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Toronto foodie needs help in narrowing down choices - visiting Montreal


I have read the numerous threads on Montreal but I am still having a bit of trouble deciding where I would like to eat for dinner on my short 3.5 day visit to Montreal with my boyfriend. During the day I have cheaper eats selected (i.e. Schwartz's, Fairmount/St Viateur bagels, Kouign Armann, Boustan, Arahova on St. Viateur, La Banquise etc..)

- Wednesday : Garde Manger
- Thursday: Les 400 coups
- Friday: Au Pied de Cochon

There are a few other places I am not sure if I should opt in or take something else out:
- Le Club Chasse et Peche
- Lemeac
- Joe Beef

I am having a bit of difficulty deciding. I think there is good balance in the first 3 selected but I know the other 3 are quite popular as well. A friend insists that I go to Le Club which I know will have great food as many have posted but will be more of a "safe" choice .. or am I wrong in saying that? Also I was perhaps thinking doing an earlier dinner at APdC and perhaps going to Lemeac for the after 10pm dinner for some salmon tartare, pain perdu and duck confit.

Furthermore I was looking at APdC's menu and I am not interested in ordering the duck in a can but will likely order the pancakes with foie, and also the duck carpaccio. Any other stand outs?

Lastly, I got a recommendation that I should have the foie and fig tart from O'Thym but as a byob, i realize likely i cannot sit at the bar just to have this tart as they have seatings at dinner. Am I correct in assuming this?

We are staying in the Plateau Mont Royal area and in terms of nightlife we are planning to do
- Baldwin Barmacie
- Bily Kun
- La Distillerie

Lastly, a recommendation for an excellent brunch.

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  1. "Lastly, a recommendation for an excellent brunch."

    Lawrence is amazing - http://lawrencerestaurant.com

    "Also I was perhaps thinking doing an earlier dinner at APdC and perhaps going to Lemeac for the after 10pm dinner for some salmon tartare, pain perdu and duck confit."

    Unless you have a bottomless stomach you may regret doing that, but of course YMMV. ;-)

    I'll let other chime in on the rest - have a great trip!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpzoo

      Thanks kpzoo! I was thinking as I posted below just about having a couple items at APdC then Lemeac but perhaps I will just cancel it altogether (lemeac).

    2. You've made some good choices here. I'd push you to change your Wednesday dinner, perhaps to Chasse et Peche, though there are plenty of folks who like Garde more than me. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "safe" - the ingredients at CCeP might be slightly less outrageous than Joe Beef or APDC, but its definitely not boring food. However, its definitely slightly more expensive than any of your other choices. It would be my choice.

      As for APDC, I think you're right not to order the duck in a can when the plogue and many other dishes are far better. Maybe consider ordering one of the tongue appetizers. I normally don't like tongue, but it's delicious there. Also, the specials are usually exceptional. Kpzoo is definitely right to recommend that you not try to do another restaurant in the same night as PDC. I might not even have lunch... The pancake and carpaccio are definitely more reasonable portions, but none of their portions are even remotely responsible from a caloric perspective. You'd likely regret your decision to squeeze in Lemeac - just order an extra dish at APDC.

      I haven't had the tarte you speak of at O'Thym, so I can't comment on the dish, but I'm quite confident that they do not have a bar. I'm sure you could nab an early table if made it clear you'd only stay for 30 minutes.

      As for nightlife, you'll enjoy your choices. Maybe head for Distillerie early, as it usually has a substantial line from mid-evening until closing. Baldwin's is not one of my favourites; I really don't understand why so many recommend it. There are lots of places nearby that have better drinks and ambiance.. maybe consider Sparrow?

      And finally, when are you planning your trip? Trying to get a specific reservation time at 400 Coups and APDC might be difficult if your trip is coming up soon. Definitely book early if you want to keep a schedule.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Fintastic


        Thanks for your reply! I am really interested in going to Garde and Les 400 Coups. I already booked those for February (20-23), so I have lots of time. I emailed Le Pied de Cochon ..is that the best way to get a reservation? Or shall I phone them? It is not quite at the 1 month mark yet.

        I am really wanting to go to Le Club Chasse et Peche but it would be in lieu of Au Pied de Cochon. I know they are so different but CCeP's menu interests me more but I don't think I should miss Au Pied de Cochon.

        1. re: kyra2224

          If you can't add a day and have it all, I'd agree with Fintastic and change up Garde for APDC. And I'd be spontaneous about ordering ... the specials are great and I love their foie gras on fruit (whatever may be in season). And if you wanted to go to Lemeac after an earlier meal, you could choose another of your evenings maybe?

