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Montreal Restaurant Help needed

  • k

I'm going to Montreal in July for three nights and have never been before. I've heard great things about the restaurants there and am very excited.

It looks like we are going to stay in Old Montreal but as long as the cabs are abundant which I'm sure they are we will venture out of that area

The only place I know is a must Au Pied De Cochon as I love foie and I've heard this place is great. Should we do lunch or dinner there?

I'd like to have two "fine" dining dinner -- price isn't really an object we just want to eat at the best Montreal has to offer

I'd like to go to a relaxed bar with poutine where I could spend a few hours

What else is Montreal known for food wise? Any other must hit places?

Thanks for any input

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  1. Definitely read through this board a bit to get a sense as it's tough for us to know what types of restaurants you'd like best. Pied de Cochon is a great option, though like many of the top restos in town it's not open for lunch. Also depending on when in July you're visiting, make sure to book well in advance. The first week is probably the busiest of the year.

    1. There are no real "bar" where you can linger for a few hours and have a poutine, this is a fast-food item; best is to take it "take-out" and eat it outside in a close by park.

      Anyway, after eating a poutine you want to walk it off.

      2 places for poutine:
      La Banquise (24h, 7/7, best to be experienced at 3am after the bars close)
      Patati Patate: small place, some lineups; but worth it.

      Ok, now, for the rest ..

      What kind of food are you looking for (or not) ? ethnicity ? ambience ? wine list ?

      Some suggestions to get you going :
      Le Club Chasse et Peche, Le Filet, Nora Gray, Lawrence, La Salle à Manger, La Chronique, Monsieur B (BYOB), Maison Publique, 3 petits bouchons, Le Comptoir Vins et Charcuteries, Smoking Vallée (ByOB), Bouillon Bilk, ...

      14 Replies
      1. re: Maximilien

        of course there are. mckibbins and many other bars that serve food have poutine.

        1. re: catroast

          I agree with catroast. There are many bars where you can linger and hanve a poutine. Vices et Versa, Saint-Bock, all the Irish pubs...

          1. re: SourberryLily

            Thanks for all the input. What would be the best place place bar atmosphere?

            1. re: klebb

              The downtown McKibbins location is one of my favorite bars in town and definitely not a bad place to settle into. but being that you are a tourist, my recommendation is that you check out http://laquincaillerie.ca/ which happens to be steps from Le Banquise - the quintessential montreal poutinerie. In fact, I believe you can eat your takeout poutine there. However, I think that you ought to eat in since it is quite an experience to have a heaping plate of the stuff set before you. They also are fully licensed so you don't have to let eating cut into you drinking.

              1. re: catroast

                I second downtown McKibbins. It's my go-to Irish pub.

                Montreal Jazzfest is June 28th - July 7th and our Just for Laughs Festival is July 10th - July 28th check the listings if you're planning on coming during any of these dates, there should be lots to see and some fun food trucks to try out.

                1. re: causeimhungry

                  McKibbins is pretty nice, and the location is convenient for you.

            2. re: SourberryLily

              But at most of these places, poutine will be ok bordering on so-so!
              It all depends on the focus of the OP, poutine vs. beer!

              1. re: westaust

                Exactly! Even McDonald's serves poutine here, for that matter. If you're looking for a good one though, you should go to a poutine place. If beer or bar atmosphere is the focus, then the whole conversation changes.

                1. re: alinemramos

                  Maamm Bolduc for poutine skip Banquise.

                  1. re: JerkPork

                    maam bolduc has been going down hill for a while now
                    it's not worth going out of your way for

            3. re: catroast

              I kind of figure you would get better answers!! ! :-)

            4. re: Maximilien

              Thanks for the input. I'll begin researching these suggestions

              I'm not really looking for any kind of food in particular -- just something that is unique to Montreal preferably

              As far as ambience I would prefer upbeat as opposed to stuffy but food trumps everything...

