, 2012 08:09 PM

                                            lesters is bad and should be avoided. there is absolutely no point in having smoked meat if lesters is your only option.

                                            1. re: catroast
                                              porker Jul 12, 2012 03:05 AM

                                              I'll have to disagree.
                                              I realize Lesters is mass produced, gang-needled, phosphate pumped, artificially smoked and flavored. I realize it pales in comparison to a the joints making their own and I realize its easy to ridicule (I do it myself).
                                              However, if its "your only option", I don't see why "there is absolutely no point". If the whole point is to try smoked meat and if Lesters is the only option, then I think its pretty much the whole point.
                                              I picked up some airport Lesters in the past and it tasted pretty good at 26000 feet when my only options were the likes of cashews, ramen, and celery/carrots.
                                              I'm just sayin.

                                              1. re: porker
                                                c
                                                catroast Jul 12, 2012 04:29 AM

                                                Lesters is nothing like Schwartz's/the Main. It will only be disappointing and the colour/texture of the meat is revolting.

                                                Lesters: http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/285671_10100852045231457_2096957571_n.jpg

                                                Schwartz's: http://www.roadfood.com/photos/7626.jpg

                                                1. re: catroast
                                                  porker Jul 12, 2012 05:24 AM

                                                  I'm not trying to debate the merits of Schwartz vs XXXXXX - you seem to be missing my point.
                                                  In the post above I say "*can* get" which is meant to be a bit of sarcasm. I also hint that Lester's is lousy and I flat out say that it certainly ain't Schwartz's.....so in fact I wholeheartedly agree that Lesters is nothing like Schwartz's.
                                                  Is the color/texture revolting? This is a personal assessment and can vary from person to person. Me? my threshold of revulsion is a bit higher, along the lines of up-close, festering road-kill. The color of the sandwich, indicating over-cure and over-use of nitrites, may hint at...I dunno, mediocrity, or "artificialness", but for me, far from "revolting". Same for the squishy phosphate induced texture.
                                                  If I have the option of a Lesters MSM or trail mix, call me revolting, I take the sangwich.

                                                  1. re: porker
                                                    c
                                                    catroast Jul 12, 2012 06:46 AM

                                                    Lesters' meat looks like Spam.

                                                    Yes, you said this person can get Lesters' at the airport. I suggested not leaving Montreal on such a low and disappointing note that is incomparable to the real deal. If anything, I should be made ambassador of montreal smoked meat.

                                                    1. re: porker
                                                      m
                                                      Mr F Jul 12, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                      A Lester's sandwich may do in a pinch for you (and maybe me), but it's a bad recommendation for a visitor, for reasons you spelled out yourself.

                                              2. re: porker
                                                j
                                                j_do Jul 12, 2012 06:36 AM

                                                i've brought bags of bagels and whole schwartz briskets thru airport security no problem as carry on. I don't think there's any problem with this.

                                              3. re: glang
                                                kpzoo Jul 7, 2012 01:03 PM

                                                I have only one thing to say, and that is....

                                                May I join you? ;-)

                                                Seriously, that sounds amazing - enjoy, and very much looking forward to your report!

                                                1. re: glang
                                                  p
                                                  Plateaumaman Jul 11, 2012 07:07 PM

                                                  I prefer Lallouz at lunch vs. dinner, and I don't think you can reserve (or need to) at Ruby Rouge for dimsum? I've heard Park is meh, but can't confirm myself and I am not sure I'd make a big effort to have chicken at Romados but I realize it is a popular choice. No lunch on Sunday? Cafe Olympico and St-Viateur bagels can be done in the same time slot for sure. APDC is only impossible for reservations for their sugar shack, I think, easy enough for dinners so have no fear there. There's only one in this city. I see a slight lack of dumplings in this itinerary! And maybe a lack of lobster ... did that get solved? If it isn't possible to go and pick some up at Norref and enjoy them someplace as a picnic, it might be worth eating some at Chez Levecque or even in Chinatown, maybe at Beijing?