          For the midday choices I'm not sure I'd bother with Arahova (so much like places on the Danforth), I might change up Schwartz for the Main, Kouign Amann yes, La Banquise yes, Boustan .. hmmm, might go to Trippe de Bouffe or Lallouz instead. Bagels, yes, it goes witohout saying. And I'd pack some digestive enzymes. Have fun!

      2. I would second the recomendation to take out Garde manger. I think club chasse et peche is past its prime, and overpriced. Instead I would recommmend their newer restaurant, le filet (also closer to where you are staying). Other options would be bouillon bilk, la porte,or hotel herman (hot newish place, just tried it last weekend)

        lawrence is good for brunch, but its a bit too popular, often lineups. if your not interested in waiting in line (esp in the cold!) consider chien fumant, le comptoir, or pastaga

        4 Replies
        1. re: tdiddy23

          Thanks for the recommendations. Sorry for the confusion but I meant that I would swap CCeP vs. APdC. I am keeping my resos at Garde, Les 400 coups and (just yesterday) received my reso for APdC. I think those are the 3 I am going to go with for good variety. I know people are hot/cold about Garde but I really do want to check i out regardless.

          Also for La Distillerie, if I get there around 9pm will I be waiting for a long time? Fintastic mentioned that it would be busy from mid evening till late.

          I was thinking about the Main vs. Schwartz but perhaps I will squeeze in both (I believe the Main is open 24hrs).

          1. re: kyra2224

            alright, to each their own :) you won't have a bad time at garde to be honest

            sorry i didn't make myself clear, if its just a question remaining about CCep vs APdC, chose APdC. I am not typically a fan of gluttony, and really didn't like his sugar shack, but at APdC you can walk the line between overt gluttony and a unique, Quebecoise restaurant experience.

            1. re: tdiddy23


              Thanks, that's exactly what i wanted to hear about APdC as I usually am not a fan of total gluttony (even though I do love foie) and I am looking for that Quebecoise experience, so that sounds awesome!

              I am thinking of perhaps going to lemeac just to fit in that pain perdu, it looks amazing! Any thoughts on their duck confit and salmon tartare (friend recommendations). Perhaps I will go for lunch.

              Furthermore have you been to Arepera du plateau or Amelio's pizza? I know they are close to my hotel and have good ratings, just looking for some good cheap eats in addition to the ones I have. Thanks!

              1. re: kyra2224

                Those arepas are very filling, good peasant food, which might not be too handy if you have large meals planned in the evening. If you want something lighter in the 'hood with more variety try Sabor Latina. Lots of tamales, tacos, pupusas, empanadas and other options. Amelio's is yummy.

        2. So I have done a little thinking and here is another proposed plan:

          Wednesday night:
          5pm - APdC; share a dish or two at the bar
          9pm - Garde Manger

          Thursday - Les 400 Coups

          Friday: Le Club Chasse et Peche OR Joe Beef. Having difficulty in deciding between the two.

          6 Replies
          1. re: kyra2224

            I would be very surprised if you still felt like dining after APDC at 5 pm - a "dish or two" at the bar can still be mighty filling, and I'd be surprised if you felt like eating much at Garde Manger, even at 9. If it were me, I would just pick one place for the evening, and stick with it.

            Club Chasse et Peche's food is more refined, Joe Beef's is heartier. Both are among my favourites, but it's like comparing apples and oranges, although you won't be disappointed with either. If you do Garde Manger on Wednesday, I would go with Joe Beef on Friday, and if you do APDC Wednesday, then Club Chasse et Peche Friday. But that's just me, YMMV.

            And a caveat that, depending on when you will be here, you might want to make sure you reserve - all of your choices fill up weeks in advance.

            1. re: cherylmtl


              Thanks for your response. Sorry to clarify if we were to have one dish as in either the foie/boudain tart (or would you recommend just the foie tart) or the plogue a champlain to share at the bar at 5pm, I think we should be in okay shape for full dinner at garde at 9pm. In which case we would do CCeP for Friday? I have all dinner resos except the last one on the list (currently ADpC on the friday night). In addition, if we were to go to ADpC at 5pm could we easily snag a seat at the bar or shall I make a reso for that as well?

              On Joe Beef vs. CCeP, I know they are two totally different animals altogether which is why it is so difficult to choose between them. Or perhaps I could also do some apps & wine at CCeP such as the foie/piglet risotto (I assume they have bar seating) on the Wednesday night before Garde at 9pm, then keep my 730pm reso at APdC on the Friday night, as I know it will be a gluttonous affair.