              1. re: klebb

                Also a casual lunch rec would be great too -- somewhere I could wear shorts and be able to have a drink

                I know it's hard without being specific but uniqueness to the city is my biggest requirement

                1. re: klebb

                  Fortunately there are very few restaurants in Montreal where it would be inappropriate to wear shorts (particularly at lunch in July) and stuffiness is a characteristic almost non-existent in restaurants here. If you'll be having lunch then drinks will be available in most places (Though some are surprised by our liquor laws: at most restaurants one needs to order food in order to be served alcohol. Bars do not have this requirement, though a few places that seem like bars actually only have a restaurant license. Just FYI - you'll be able to order a poutine and get drinks).
                  Starting with the LEAST casual (though still relaxed), on Wed-Fri, Lawrence has an excellent lunch (British-ish), and on Fridays so does 400 Coups (French). I wouldn't normally recommend Club Chasse et Peche as a casual resto, but by then their terrasse should also be open which might be a good chance to eat some exceptional Quebec-inspired French cooking in a relaxed setting. I also enjoy lunch at Dominion Square Taverne... not for its uniqueness as much as the ambiance. Kazu is a great Japanese izakaya (almost no sushi), though the line can be exceptionally long even at lunch.

                  For really casual options, go with places mentioned by others above. For instance, get a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's and grab a beer or bottle of wine and head for one of the larger nearby parks (i.e. Jeanne Mance/Mont Royal). If you're picnicking then drinking in most big parks is basically legal (at least no one will bother you about it). Alternatively, head north to St. Viateur and get some sesame bagels with smoked salmon, etc. There are no other bagels in the world like Montreal's (except for the Montreal-style places in Oakland, NYC, etc). You could also get a poutine from Banquise and beers from any corner store, and walk the half-block to my favourite park, La Fontaine.

                  As for APDC, I think I disagree with Mangoannie. If uniqueness is your main stipulation then it's tough to think of a better choice. It is noisy and sometimes the food can be hit-and-miss, but I happen to love the decor and most dishes both on and off the menu. If it isn't too hot you might get a spot near the large open windows at the front, and in my opinion nothing in this city is better than that. Order the specials, particularly the seafood platters, and avoid what I find to be the gimmicky items (like Duck in a Can, Pig's foot). My favourite options are the Plogue and most of the meaty starters/appetizers. Also, if you'd rather eat outside or don't manage to get reservations, stop in and order take-out. If you find some forks you can walk this the few short blocks to Parc la Fontaine and have an outdoor feast.

            5. I don't think APDC is open for lunch.

              1. I would say Montreal is known for 3 things food-wise: poutine, smoked meat, and bagels.

                Bagels here are by far the best I've ever had (and I lived in NYC for 4 years). But do not get any store-bought bagels. Go to St. Viateur or Fairmount.

                For smoked meat, I guess Schwartz's is the default choice. (Some people prefer Main, just across the street, but I've never been there myself). Be ready to wait in line for some time, but the lineup moves quickly. Get the medium or fatty smoked meat. I usually like leaner options, but not here. Their coleslaw is also delish.

                Poutine is also a contentious matter. Everyone has their favourite. Just bear in mind that, although some bars do serve it, it's more of a fast-food-ish dish. La Banquise is the most emblematic in town, but it gets really crowded around 3pm once the bars close and people are looking to get their after hours food fix. One of my favourite poutine places in town is a chain called Frite Alors. They as also serve good local beer, if that's something you're looking to try.

                Now, as far as other restaurants go, make sure to book at least 1 week in advance at APDC (and they only serve dinner, indeed). Another place I like, but which is probably similar to APDC in some sense is Maison Publique.

                A lot of the better Montreal restaurants will change menus seasonally, so you should take a look at their websites or FB pages once your travel date is approaching.

                I would also recommend Le Comptoir, Au Cinquième Pêché and Apollo (the restaurant; not the bistro).

                Now, if you're looking for something more specific, like ethnic restaurants, recommendations may be a tad different.

