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Montreal and Tremblant help

I'm in the process of planning a ski trip and want to spend one night in Montreal. I was planning to fly up on a Saturday, pick up a rental car and spend Saturday night in Montreal before driving to Tremblant. We have two kids (5 and 8), and need rec's on where to stay and eat. Casual French with great food would be ideal, and preferably walking distance from a reasonably priced hotel. Also any Tremblant info would be appreciated.

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  1. We are also interested in a hotel with a good restaurant. Entertaining the idea of leaving the kids in the room for dinner

    1. For Tremblant : Do a Forum Search (at the top right of the page)

      For Montreal restaurants (with kids): some suggestiosn (not all walkable distance from a downtown hotel, ... )

      Laurier BBQ
      Lemeac (borderline high-end )
      Magpie (pizza)
      La Salle à Manger
      Brasserie T (french bistro/brasserie )


      1. I think you aren't getting a lot of replies because this is actually a rather difficult question to answer. Places in Montreal that I might recommend for casual French (400 Coups, Cinquieme Peche, 3 Petits Bouchons, Quartier General, Laloux, etc) are not the places I'd normally recommend when dining with kids. Not to say that kids wouldn't be welcome (especially when dining early), but these maybe aren't the best options. Also, few hotel restaurants are worth visiting, and the exceptions are mostly upscale dining in expensive hotels (i.e. Maison Boulud at the Ritz, Laurie Raphael at le Germain, XO at Hotel St. James).
        WIth kids, Max may be right with Brasserie T or Lemeac (maybe even L'Express). Each serves simple food, but they suit yours needs.

        1. Here are a few French restaurants that should be OK for your kids, that are relatively close to where all the hotels are: Beaver Hall, Café Méliès, Holder, Le Pois Penché.

          Give Beaver Hall a shot. It serves great brasserie/bistro fare and is owned by the Europea group (they know what they're doing). It also has nice banquettes for smaller families like yours. You won't regret it.

          8 Replies
          1. re: 514eats

            I second most of these. Holder particularly.

            1. re: 514eats

              Thanks for the rec's. Anyone familiar with Hotel de L'institut or Fairmont Queen Elizabeth? Also, There's not a whole lot on Tremblant (and certainly very little love), yet the resort is routinely touted by ski magazines for it's food. Am I misssing something? A few restaurants look interesting (au Truffes, Avalanche, Savoie, la Forge, Smoke's Poutine), if overpriced. Do I really need to travel for a good meal?

              1. re: veganhater

                Hotel de L'Institute is actually one I considered mentioning. It is a tourism school training hotel, but is supposed to be an excellent value. They also have a good restaurant on the ground floor which is made rather affordable due to the student employees. Its not the very best food in the city, but its still good and certainly fits your requirements.

                1. re: Fintastic

                  I've been to Avalanche and La Forge both of which are acceptable but not particularly special. Smoke's is a poutine chain from Ontario and it is only ok too. Most insulting is that businesses at Tremblant charge an additional 3% sales tax

                  1. re: catroast

                    Huh ? What additional sales tax ? something other than the GST and the QST ?

                    1. re: Maximilien

                      They charge a 3% royalty on goods and services allegedly to fund free concerts in the village. It's pretty disgusting if you ask me.

                      1. re: catroast

                        "Please note that a 3 % royalty determined by the Tremblant Resort Association is applicable to accommodations and 3% of the listed or advertised price of the goods and services offered a the Resort of Tremblant. This notice is presented to you in accordance with the Regulations of the Consumer Protection Act (Articles 91.6 and 91.7).

                        The royalty allows the Tremblant Resort Association, a non-profit organization, to ensure that guests enjoy a unique and truly memorable experience by offering quality entertainment, events and shows, the majority being free, as well as world-class services and facilities. The royalty concept is widespread throughout our industry in North America and it contributes to a resort's success."

                2. re: veganhater

                  The resort area (the hill) has nothing chow worthy. Theres plenty of restos, but their cookie-cutter style and prices don't exactly make for good recs.
                  Just FYI, last time I was there (a few nights during Blues festival) nobody was doing bacon/egg style breakfast on the hill (plenty of crepe places, though).