                                                  1. re: Plateaumaman
                                                    c
                                                    catroast Jul 11, 2012 08:11 PM

                                                    montreal is bad for dumplings

                                                    you can have lobster at APDC

                                                    Romados could be a very good choice if the weather obliges and you dine in one of the many small parks nearby

                                                    1. re: catroast
                                                      p
                                                      Plateaumaman Jul 12, 2012 10:53 AM

                                                      Montreal is good for dumplings at Qing Hua on Lincoln and Mai Xiang Yuan. Lobster at APDC is nice but your idea to get it at JTM is even better and much less expensive.

                                                      1. re: Plateaumaman
                                                        c
                                                        catroast Jul 12, 2012 12:09 PM

                                                        Qing Hua has slipped BIG TIME imo

                                              4. wokhei Jul 6, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                Another thumbs up for Kan Bai- have been here several times with no consistency problems. Standards like Szechuan cabbage and water-boiled fish served in a giant tureen with handfuls of chilis are great, but they've also got some sleepers on the menu- pork belly with pickled mustard greens and a sizzling long-stemmed mushroom dish are faves.

                                                Might also want to consider Piment Rouge for a higher end night of Chinese.

                                                If you're popping into hung phat, you'd be remiss not to try the vegetarian sub with pickled shiitakes and marinatedl tofu (rather than the tofu skin version). Get a meat one as well and compare!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: wokhei
                                                  porker Jul 7, 2012 06:42 AM

                                                  The Szechuan cabbage never ceases to amaze me; you wouldn't think lowly *cabbage* can taste so good. Not only sleepers on the menu, they have a few coma patients as well - Chinese items taped over, but the English translation still in view (no longer available). I would have loved to try their take on pigs foot.....

                                                2. cherylmtl Jul 5, 2012 05:41 PM

                                                  When I walked by Kazu last week, it was closed for vacation. Can't remember when it reopens, but there is a chance it won't be open when the OP is here. Imadake is a worthy alternative, though, and very close by.
                                                  How did Vasco da Gama make the coffee list? It's okay, but not Caffe in Gamba or Myriade by any means. There's also Flocon, Neve, and Pikolo.

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: cherylmtl
                                                    g
                                                    glang Jul 5, 2012 07:13 PM

                                                    This is why I love Chowhound! Wow, all of you! (BTW, I will be returning the favor with a detailed report.)

                                                    A few comments: Vasco da Gama made the list because it's beloved of our friends who are getting married and got a few decent reviews here... but I have no attachment to it... we are both erstwhile coffee professionals and often travel with a hand grinder and an aero press (embarrassing but true), so we will trek to good coffee. Thanks for the additional recs.

                                                    Getting banh mi and wandering through the market sounds dreamy. I'll bet I could eat banh mi AND a lobster roll while walking around!

                                                    I appreciate the dim sum feedback. We would always rather eat at a low-key place than a swish place - my choice was based on what I read about food quality. We are starved for good Chinese food (even tho we have been spoiled in San Francisco and New York, the "pretty good" in most cities is vastly better than the abysmal stuff available here), so I'd like to have at least one dinner and one lunch - or one dinner and two lunches! I confess that I'm with porker on the alcohol license - but if the food quality difference is vast, I'd drink elsewhere before or after. Anybody else wanna vote on dim sum or dinner at Kanbai vs Szechuan, or Ruby Rouge vs Cristal Chinois? Thoughts on Mai Xiang Yuan?

                                                    Re Schwartz/smoked meat, it was on my original, longer (!) list, with many other things. I figured that with Comptoir, APDC and others on there, it might be overkill. Is that wrong-headed? I would eat cured meats and cheese rather than dessert any day...