                If you like molecular cuisine, for instance, you might like Europea.

                The one thing I would stay away from here is Japanese food. Overall, it is not great, and tends to be overpriced (if it's not overpriced, it'll probably be very bad).

                1 Reply
                1. re: alinemramos

                  I would go for the french flair, ambiance and try restos or bistros in outremont or plateau areas. You might like the vibe of festival time, check dates on tourism montreal site. And best of all are terraces for brunch, lunch or dinners! Poutine and smoked meat for me are nothing to write home about! If I had 3 days Apdc would not be my choice as no decor, noisy and food often so heavy and unhealthy.

                2. Another bar / poutine idea: Abreuvoir
                  http://www.abreuvoir.ca/index.php/fr/

                  May seem more "Montreal" than an Irish pub.

                  Decent place, good terrasse in the back, and a duck confit poutine from Lucky's Truck (a non-traditional poutine I'll endorse). Unsure if they'll carry on this partnership through summer. Can get noisy inside if full (you'll want a spot on the tarrasse, anyway), but still not boom-chika clubbish.

                  Located in the Latin Quarter - very central - plenty of options at your fingertips when your ready to move on.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: yellowcake

                    good choice, but montreal was built in part by the irish and mckibbins is one of the oldest bars in the city...it is definitely more 'montreal' than abreuvoir ;)

                    1. re: catroast

                      I guess by Montreal feel, especially for an out-of-towner, I'm just considering the likelihood of being amongst a mix of Franco / Anglo speakers, Quebec beers on tap, taking advantage of terrasse season, in a more ecelectic part of town. (Many other locations offer the same - great recommendations on this board - add Pub Ste-Elisabeth for a large hidden terrasse, even if no longer a hidden gem).
                      I get McKibbin's -- good staff, good food, good pour, good pub. Potentially on the OP's path. In fact, grabbing a show at Jimbo's (right up the same street) during the Comedy Fest after pints & a quick bite at McKibbin's is not a bad plan! Though I'm defaulting to Fiddler's Green these days - good pub food there. Fantastic onion rings.

                  2. I don't entirely understand all this love for McKibben's. Neither the bar nor downtown, in general, have an interesting atmosphere relative to the rest of the city. Sure Montreal has a strong Irish heritage but that describes most cities in the northeast. If you happen to be downtown and want to grab a pint then, sure, McKibben's would do. But it's not a destination; to get a better flavour of Montreal, I would get out of downtown and head up to the Plateau. La Quincaillerie is pretty good, though it's not a linger-in-a-pub kind of place. It's usually a young, partying in a group crowd. Same goes for Billy Kun. Unfortunately, I've never been able to find a good solo hang out pub in the Plateau (which, kind of contradicts what I've just said about avoiding downtown!) Well, possible exceptions are Dieu du Ciel, Vices et Versa, Reservoir, Else's, and Casa del Popolo. Anyway, if you just wander the main Plateau streets of Duluth, Rachel, Mont-Royal, and St-Laurent you'll probably be able to find something that strikes your fancy.

                    I'm really sad to hear Ma'am Bolduc is going downhill! It used to be the best. What happened?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: foodinspace

                      McKibbins has many of the elements of a good bar, which is why many people like it. For example, unlike many bars in Montreal, their draught beer is properly refrigerated and they have a decent selection on tap. Their staff is very well trained, friendly and most importantly present. They actually serve food, unlike many montreal bars, and it is actually decent. The music is also not insanely loud - as much as I love Dieu du Ciel, it probably has the worst ambiance of any bar I've ever been to only because of the music volume. McKibbins will also run a tab, which is much more convenient than paying after every drink, especially if you want to pay with plastic. They have a fire place and an excellent terrace. I mean, yes it is an irish pub, but they do a mighty fine job - much better than most plateau/mile end bars - that's for damn sure.

                      1. re: foodinspace

                        McKibbens food is average and wayyy too greasy IMO but if you just want to chill and grab a beer I guess it will do.