              2. Tremblant on the hill has little to nothing but mediocrity and convenience. For apres ski drinks and apps La Forge/Avalanche as good as any. For evening dining head into town(old St Jovite 10minutes by car). Seb is one of our favourites and Cheval de Jade also does a good job for upscale fine dining . For typical roadhouse Quebec food and kid friendly Moe's is always fun(chain) but they do a good job on everything.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dst

                  Although expensive (which, on the hill, goes without saying) Yaoooo Pizza makes a good, late-night pie.

                  In st. Jovite, I heard good things about Amerika
                  but haven't tried myself
                  (note the English part of the site does not work).

                2. In Tremblant (old village) I have enjoyed simple veal/pasta at Ital Deli.

                  Family friendly, not too $$. Clean retaurant (kitchen galley is in the entrance). Good simple, quality red sauce Italian.



                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mattlane

                    sEb in tremblant is really good french food. montreal gazette food critic wrote it up couple of years back and speficially mentioned how they went out of their way to accommodate her kids

                    1. re: ahnuld

                      Isn't it more Spanish-influenced than French? It is definitely good, though.

                  2. Since I'm bad about forgetting little details, I'll recap each day of our trip. Let's start on Friday. Went on to US air's website to print out boarding passed for our two kids. I had mistakenly read they simply needed a birth certificate if under 16. Missed the part that read "if traveling by land or sea". After spending four hours on the phone in complete vain, we realized there was no way to get a passport or get the kids on the plane. Tried to cancel everything, but it was too late. Cancelled our flights for credit (minus $150 each) and booked new flights to Burlington. Down 600 bucks (US air completely sucked and was going to charge us $650 pp after the credit). New flights booked through delta were $425, $100 dollars more than our original flights. Down another 400 bucks. Booked a new car for an extra day so we could drive from Burlington to Montreal. Down 60 bucks plus gas. Re-booked our hotel in Montreal after canceling. Down 50 bucks due to a higher rate. All this so we could wake up at 5 in the morning and get to spend some time in Montreal before driving to Tremblant.

                    Somehow we make our flights and get to Burlington Saturday at 1:00. Pick up rental car and bags at 1:30 and kids are starving. Quick search takes us to Penny Cluse Cafe, and finally things start looking up. Breakfast/Lunch place that has a cool drink program and fun brunch menu. Grilled pollack fish tacos, chile rellenos, homemade sausage, baked mac and cheese, grilled cornbread and broccoli melt sandwich make for a satisfying lunch. Problem is, I reserved apdc at 5 and there's no way we are making it in time. We call in hopes of a later table, but the earliest is 9:30 and that does not work with young kids. After hours and hours of research on where to eat our one dinner in Montreal, I'm left scrambling for a replacement. My top ten picks after apdc are booked until too late for kids. With a gun to my head (held by my wife), I'm forced to get us a reservation somewhere decent.

                    We ended up at Chez Chose, and it turned out great. Service is not exactly fast or polished, but the warmth and enthusiasm more than makes up for it. Mr. Martin is truly one of the best hosts I've had the pleasure of dining with. Our kids were entertained as much as we were with the energy he put into describing the blackboard menu. Made kid cocktails for both and did a good job with wine as well (for us, not kids). Highlights included salt cured Quebec beef with golden beets, trio of porcelet, local lamb (cooked to order, but from leg), local duck, chocolate trio and one of the best dishes I've had in recent memory - Foie gras torchon with endive tart tatin and whole candied pecans. An amazing study in textural contrast and sweet vs. savory. meal ended with delicious, if oddly shaped, caramels. Highly enjoyable meal.

                    Half day in Montreal tomorrow and then on to Tremblant. I'll report back over the next few days and promise no more diatribes on travel mishaps.

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: veganhater

                      Your diatribes on travel mishaps was half the fun! I thought that kind of shit only happened to me, hehe.
                      At least the weather didn't conspire - it was 40 below with the wind chill a coupla weeks ago.