                                                    1. re: glang
                                                      porker Jul 6, 2012 03:46 AM

                                                      Schwartz is a small deli with a take-out next door (take-out hours are a mystery to me - they seem to close around 5:00-7:00pm, after which you do the picking-up at the deli counter) and IMO isn't worth a dinner but maybe should be re-thought for a lunch, or even a shared picked-up sandwich (ask for medium - not lean) during your walk up The Main (St. Laurent). The deli line gets ridiculous most times, go before noon.

                                                      A coupla more words on Ruby Rouge and Cristal. AFAIK, Cristal dim sum is menu-ordered (no carts). RR is traditional hand-pushed carts. I've seen lotsa discussion on the boards about cart vs. menu dim sum. Me? I like the carts. I like to be shown each item and decide there and then if I'm going to choose it, I like that the woman pushing the cart probably speaks no English and we communicate with hand signals, nods, and headshakes. Maybe Cristal's food is great (as I said, haven't tried), but for me, the experiance at RR trumps any incremental advantage the food *might* have at Cristal. Note that the push-cart women many times brush off westerners and simply say "you no like" instead of showing you some items. Don't be intimidated, just smile and gently insist, "No, I *want* to see what you have. Whats in that one...this one,...and this?"
                                                      They tend not to show chicken feet (tasty: chew, spit out little bones), beef tendon (decadent, unctious), duck claw (see chicken feet above) and any type of offal (from gamey pork tripe to innard stew to braised intestine (tastes like barnyard to me...).

                                                      1. re: glang
                                                        c
                                                        CaptCrunch Jul 6, 2012 08:29 AM

                                                        I had a long answer yesterday but I erased it and didn't have the heart to start again.

                                                        Here is what I'd do (please take it only as an advisory, I am a food enthousiast but no where near the food critic and I do have only a partial view of the situation: there are tons to discover in my own city!)

                                                        Dinner (here's where I'd go if I had to draft a suggestion to myself if I already did not know Montreal, gave you 2 choices in case its hard to book!):

                                                        (Splurge): One of Au Pied de Cochon or Joe Beef. Both are Montreal classics. I'd say Au Pied de Cochon tends to focus more on spruced up Quebec traditional fare where Joe Beef is more influenced by Montreal tradition (with all the cosmopolite influences it brings). Both are huge, noisy, delicious brasseries though so doing one after the other is probably suicide. You probably won't be able to book at Joe Beef...

                                                        (Splurge) Europea or Club Chasse & Pêche. Europea is probably one of the finest and/or inspired fine dining, contemporary, multi service restaurant in Montreal (try their 10 courses tasting menu!). Club Chasse & Pêche is in the same category quality and price wise, but less adventurous (no tasting menu). Club Chasse & Pêche is my favorite restaurant in Montreal but I'd try Europea first.

                                                        400 coups or Lawrence. A bit less known than the big legends, they have gathered a lot of buzz recently and I like to see them as what could be the next generation of our classics. I prefer 400 coups.

                                                        Try Kazu first and if the line is too long, go at Cuisine Szechuan (they are very near one another... metro Guy Concordia)

                                                        Brasserie T or F Bar: I thought you might want to end at a bit less expensive place. Brasserie T is the Brasserie version of Toque, one of the original destination restaurant (it had a lot of influence on the Montreal scene). F Bar is the "other option" of Café Feirrera, a well known Portuguese place. Both are near one another and are "less expensive" version of their original cousins. I'd try Brasserie T first.

                                                        Lunch:

                                                        For lunch, I'd divide it in Themes:

                                                        Dim Sum: I prefer Ruby Rouge, but that is only my opinion. Don't know Cristal that much. If Ruby Rouge is closed/destroyed by a meteorite, try Maison Kam Fung for a similar experience but having tried both I prefer Ruby.

                                                        Poutine: Patati Patata or La Banquise. La banquise is still the one I prefer but there are a lot of good options.

