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Rec for a second date downtown

I'm going on a second date with someone, we are late twenties. I used to often take dates to L'entrecote St Jean but I have heard it's gone downhill (anyone been there recently?). My roommate recommended Atti (Korean on University) and has previously recommended Chez Ennio (I went there with a friend and we were alone... the portions were huge and it was pretty good but I'm not sure I want to return there this time). I was considering T or going a bit further to Pintxo or Casa Tapas.... perhaps even Marinara (although I find that is much more business than date).

Fairly flexible on price, somewhere that serves alcohol or is byob, Central downtown area preferred

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  1. I would recommend Pintxo, I dont know the others except for T.

    1. @kpaxonite:

      I recommend Pintxo, too - I guess I don't need to say much about it, since I see it's in your list of favorites.

      However, if you want to stay closer to central downtown, you could try either Café Ferreira (1446 Peel) or F Bar (1485 Jeanne-Mance). Of the two, I prefer Café Ferreira, both for food and ambiance; but F Bar was also quite good, and might work, too.

      If you like Japanese, you may want to consider Furusato (2137 de Bleury); the place may lack a bit on ambiance, but the food is very good - especially if you like non-sushi stuff (although the sushi, by Montreal's low standards, is good, too). Another Japanese option is Zenya (486 Sainte-Catherine W.). What’s nice about it is the surprise effect: the restaurant is hidden in the second store of a building, but, once you get in, you forget you’re in an ugly part of St. Cath. The place is really beautiful, and its website, I’m afraid, doesn’t do it justice. (Food-wise, I still prefer Furusato; so you may have to factor that in.)

      Maybe Marché 27 (27 Prince Arthur W.)? I’m afraid it could be loud, but I never ate there late enough to know. But, then again, you’re young: maybe loud is not a minus.

      Of the other places you mention, I only know, and then again, only in passing, Atti. Never ate there, but never thought of the place as date-material. I would cross that from my list.

      (If by T you mean Brasserie T!, then, yes, I know that place, too. I only went there once, and absolutely loved it – but it was summer, and I had the special seafood platter, something that (hopefully?) wouldn’t be available now. The other reports I heard of the place made me think my experience was atypical – so I would be wary of recommending it.)

      1. edit: Yes, I am quite familiar with the restaurants I mentioned but I am in no way limiting myself to them...

        Thank you for the suggestions so far

        3 Replies
        1. re: kpaxonite

          Brasserie T and F bar are both great and not too fancy. I would probably stay away from cafe Ferreira, it is really expensive. You probably do not want to come across as high maintenance. There are lots of cool, fun young restos- Lawrence, Chein fumant, and Dominion Square Tavern, they are all delicious.
          Marche 27 is good but is a bit girly, last time I was there there were 36 girls to 4 boys.

          1. re: Gloriaa

            I think Lawrence and Le Chien Fumant are quite far from the "central downtown" area the original poster was talking about.

            Sure they are good (although I presonally didn't care much for my experience at Le Chien Fumant), but then again, there are tons of other places that could be recommended if we expand on the geographical location. If the poster is open to checking out those places, though, I would highly recommend making a reservation ahead. The last thing you want on a date is having to wait a long time before getting a table.

            ...Which brings me to Dominion Square Tavern, which is usually packed. The other problem there is that even though the low lights create a nice ambiance, I find it virtually impossible to have a conversation. The noise level really bothers me there - and that's one of the major things I consider when looking for a date rec.

            If I may pitch in with two more suggestions:

            Apollo Bar: Apollo (the restaurant, on University) has a bar area with a different menu from the restaurant's. It's a lot more low-key and not as expensive (i.e. not flashy or high-maintenance looking). I really like the ambiance there: you can choose between the high tables or the more lounge-style couches. Their drinks & wine list is quite interesting, service is always nice.

            La Porte: Honestly, I've only been there once and didn't think the cost-benefit was great. On the other hand, it has a really nice ambiance. In fact, I think they won some OpenTable "award" for best romantic restaurant in 2012. I checked out their menu and it looked a tad pricey, but maybe someone who's had a good experience there could be more qualified to attest to its overall value.

            (On a side note, I second the Pintxo choice - and would prefer the ambiance at F Bar to that of Brasserie T!'s)

            1. re: alinemramos

              I responded too quickly and did not read that the restaurant should be downtown. Sorry. Tavern on the square and tuck shop are good and always full. Downtown restos are always iffy that is why dominion tavern gets so much love. A little farther east is bouillon bilk? All these restos are loud though...

        2. If you have the budget for it, Pintxo is a great date restaurant, great service, they take reservations, classy and quiet, but not too much, just lively enough.

          Brasserie T is very noisy and rushed.

          Otherwise, I can second Fereirra, probably the best restaurant downtown, with Europea.

          1. Not sure if still relevant, but another place sprung to mind: Maison Boulud (1288 Sherbrooke W.).

            It would be good to see recent reviews of the place, though. I went there almost one year ago, soon after they opened. I was extremely happy with all things marine in the menu, but the rest went from okay to disappointing (the dessert, especially). A couple next to me was definitely not having a good time.

            Anyway, I’d assume they corrected the initial mistakes. If the food they make is compatible with the prices they charge, though, I don’t know. Still, the place is in your area, and certainly a pleasent place to take a date to.

            4 Replies
            1. re: luism

              Are you for real?!

              That's a stupidly expensive place to take anyone who isn't your wife (for an anniversary dinner). As are at least half the rec's here (Cafe Ferreira and Pintxo, for a second date, seriously?)

              Want a great recommendation, kpaxonite? Don't take a woman to dinner unless you're already gf-bf. It's expensive and a really boring way to get to know someone. Dinner is for couples, ie. when you're not counting what date it is anymore.

              1. re: Shattered

                I had a first date at Pintxo once. It went so well that four and a half years later we're planning another one there. I'm not saying that the restaurant is the reason for our relationship, but it helps an otherwise unappealing guy at least appear to know something about food.
                Now I'm not saying that kpax is unappealing, but only that unless he's going on a few second dates a week this probably won't break the bank. I think he can decide whether or not he wants to take his date/girlfriend/wife for an expensive meal. Implying that one should only spend money on pricey restaurants when taking one's significant other out for a special occasion is maybe the most boring suggestion of all.

                Sorry to jump in on this. I always like your restaurant recommendations, Shattered, but it makes me wonder when you ever get a chance to dine at the pricier ones? You must splurge now and then for reasons other than anniversaries.

                And while I'm here I'll just emphasize that I also suggest Pintxo for the reasons stated above. If you'd rather keep the prices lower then maybe Nouveau Palais - can't really say the place is dull, and everyone looks better in the dark.

                1. re: Fintastic

                  I think (hope) Shattered's intentions were good, but I can unsderstand how they can be interperted.
                  Perhaps a warning that Boulud is very expensive might've sufficed, especially in light that kpax has a roomate - seemingly indicating budget restraints.
                  However, advice on why to bring someone to dinner seems a bit wonky.
                  Its all personal preference, of course, but I'd actually prefer to bring a first, second, third, #X, date to dinner, as I think its a great way to get to know a person....but thats me...and I'd bring them to whatever resto I can afford, and perhaps, once in a while, to places I cannot afford....again, thats me...

                  1. re: catroast

                    Folks, this is getting way far afield. If you've got specific restaurant suggestions for the original poster, that's great. If you want to debate whether they should or shouldn't go to a restaurant for a second date, that's not really on topic here.