                      1. re: porker

                        It was a Clark griswald start to vacation. On Sunday I made the trek to fairmount for bagels after hearing from a friend how superior the best montreal bagels are to ny bagels. I didn't believe him (or at least didn't want to believe him), but he was way right. Ordered a poppy, sesame, everything and raisin(kids) with cream cheese and salmon on the side. The sesame was the best bagel I've ever had. Ended up eating the salmon separately because the bagel was so good. After a metro ride to the wrong station, the subsequent cab ride, a cab ride back to try and keep them warm and the food, I paid $35 for four bagels (and was happy to).

                        I spent two hours at the biodome(super cool) trying to convince my kids we should have lunch at Schwartz's. I finally gave in, even though I have a mild obsession with katz's ( I have almost missed flights trying to grab som pastrami on the way out of town, back when you could bring food on a flight). Instead we ended up at l'Express. Even though I've read some mixed reviews, I was very excited to get a reservation. Very simply, lunch was great. Classic bistro fare prepared well. We started with duck rillette and sorrel soup, both tasty. For mains we had hangar steak frites with hotel butter (tasty steak, great fries and mayo), pot au feu ( beef and chicken cooked nicely, great broth, vegetables all cooked to the right texture and loved the marrow bone), steak tartare (great texture, seasoned where it had awesome flavor but didn't overpower the beef. Wouldn't let us take the rest to go, my only quibble), and calves liver (cooked to a perfect med rare with nice crust. Very simple, but a study in top notch ingredients, butchering and execution). Desserts were creme caramel with candied orange zest and floating island, both spot on. Service was excellent. If your in the mood for classic bistro fare, I can't imagine being anything but satisfied.

                        After a fairly smooth transition from montreal to our condo in tremblant, we went ice skating and were in the mood for something warming and decided on fondue at savoie in the village. We walked there from the skating pond, and along the way convinced myself the convenience was worth the extra money our meal would cost. Ordered filet with broth and classic cheese. Green salad came out family style and was dressed in a tasty vinaigrette. Good start. Roasted potatoes and rice were served ayce. Potatoes were wonderful, rice tasted like something you'd get at Applebee's. the filet itself was ok, a little chewy and clearly not a high grade, but the sauces were very good. The cheese was served with chunks of bread and baby potatoes. This scored a thumbs up. In hindsight, we should have stuck with cheese and added vegetables. Kids got choc fondue for dessert and housed it. They also loved the interactive nature of a fondue meal. Yes it's overpriced, but if you accept that as part and parcel of eating at a resort, it was a decent meal. One caveat: the place smells like raclette. Service again was very good, which seems to becoming a trend on our trip.

                        1. re: veganhater

                          Edit the last sentence on previous post to "which seems to be a trend on our trip." Kids were rushing (harassing) me.

                          1. re: veganhater

                            Tremblant day 2.

                            After spending $150 at the metro in st. Jovite on supplies, it looks like the only thing that we will eat from our shopping is lucky charms and milk. Slightly misled by the promise of ski in/ski out, so lunch and snacks (and breaks from the extreme cold) have been spent at slopeside options. We have spent a fortune on mediocre hot chocolate, as every run has been followed by a break from the extreme cold. One highlight has been fluid juice bar. Great fresh juices and smoothies with healthy and tasty packaged snacks. Recommended.

                            Lunch on Monday was spent at la forge because one of our children was in tears from the cold and it was the closest option. Slightly better than the American version of the same slopeside casual restaurant, but not what I had in mind (wanted to go to the creperie). I had a decent poutine and an underdressed Caesar salad. Nothing memorable nothing terrible. Typically overpriced, but convenient. For what it's worth, they have a higher end restaurant upstairs which has a steakhouse menu and very good wine list (spectator best of award of excellence), but we did not get there. A bit pricey for CAB steaks, but not as far off as most of the village from the norm. Our server at lunch, by the way, was very good. This continues the trend.