                                                        Smoked meat: Schwartz or Le Main in front. I prefer Schwartz

                                                        Portuguese Chicken: Ramados or Chez Jano (is it open for lunch)? Try Ramados first, I really like chez Janot.

                                                        Pho: We have a good Vietnamese community here and pho is pretty popular. I like Pho Nguyen on Saint-Mathieu best but Pho Bang New York gets good reviews too.

                                                        Another option: Dumplings! We have 2 good dumpling places, one that does good standard fare (La Maison du Nord) and one that does them with a bit of bouillon in it (they call it "soup dumplings"): Qing Hua. I prefer Qing Hua myself.

                                                        Drinks: I prefer to go to St.Elizabeth for the terrasse, St-Bock if you want a large variation of beer or Cheval Blanc if you want a micro-brewery. If you feel like drinks La Drinkerie is a classic. Its always full but it still is. I really like Pullman's if you want a Wine Bar experience.

                                                        Pastries: You have to try Fairmount Bagel or St.Viateur for Bagels.Rhubard is very nice but not a destination bakery IMO. Kouaig Aman is one of my favorite deserts and is really worth it. You'll find good options around Marché Atwater and/or Marché Jean-Talon too!

                                                        Coffee: I don't have an aeropress or hand grinders but I do have a few friends who do and obsess over the quality and texture of expresso crema and get insane when they here about their favorite coffee beans getting served at an expresso bar (OMG, they have RITUAL!). :) These guys talk a lot about those 2 places: Cafe Myriade & Café Névé. I also heard good things about the picolo. I tried café Névé expresso (Myriade is always closed when I'm in the neiboughhood for some reason) and it knocked my socks off.

                                                        Market: Jean-Talon & Atwater: If you only have the time for one try Jean-Talon but I'd try both if I were you!

                                                        1. re: CaptCrunch
                                                          m
                                                          Mr F Jul 6, 2012 11:04 AM

                                                          I admit I haven't tried Ruby Rouge in a while, because the room is so cavernous that I always found it hard to get a table close enough to the kitchen. And the only obvious benefit over Kam Fung was greater variety... but that's not much help if every cart you see left the kitchen 20 minutes ago.

                                                          So, has RR really stepped up its game?

                                                          1. re: Mr F
                                                            c
                                                            CaptCrunch Jul 6, 2012 11:48 AM

                                                            Each time I went it was good! I'm not a strict Dim Sum fanatic (I won't be comparing each place's Har Gow to debate which is the best) but we tried Kam Fung after Ruby Rouge and to us it didn't taste as good. It wasn't a question of freshness, more of palate.

                                                            To be honest with you I have put that debate in the same place where Coke vs Pepsi goes, where is the best poutine or which Pho is better. Kam Fung might have been a bit... prettier? but both felt authentic and I never caught something obviously off at RR. Of course there is a lot of eating stuff you don't know and some you will like better than others (yay for sticky rice in banana leaf!) but over all I had more food I liked at the end of the Ruby Rouge meal than Kam Fung.

                                                            1. re: CaptCrunch
                                                              p
                                                              Plateaumaman Jul 11, 2012 06:55 PM

                                                              I have to say I find the ease of Ruby Rouge attractive, as there's usually a lot of space, shorter lineup, but the dim sum at Maison Kam Fung is a little more refined and some of the items, like bbq pork crepe/pies, don't seem to ever show up at Ruby Rouge. Plus if you are late at Ruby Rouge you can end up with just so many beef balls. So for someone starved for good Chinese food I'd recommend Maison Kam Fung first, Ruby Rouge second. And I have eaten dim sum regularly in Toronto's old Chinatown and find the quality in Montreal to be equal or better, for what that's worth. And I'd definitely go to Cuisine Szechuan, that's an entirely different sort of meal.

                                                              1. re: Plateaumaman
                                                                c
                                                                chinitav Jul 19, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                I just looked at Ruby R's website - they open daily at 8:30 a.m., which seems to indicate they do dim sum every day? I know the weekend is traditional for dim sum, but we just won't be there on Sat. or Sun. morning...

