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Apr 5, 2013 08:43 PM

Best spots to eat around the gay village?

Hey there, first time poster. Lurked forever.

I'm moving to the gay village real soon from Montreal north, where I've lived my entire life. Getting pretty excited about living in a trendier area. Although coming from MTL Nord, everything is trendier.

What are your favorite spots to eat in the gay village? I've just tried the poutine at Lafayette just outside papineau metro and it was awful.

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  1. In the new places: Comptoir 21 just opened a location in the village, you'll find a better poutine there (and delicious burgers)! F+F Pizza and Café Mardi Gras opened this year too in the neighborhood. Lallouz is interesting too. Oh and Mezcla seems to be a new favorite, haven't tried it yet.

    In the "old" classic: O'Thym, Au Petit Extra, Kitchenette...

    For coffee: Pourquoi pas espresso bar

    Lunch and pastries: De farine et d'eau fraiche

    Maybe Poutineville too for more poutine options.

    1. Welcome to da 'hood.

      Here's my take on some places in the Village. To make it easier, I'll start with more casual and fast-food-ish places, then I'll move to "finer" dining.

      Resto du Village (1310 Wolfe) is my go-to late night poutine or "day after" late breakfast (even a breakfast poutine, why not - I highly recommend it). Friendly service, decent prices.

      Poutineville (1365 Ontario Est) is pretty bad IMO. I'd rather walk a few blocks to Frite Alors on St.-Denis, or just go to Resto du Village.

      Pourquoi Pas Espresso Bar (on Amherst) is the best café in the city and one of the nicest hang-out spots in the neighbourhood.

      Café 1000 Grammes (Ste.-Catherine) is just meh. Never tried their desserts. But I think their sandwiches are too expensive for what they are.

      Dunn's (Ste.-Cath. Est) has also just recently opened. Maybe too soon to tell, but I didn't care for their smoked meat sandwich. Also kind of pricey for what it is.

      Meyer's Saucisses (inside Marché Saint-Jacques, on the corner of Ontario and Amherst) has great sausages, and they also offer sandwiches in loco. I usually just buy my sausages there and make them at home, but if you're looking for a quick fix...

      Euro-Polonia (Amherst) offers some unpretentious Polish food. Their lunch options are good, but I still prefer to buy their frozen pierogi and cook them myself.

      F+F Pizza (Ste.-Catherine) has decent pizza. I think it's definitely worth it, if you take advantage of the "get 1, get the 2nd 50% off" deal which runs Mon-Wed, I think.

      Piri-Piri (Ste.-Catherine) is a very good Portuguese rotisserie. Their chicken is very tasty and I highly recommend their potatoes.

      Comptoir 21 (1117 Ste.-Catherine Est) has just opened and it's quite nice. Good for fish & chips (their signature dish) and fish sandwich. I hear their clam chowder is really good (I don't eat seafood, so I couldn't swear by it), but the (meat) burger is just ok.

      4 Saisons (Ontario Est) has great Banh Mi (the avocado is my favourite) and they also do decent sushi. They also deliver, btw.

      Doki Doki (Maisonneuve Est) also is a decent spot for sushi, but more expensive than 4 Saisons. Their tea is great!

      I don't know whether Yuki Sushi Bar (Ontario Est) still exists. I went there a few years ago and didn't like it.

      On the subject of Japanese restaurants, I don't care for Miyako (Amherst). Too expensive for what they offer.

      Pho Maisonneuve (Maisonneuve Est) is great for a cheap lunch. Out of the Vietnamese places in the area, it is probably my favourite (esp. considering cost-benefit).

      Pho Viet (Amherst) is also good, but I think dishes are much smaller than those offered at Pho Maisonneuve - and they only take cash.

      Le Goût de Vietnam (Ste.-Catherine Est) is ok. I'd say it's your average Montreal Vietnamese restaurant.

      I was disappointed with Café Saïgon (Saint-André). Pretty expensive for the kind of food they offer. Decor is meant to make it look more upscale, and they say they make more authentic Vietnamese food, but at the end of the day, they serve exactly the same dishes as any other Vietnamese restaurant in the area - they just charge a lot more for it.

      BeBap (Amherst) has a good dolsot bibimbap - the only thing I've tried there. Since it's the only Korean in the area, it does the job. Yet, I usually prefer to walk to Chez Bong (on St-Laurent, in Chinatown) to have a dolsot bibimbap. Less expensive and more food.