                            We tried to eat some of the cheese and pâté I bought at the store before dinner out of principle and it filled us up a bit. We decided to do something lighter and ended up picking sushi. If we were not with kids, we would have driven 10 minutes from the village. With kids and their protesting, we walked to yamada. They seemed a bit understaffed when we walked in (we waited for a table for a little bit and it looked like they had two servers who were both in the weeds running the dining room and bar), but when we were sat things smoothed out nicely. Two new servers appeared to show up as if they were on call in case it got busy. We ordered some nigiri (average fish that tasted good, above average rice),a couple rolls (limited selection but the b52 was pretty good. Rice krispies in the mix in a good way), edamame, miso soup, braised bok choy (very good), and veg tempura (good sauce, mediocre tempura crust but tasty enough). Service was very friendly and the tab for our food and a $40 bottle of wine was a reasonable $130, inclusive outside of tip. Not a bad deal, plus a nice dining room.

                            1. re: veganhater

                              Thanks for taking the time to recap your adventures! I've enjoyed reading them. Um...second last sentence, though..."inclusive outside of tip." That got me a bit confused, ha ha!!!

                              1. re: foodinspace

                                Yeah, should have said before tip. Included the myriad of taxes added on to the bill. It was late.

                                Tuesday we decided to to have pizza for lunch after a faceook friend told us we had to try yaooo pizza. We walked in and were the only table there for our entire lunch, which was nice with young children. Ordered onion soup, bruschetta with cheese, two cheese slices for kids and a small pie with fresh tomato and garlic. The onion soup tasted like those french's onion crisps and appeared to be pre-fab. Not my cup of tea. The rest of the food was ok. Pizza was better than frozen or Dominos, but not memorable. I actually liked the bruschetta better, which should tell you something about the crust. Seriously wished we had gone to the creperie.

                                After tubing, we walked directly to the microbrewery La Diable for dinner. The menu is what you'd expect at a brewery, with nachos, wings, burgers, ribs, etc. We tried for beers which were all pretty tasty and ordered basic stuff. Food turned out to be pretty good. I tried another onion soup after getting burned at lunch, and this one was delicious. One child ordered nachos and they were pretty good, although jarred salsa was served, along with sour cream, in little plastic cups on the side. Other child got vegetable soup and chicken wings. The soup was tasty (both soup portions were huge, so keep that in mind when ordering. we ordered way too much food.), but the waiter mistakenly heard chicken nuggets and brought animal shaped nuggets with fries to the table. The server was great outside of that, so we kept the nuggets and enjoyed the tasty fries that they were served with. We also ordered a very tasty and properly pink burger and a sausage plate. The sausages were the best thing we ordered. German Oktoberfest and smoked Swiss with cheese were both delicious and served over a nice bed of kraut with a small salad. Huge portion I would have had trouble finishing if we had ordered nothing else. I'd definitely go back for onion soup, sausages, burgers and beer. Reasonable by Tremblant standards.

                                Hating the fact that we had to leave, I needed something to look forward to on the ride to Burlington. Made sure we were heading throught Montreal at lunchtime and stopped by Scwartz's for a quick lunch. We ordered a smoked meat sandwich (fatty), Combo (medium fat, mr steak), fries, full sour pickle and slaw. Everything was delicious, but the meat was out of this world. I'd have to have Katz's side by side to declare a winner, but then again who really cares? Both are completely delicious. I guess you could catch them on a slightly off day, but I can't imagine not loving this place for what it is. I would not trust a negative review of their smoked meat, as it is clearly one of the best in the world in it's class.

                                All in all it was a great trip. Everything we ate in Montreal was great. I am already looking forward to our next trip, as the food scene appears to be right up my alley. As far as Tremblant goes, the resort and skiing are as good as it gets on the east coast. You can eat good food and not break the bank, but it requires some planning if staying in the village. I was a bit disappointed we didn't get to St. Jovite (especially after hours of researching the restaurants), but younger children won out over my stomach. We stayed at l'Altitude and loved the room. Reasonable for what you get, with nice added touches (heated bathroom floor, huge deck overlooking the lake, big ceramic kitchen sink, heated parking garage underneath with elevator access directly into our condo). Looking forward to our next trip already. I think I'll book a little later when the temps ease up a bit and sugar shacks open up.