                                                                1. re: chinitav
                                                                  m
                                                                  Mr F Jul 19, 2012 10:20 AM

                                                                  Yes, they serve dim sum daily. Ditto for Kam Fung. Probably the fancy new place too (Cristal).

                                                          2. re: CaptCrunch
                                                            cherylmtl Jul 6, 2012 02:46 PM

                                                            Joe Beef is huge? Since when? Even with the expansion, it's still pretty small. And with just over one week's notice, during peak tourist season, odds are the OP won't get in to either Joe Beef or APDC. But they could probably get in to Chien Fumant or Tuck Shop.

                                                          3. re: glang
                                                            m
                                                            Mr F Jul 6, 2012 10:55 AM

                                                            You may not be able to get a decent lobster roll, but right now the place with the pan-fried scallops, halibut and cod also has little cups of northern shrimp -- a type that would be perfect in a roll, and they did indeed used to sell them. But now it's just the little cups, w/ cocktail sauce on the side. Could be another interesting option if they're still in season during your visit.

                                                          4. re: cherylmtl
                                                            c
                                                            causeimhungry Jul 6, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                            Kazu is closed until July 10th. OP is arriving on the 11th so no conflicts.

                                                          5. mainsqueeze Jul 5, 2012 07:15 AM

                                                            FYI I believe Ba Le is now closed, so you can eliminate that one.

                                                            I had a really nice simple brunch at Rhubarbe the other day, so I would consider going there on the weekend if you're interested in walking around the plateau. Their pastries are phenomenal.

                                                            1. m
                                                              Maximilien Jul 5, 2012 04:00 AM

                                                              All good places.

                                                              What are you looking for exactly ? because you list a lot of different places, in style and substance.

                                                              I'd pair :
                                                              Lawrence or Le Comptoir with ice cream at Kem Coba (or beer at Dieu du Ciel Before)
                                                              Café Italia with Jean-Talon Market (There's a fish store that sells lobster roll, (south-east corner)
                                                              Damas and Coffee (after) at Gamba (you'll have to check the hours) or even ice cream at Kem Coba.

                                                              Various Note:
                                                              Kazu is fun, but be prepared for line-ups (I hate them).
                                                              Park is somewhat outside of downtown (not far),
                                                              Milos is expensive (just sayin')

                                                              That said: This would be my list :
                                                              Dinner :
                                                              400 Coups.
                                                              Trois Petits Bouchons
                                                              Comptoir (sunday)
                                                              Le Chien Fumant (or La Salle A Manger)
                                                              Damas (for some ethnic food)

                                                              Lunch:
                                                              Club Chasse et Pêche (outside terrasse)
                                                              Guillaume+Café Italia+Marché Jean-Talon
                                                              One of the Chinese (I'm no expert)
                                                              The Porchetta and/or Lobster stands in Old-Montreal. (MuvBox)
                                                              Grumman 78 (at faubourg st-catherine) if the lineup at Kazu is too ling.

                                                              21 Replies
                                                              1. re: Maximilien
                                                                i
                                                                ios94 Jul 5, 2012 05:09 AM

                                                                Skip the lobster rolls at JTM they are not very good, I had one a few weeks ago and it was quite watery. I believe it is the SW corner actually. There are much better options for a quick bite at JTM, I'd recommend the fish stand at Atkins who pan fries fresh cod, halibut and scallops (I believe they only cook it on sat & sun).

                                                                1. re: ios94
                                                                  g
                                                                  glang Jul 5, 2012 06:07 AM

                                                                  Thanks Maximilien and ios92!

                                                                  Yes, the list is all over the place (because we like everything!). What we were hoping was to choose the best examples of a few things - for dinner, a couple of French with different styles, something Asian, other ethnic foods that we can't get at home, and hopefully some fresh well-prepared seafood mixed in there.