              Thanks for helping brainstorm so that I can maximize my eating in Montreal :) Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

              1. re: kyra2224

                CCeP doesn't have bar seating, IIRC. It's a more formal dining room. As for APDC, in my humble opinion, it would be a waste to just have a tarte or plogue a champlain there -there are just so many yummier dishes to try there!
                While I like Garde, there are many better restaurants in this city (including Chuck Hughes' other place around the corner from APDC, Le Bremner, which specializes in smaller plates - perhaps you could go there for an earlier snack?).

                1. re: cherylmtl

                  probably a typo, Bremner is around the Corner from Garde Manger in Old Montreal, not close to APdC.

                  1. re: Maximilien

                    Sorry. Bremner is around the corner from CCP, not APDC. Oops...

                  2. re: cherylmtl

                    Club Chasse et Peche does have bar seating.

            2. Sorry for all this back and forth. I have decided most of it but now I am down to the last day .. either CCeP vs. Joe Beef. I keep reading up on both and I keep wavering!

              1. If you want to do 2 dinners in one night, why don't you go to places that "specialize" in small plates

                Hotel Herman, Le Comptoir, Le Filet, Projet 67, ...

                or go get some Tapas at Pinxto (or somewhere else).

                Personally, I don't do 2 "dinner" in one night, even when traveling, I prefer going all-out on one dinner


                1 Reply
                1. re: Maximilien

                  I totally understand where you are coming from, which is what I usually do on vacation, commit completely to one place for the evening but we are here too short and want to experience a little extra ! I mean we are not having a "meal" at APdC, we are just going for a snack at the bar. My boyfriend and I are not overly adventurous eaters thus we just want to check out APdC (i.e. eat foie but not pig's head/trotter). I know they have a lot to offer but Joe Beef or CCeP appeal's more to our palette/interests. We want to go to all that we have listed so I think it is okay to fit in. Just now deciding between Joe Beef vs. CCeP. Thanks for your thoughts though!

                2. also can I sit just at the bar at 5pm at APdC? Or does that require a reservation?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: kyra2224

                    honestly don't even bother with garde manger. and two restos in same night is a bad idea. i'd just stick to apdc. i'd do joe beef the next day. it's a unique montreal experience. club chasse is great but there are spots in toronto that do that kind of refined dining very similar if not better.

                    1. re: kyra2224

                      APDC often has a few walk-in spaces, but I certainly wouldn't count on there being space. Maybe if you guaranteed to only have one dish and a drink, but without a doubt they take reservations at the bar. In fact, these may be even more popular than table reservations.

                      I know if can be frustrating to see everyone suggesting not to do both restaurants, but I think it comes from a good place. My first time at APDC I had what was then the boudin and foie tarte (which I think is now 2 distinct dishes), and it was enough food to make me nauseous not only that night, but also the 2 following nights when I tried to finish my leftovers. If you stick with the plogue it might be possible to get through 2 meals in an evening, but even this small dish has more than enough calories for an entire dinner. You're not the first to try it, so definitely let us know how you fare.

                      Also, if you're reserving definitely make sure you mention that you won't be having a full meal: it might increase your odds of getting a table, and its also fair to the restaurants.

                      1. re: kyra2224

                        Like everyone is saying: don't hit two places in one evening, even if one's a 'snack'. I'm known as the bottomless pit among my friends & family and couldn't do that at even 2 regular restos, nevermind APDC.

                        Really, we've got your best interest in mind. You won't even enjoy the latter meal or any shows or bars you hit after if you do. Trust me, a few years back I squeezed a late lunch at Banquise and dinner at 6 at Schwartz in one day 'cause I had guests (& was walking all over between the two); I catnapped through most of the Just For Laughs show we saw after and called it a night before midnight.

                        Eat early or go hungry til later (my preference), but just one big meal a day if you really wanna have a good time on vacation.

                        1. re: kyra2224

                          You should make sure that APDC will seat you at all at 5 PM. Definitely call first. I've shared a few appetizers at APDC before going to dinner at another restaurant. It is totally doable. If you are completely stuffed, you could walk to your next restaurant. Montreal is a very walkable city. Whereas Joe Beef is a fun restaurant for its excess, CCCP has better food imo.

                          1. re: catroast

                            Thank you all for all your responses and thoughts! I am going to mull it over during the next day, keep you posted!!

                        2. Thanks everyone for your help! I decided to go with Garde, Les 400 Coups and Joe Beef :)

                          1. Thanks everyone for the recommendations. Here are links to my posts regarding everything mentioned below and a quick recap of my trip:


                            - Les 400 Coups: the best meal of the trip. Loved the beef tartare, atlantic cod dish, foie terrine and desserts. The suckling pig/scallops dish did not disappoint and also enjoyed the hamachi. Very memorable and the flavours/food were spectacular.