                                1. re: veganhater

                                  "I'd have to have Katz's side by side to declare a winner"

                                  Maybe have a look here
                                  ...Schwartz was already declared the winner by a NYer in 2009.
                                  (I posted that article tongue-in-cheek. Of course this was before Celine Dion's Evil Empire aquired the place, but I digress)

                                  1. re: porker

                                    I would take the winner or loser any day where I live. We are pastrami/smoked meat deprived. I'm going to ship some down here and start the revolution

                                    1. re: veganhater

                                      I know, its always greener over the septic tank....
                                      We're pretty much BBQ deprived around here. Although a few folks have tried to start a revolution, it usually ends up as a failed rebellion...
                                      I make regular pilgrimages to NYC's BBQ Block Party - a short drive and train ride brings me to top pitmasters from around the US, including my hero Ed Mitchell (I preach the holiness of East NC BBQ sauce when doing my own whole hawg...but I digress).

                                      Back to the smoked meat...
                                      it seems to be quite regional and doesn't transplant very well. Another Montreal deli called Moe's (a rather new player in the deli game) tried their concept in a few American cities -but it did not work (they had a place in St. Jovite for quite a few years as well - I think they're closed now).
                                      Dunns Famous has a few outposts in Ottawa and Toronto.
                                      The true Montreal smoked meat icons seem to be a rare breed (like the old delis of NYC) with only a few left.

                                      A Montrealer has had moderate success with Mile End, a Montreal style deli in Brooklyn and a newer sister resto in Manhatten. I recall them importing bagels from Montreal when first opening. I think they were from Fairmont, the same place you enjoyed them with your family.

                              2. re: veganhater

                                Extreme cold? You must be from the South if you think the weather this week is cold!

                                1. re: williej

                                  According to their profile, he/she is from NC so I could definitely see how this is cold for them. Don't forget being at Tremblant can also be substantially colder than the city, i.e. right this second we're at -8 cel, Tremblant is at -15, quite the difference.

                                  Tomorrow will definitely be cold (-18 cel/0 F) and overnight you are looking at -27, it's a good thing you weren't here two weeks ago, now that was beyond cold.

                                  1. re: JerkPork

                                    Thanks. Keep moving veganhater on that hill and you will get warm!

                                    I still suggest you try out the restos in St. Jovite; way better than those at the hill. Plus there are some good places in Old Tremblant village.

                                    1. re: williej

                                      Dude, I'm from Georgia. This weather's definitely way too cold!

                                      If you stop in Saint Saveur, there is that one neat grocery whose name escapes me (I always buy very large glass jars of posh mustard and snacks). I think it's worth a peek.

                                      1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                        But if you come to ski, well, skiing needs snow and snow needs cold!

                                    2. re: JerkPork

                                      I can handle some cold, but the kids have less tolerance. Tuesday it was -9 F at the base and -12 F at the summit. That tested my limits, but the kids had to stop after each run. Face, hands and feet on the little ones couldn't stay warm for long. Still good fun, plus it probably toughened up the little ones.

                                  2. re: veganhater

                                    can i have your unused groceries?

                                    1. re: veganhater

                                      It sounds like your're enjoying yourself (in spite of the weather, the kids, the cost, the mixups, the gun-to-the-head, the cold, and the food).
                                      It seems you went into this adventure with the right expectations and mindset to actually have fun. Good on ya!

                                  3. re: veganhater

                                    Thanks, great reviews!
                                    I think the best features of L'Express are the service and the hours, but I'm glad you also enjoyed the food (some don't). I think the refusal of tartare to go was a smart call - I'd hope any sushi restaurant would do the same. Not to say that tartare will spoil immediately, but clearly their aim was to protect their butt (legally) as well as yours (medically).

                                    1. re: veganhater

                                      Quick thinking on the change of travel plans! Trading Schwartz for L'Express sounds like a good deal. Bagel adventures were entertaining to read. St-Viateur ships their sesame seed bagels all over, btw, might cost less per bagel! Well done on finding decent nourishment at Mont Tremblant - it's not obvious.

                                2. Don't remember names but my kids loved fondue restaurants.