                                                                  For lunch we wanted to choose a highly recommended place for banh mi, get good dim sum, dumplings and/or noodles if available, and again try some ethnic foods we don't have access to. I love lobster rolls and haven't had one since I lived in Maine many years ago, but it's not a make or break issue.

                                                                  We also have to find good choices for Sunday and Monday, when a lot of things are closed, and I haven't made reservations yet so am not sure if I have things listed that are out of the question this close to the trip.

                                                                  I should have clarified that coffee and pastry are generally a morning thing for us. My husband will be all over the ice cream; but I'd always skip dessert and fill up on savory food!

                                                                  PS We're not averse to eating at odd hours to avoid lines, if that helps...

                                                                  1. re: glang
                                                                    porker Jul 5, 2012 07:15 AM

                                                                    Le Crystal Chinois is new, in the Swatow building. We rode the elevator up to check it out a coupla months ago, the place is swish
                                                                    http://www.lecristalchinois.com/index...
                                                                    banquet style chairs, slick staff, menu-driven dim sum, etc etc. It wasn't our idea of dim sum (family style, casual place) so we hopped back on the elevator. I'm not saying don't try it, I'm just saying it wasn't our style. I like Ruby Rouge at 1008 Clark in Chinatown. Its a huge, noisy room with carts as well as a go-to table for some selected dishes.
                                                                    Regardless of where, I'd recommend Sunday lunch for dim sum. Although a coupla places advertise dim sum 7 days a week, Sunday is the best time for this. Dim sum is also a contentious subject on this board with lotsa people saying Montreal is weak. This may or may not be the case (we're not in Vancouver or Hing Kong...), but I think you'll enjoy yourselves.
                                                                    I'd suggest arriving around 11:00. The crowds haven't been huge of late, but its better being safe than waiting in line.

                                                                    Cuisine Szechuan and Kan Bai - somewhat similar food (Szechuan), so it should be at least one or the other, perhaps not both. The two restaurants have their following, although its said Kan Bai can be un-even. Personally, I like Kan Bai (having a full liquor license helps).

                                                                    As Maximilien points out Kazu is certainly fun, especially sitting at the bar. However, theres always a line (as you probably know) and we've been having some hot weather these days. I spent one hot afternoon at the Kazu bar and won't do it again - the sweat pouring off my body was unpleasant. As The Snowpea mentions on another thread, "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)" its a few blocks west of Kazu @ 4006 Sainte-Catherine Street West.
                                                                    I tried to get into this place a coupla times, but it was full - reservations recommended.

                                                                    I'm surprised you don't have Schwartz on your list for iconic Montreal Smoked Meat. I don't want to throw gas on your heavy itenerary, but it might be considered for a lunch. In fact, I'd suggest a walk through the Plateau on St. Laurent starting from Sherbrooke upwards to about Rachel or Mont-Royal - theres plenty of chowish places to stop in for snacks and/or a cold drink.

                                                                    1. re: porker
                                                                      c
                                                                      CaptCrunch Jul 5, 2012 02:06 PM

                                                                      I agree for the Dim Sum. I always found myself going to Ruby Rouge although I understand there might be better elsewhere.

                                                                  2. re: ios94
                                                                    m
                                                                    Mr F Jul 5, 2012 06:58 AM

                                                                    No, I've definitely seen the fried fish and scallops on weekdays. It's very good, though pretty pricy (especially the scallops).

                                                                    Not to be confused with the deep-fried offerings at Aqua Mare a short distance away. That makes an OK lunch or snack if you're in the mood for it, but it's not in the same league as Atkins/Délices de la mer.

                                                                    As for the OP's list, I would try to fit in Lawrence, would choose Cuisine Szechuan as my Chinese pick, be glad to try Cristal Chinois if dim sum is an essential item (haven't been yet, but would expect high quality and prices to match), would probably forget about seafood this trip (except at dim sum), and leave much of the rest to chance (pick spots off my list depending on where my other activities take me, and whether walk-ins are possible when I happen to be around).