                            - Joe Beef: Very heavy meal indeed. Shared the foie double down and the burrata salad with carrots. Loved my lobster spaghetti and also got a pork sausage/white gravy/winter veg plate which I thought was a little overseasoned. Extremely rich food but a great time.

                            - Garde Manger: The food was the least exciting but still delicious. We shared the foie waffles with maple butter, jerk snow crab (very addictive), raw beef with fried pickles salad and honey mustard vinagarette which was refreshing and delicious. I loved my quail main that was stuffed with lentils and sausage with creamy cabbage and cippolini. The scallops and carrot dish was good but suffered from overseasoning. Deep fried mars bar, no explanation needed there!

                            Other eats: lunch/late night/snacks

                            - Fous desserts: the croissants transported me back to Paris. One bite and it shreds all over you. Perfectly flakey, extremely light and buttery.
                            - Arepera du Plateau: fresh and fast. Tasty arepas, really enjoy the plantains and the pabellon arepa.
                            - Fairmount bagels: delicious and fresh. Paired with liberte cream cheese, such a Montreal delight.
                            - Olive and Gourmando: food was average- good but thought it was overpriced/overrated. Although I did really enjoy my banana chocolate brioche.
                            - Schwartz's: Great smoked meat. Got medium fat with pickle but in retrospect, I should have got fatty!
                            - La Banquise: Late night eat, okay poutine but satisfying at that point in the morning!
                            - The Main Deli: Rueben sandwich combo. The smoked meat was delicious but thinner than Schwartz.

                            Thanks again! We are returning in May as we had such a fantastic time.

                            1. Hey everyone,

                              I am returning to MTL in a couple of weeks once again as I enjoyed your city (and food) so much!

                              I just had a quick question about Schwartz's. I had the medium fat sandwich last time which I thought was good but I wanted your opinions on the fatty. I have searched the board with little result. To give you an idea, and I know they are completely different entities, I love the "juicy" pastrami at Katz's Deli in NYC. IF I were to get fatty, would it be closer to that? I found the fat levels in medium fat good but a touch dry. I haven't seen too many photos of the fatty sandwich at Schwartz's so if anyone could provide me with details that would be fantastic. I just don't want it to be like hunks of fat at the edges if that makes sense.


                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kyra2224

                                i've had very dry and very moist mediums at schwartz's. your best bet is to send it back if it is too dry. fatty does have huge hunks of fat. i find it gross.

                                1. re: kyra2224

                                  I agree with catroast. I had a couple 'medium fat' plates in a row at Schwartz that were quite lean, so I decided to try fatty. It was gross. It had a full slice the same size as the meat slices that was nothing but fat.

                                  The really gross part? I stuck it between two leaner pieces of meat, added lots of mustard and bread, and ate it anyway. Well, now I can say I almost ate a 'speck sandwich'.

                                2. Also I am trying to decide between Prohibition and Le Gros Jambon for brunch :)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: kyra2224

                                    I *definitely* recommend Prohibition over Gros Jambon. Delectable, and much more comfortable seating. (Tables & chairs vs. bar counter & stools.) The French toast and fried chicken are amazing, I also love the huevos rancheros and companions have enjoyed the blueberry ricotta pancakes.

                                    I went to Gros Jambon once and my friend & I found it just OK. Nothing outstanding (I can't even remember what I had, which is unusual for me!) and I haven't been back.

                                    1. re: kpzoo


                                      thanks for your recommendation. any advice on my schwartz's post (right above it)? any advice would be wonderful :)

                                      1. re: kyra2224

                                        I don't eat beef so I can't advise you very well, sorry. ;-) I suggest you tell them once you're at the restaurant what you like and they can advise you on the fat level accordingly - it can vary from brisket to brisket. There are also a few very extensive Schwartz's threads you might want to read. Good luck!

                                  2. Last minute question, I have read the threads thoroughly and searched the web but I am still struggling to decide between two restos for my second trip back to MTL.

                                    I am deciding between Le Comptoir Charcuterie et Vin and les 3 Petit Bouchons. Both look awesome and very close to where we are staying. Our other dinner is Les 400 Coups, which we enjoyed very much last time.

                                    Any input or recent experiences/fave dishes would be appreciated. Thank you!!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: kyra2224

                                      3pc for sure. I was there last week and it was delicious. I had the dates, octopus and mushroom tartine and I can't wait to go back for the same thing.