                                                                    Notes on a couple of places:

                                                                    Hung Phat: I eat their sandwiches regularly and they're terrific, but unless you're a total banh mi freak I wouldn't make a detour. Drop in on the way to or from Jean-Talon Market (there's an entrance to the Jean-Talon metro station around the corner), but otherwise be aware that this is a hole-in-the-wall lunch counter/grocery store. Closed Tuesdays.

                                                                    Fairmount: many visitors are surprised and disappointed to find that this and the flagship St-Viateur location are strictly bakeries, with no seating. If you want fresh bagels and a place to sit, have a coffee, etc., choose one of the two St-Viateur cafés (most likely the one on Mont-Royal in your case), or be prepared to take your purchase either to a park or a nearby café that won't mind your outside food. Also, if your goal is to try authentic Montreal bagels, please skip the cinnamon/raisin/whatever variations. The real deal is sesame, poppy or plain. Sesame being by far the most popular, it's your best bet for getting oven-fresh bagels.

                                                                    Le Comptoir: I like it, but rumblings about service issues are not uncommon, and experienced this first-hand when our 15-minute wait to be seated for an 8 p.m. reservation (acceptable but just barely) cascaded into another party leaving in a huff after waiting almost an hour for their 9 p.m. reservation -- due in large part to the rather leisurely service we received. Don't know for sure that this is a chronic problem, but worth a mention I think.

                                                                    Le Ste-Elizabeth: how on earth did this place make your list?

                                                                    Rhubarbe: haven't visited the bakery but have sampled some of the pastries -- superb, really a cut above anything else I've had in Montreal.

                                                                    Vices et Versa: I like this place, but a former regular tells me it's just too crowded all the time.

                                                                    Au Pied de Cochon: this may actually be your best bet for seafood right now. Be warned that virtually every dish here is an exercise in excess, so if you go, two pieces of advice: eat a light lunch that day, and avoid ordering an appetizer/main/dessert for each person. How many times have we read reports of people over-ordering, being full after appetizers, feeling almost assaulted by abundance, etc.? Too many to count.

                                                                    1. re: Mr F
                                                                      g
                                                                      glang Jul 5, 2012 07:17 AM

                                                                      Mr F, thanks for the thoughtful details. A few notes:

                                                                      If the banh mi are top notch, it's a treat we can't often get - hole-in-the-wall not a problem if the food's terrific.

                                                                      Bagels - we never eat anything but plain, poppy or sesame :-)

                                                                      Ste Elizabeth was mentioned in a couple of threads as a nice place for drinks - but I take it we should strike it from our list.

                                                                      1. re: glang
                                                                        m
                                                                        Mr F Jul 5, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                        Yes, the banh mi are very, very good. I particularly like the grilled beef, which is not listed on the big board over the sandwich-prep area, but on a smaller card placed on the counter. Still, I think this is definitely one to pair with a visit to Jean-Talon Market. You will probably also want to browse the Asian supermarket next door (Marché Oriental), but avoid the sandwiches there.

                                                                        The only reason I could see for going to the Ste-Elizabeth would be that you're already in the area for some other reason and you want to stop somewhere for a drink. But I would not go out of my way. The patio is nice, but not *that* nice, and the drink offerings are completely routine, with downtown prices to boot.

                                                                        1. re: Mr F
                                                                          c
                                                                          CaptCrunch Jul 5, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                          I believe the St.Elizabeth was my recommendation. For my money its the nicest "terrasse" (patio? beergarden? what's the english word?) in Montreal and it is in a central location (Berri-UQAM). It is a student bar and is always full but its a very nice place to take a pint of beer and would stand by it any day of the week.

                                                                          The beer selection is standard. Its not a microbrewery. There are better places to get a wide selection of beer (St-Bock comes to mind for selection, and Cheval Blanc is my favorite microbrewery)

                                                                          Here are some pictures I found. Remember that the walls are very high so its hard to reproduce the atmosphere.
                                                                          http://montreal-a-gogo.blogspot.ca/20...

                                                                          1. re: Mr F
                                                                            a
                                                                            ahnuld Jul 7, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                                            3.75 for a pint of stella weekdays during 4-8 isnt downtown prices. the rest is true.

                                                                            1. re: Mr F
                                                                              l
                                                                              lagatta Sep 3, 2013 03:35 PM

                                                                              Do you prefer Hung Phat's Banh Mi to the ones at Hoang Oanh, at 7178 St-Denis?

                                                                            2. re: glang
                                                                              SnackHappy Jul 5, 2012 07:32 AM

                                                                              St-Elisabeth has a lovely interior courtyard, but it's a student bar in a not so pretty part of downtown. It's good for a beer if you're in the area, but it's no destination.

                                                                              1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                c
                                                                                CaptCrunch Jul 5, 2012 02:03 PM

                                                                                Sorry SnackHappy but its not in a "not so pretty part of downtown", its straight, smack dab downtown. :)

                                                                                1. re: CaptCrunch
                                                                                  SnackHappy Jul 5, 2012 08:10 PM

                                                                                  Well, if you think Sainte-Catherine between Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis is pretty, we must not share the same sense of aesthetics.

                                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                    c
                                                                                    CaptCrunch Jul 6, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                                                    Not everything urban is made to be pretty. Its not Westmount but its not ghetto either. Its downtown!

                                                                                    1. re: CaptCrunch
                                                                                      SnackHappy Jul 6, 2012 08:04 AM

                                                                                      So are you arguing geography or aesthetics? Downtown is bigger than Sainte-Catherine between Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis. Downtown goes from Atwater to Papineau and from Saint-Antoine to Sherbrooke. So yes, it is indeed a "part" of Downtown, and some parts of downtown are less attractive than others.

                                                                              2. re: glang
                                                                                mainsqueeze Jul 5, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                                I would also strike La mère à boire. In my opinion the atmosphere is lacking, the food is mediocre, and the beer selection is better elsewhere.

                                                                                1. re: glang
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  marblebag Jul 5, 2012 09:18 AM

                                                                                  If you are going to Hung Phat for the banh mi then consider grabbing them first and eat as you stroll through Jean Talon market. Also nearby is Dakao, my favorite pho joint (tonkinese soup).

                                                                                  For top Vietnamese there's Phuong Thao on Belanger St (far far away) and Baguettes d'Asie on Decarie near Cote-Vertu metro.

                                                                                2. re: Mr F
                                                                                  SnackHappy Jul 5, 2012 07:19 AM

                                                                                  Are your friends saying this after Vices & Versa doubled the size of their room, or is this from before the expansion?

                                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                    m
                                                                                    Mr F Jul 5, 2012 07:22 AM

                                                                                    I was told that about three days ago. Take it with a grain of salt, since I'm not reporting it first hand.

                                                                                  2. re: Mr F
                                                                                    porker Jul 5, 2012 10:53 AM

                                                                                    Its been awhile, but I assume its the same today? I walked into APDC a couple of summers ago to see an awesome seafood display. I was STOKED, but my anticipation quickly soured: they only offered the seafood cold, explaining "its the best way to enjoy it." I can understand their philosophy, but I don't really care for cold shrimp, crab, etc, could they serve it warm? No, they refused, the only exception being the lobster.

                                                                                    For seafood, I'd suggest Milos, arguably the best in the city. But as Max points out, it IS expensive - maybe consider it a splurge.

                                                                                    1. re: porker
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      Maximilien Jul 5, 2012 12:57 PM

                                                                                      Well, "Plateaux de Fruits de Mer" are always served cold on ice; even the lobster.

                                                                                      We're not talking about a clab bake or similar "bake".

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