      Le Planète (Ste.-Catherine Est) doesn't do it for me. Generic food, and quite expensive, unless you go for the Monday & Tuesday deal, when they charge half for the mains. Went there once and not looking to go back.

      I haven't been to Bato Thai (Ste.-Catherine Est) since they moved to their new location, a few blocks further East, but I used to like it a lot.

      Tabla (Ste.-Catherine Est) offers decent Indian food. Because I used to live in a city where Indian food was amazing and cheap, I find them to be just ok, and kind of expensive. But if you're craving Indian food, this could be a good bet. I also like their ambiance.

      Lallouz Café & Kebaberie (Ste.-Catherine Est) is another one of my go-to lunch & dinner places. They offer good Lebanese food, for what I take to be decent prices, considering they offer a good assortment of mezzes and pita bread free of charge when you order a "kit". Their "kits" are the best bet, IMHO: 2 choices of kebab for $12 at lunch, or 3 choices for $16 at dinner.

      Chipotle & Jalapeño (Amherst) offers good Mexican food, beyond burritos, tacos and the like. The mole was very good. They offer this combo for two people which is really worth it, I think, if you want to try different things. Their brunch is also quite good.

      Le Milsa (Ste.-Catherine) is just bad. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't. Whatever they are doing (which is not Brazilian churrasco, as they advertise), they're just doing it badly.

      Ô Chalet (René-Levesque Est) is a tricky one. I really don't care for their food (although the ambiance is quite nice) but I have some friends who like it.

      Steak Frites (Ste.-Catherine) is one of those place where I went once and don't see myself going back to. Didn't care for their meat. But then again, I'm not the biggest meat lover out there.

      Bistrô 1272 (Ste.-Catherine) has nice food, from what I can remember (I only went there once, over a year ago), but it's definitely on the expensive side.

      Carte Blanche (Ontario Est) has a more upscale style and the food I had there (I've only been once) was good, but nothing to write home about. It would be my choice if I had to pick a fancy-ish place to go in the area.

      I've yet to try: Kitchenette, Mezcla, Bistrô Florin (highly recommended by friends), O'Thym (friends opinions here are divided: some really love, some really hate), Café Mardi Gras.

      (Sorry if this was overwhelming...)

      18 Replies
      1. re: alinemramos

        This is an exceptional list! I'm surprised about your assessment of Cafe Saigon though. Their prices recently jumped up a bit but it's still gotta be one of the most affordable BYOs on the island.

        Kitchenette is a great place, OThyme is good but I've found it a little boring.

        1. re: alinemramos

          Good review. One surprise. Cafe Saigon is one of my go-to places in the city, specifically for their Sate or curry soup, coupled with the best banh mi in the city (slightly different that takeout banh mi around St-Laurent of Jean Talon). I do see your point - when I see what everyone else orders, seems somewhat uninspiring, but still looks good. Also love their lemongrass beef.

          Another place that I like for happyhour drinks and decent enough fare that accomodates many tastes (if in a group): Saloon.

          1. re: yellowcake

            Thanks for the tip, yellowcake. I've yet to try Cafe Saigon's banh mi. (I'll report back.)

            Now, to reply to Fintastic and yellowcake's points, I think what I meant was just that considering the other options nearby (Pho Maisonneuve and Pho Viet) which are also BYOW, Saigon would probably be my #3 choice - especially since it's the most expensive of the three, and I often have budgetary concerns...

            1. re: alinemramos

              Specific reco: Beef banh mi with a curry soup for dipping. Now I'm hungry...

          2. re: alinemramos

            I tried Chipotle & Jalapeño today. It was nice - I liked the atmosphere a lot and the server was great (very cute too). But it cost me just about $30 for lunch. I mean...that seems a little much. It was good but not that good.

            1. re: moochoo

              I agree with you that Chipotle & Jalapeño is kind of expensive (I mean, no more than other places that charge $3 - $4 for a single taco!, but I see your point). I've never been there for lunch, but at dinner they have this tasting menu for two people that costs around $40 (if I remember correctly) and allows you to try a little bit of a variety of things (salad or soup, appetizer and 3 choices of mains which come in smaller portions). In that case, I think it's worth it. But in general, I agree that $30 for lunch is a lot.

              1. re: moochoo

                What did you order? And how many were you? I've normally been able to do lunch there for $10 - $15/person tip included.

                1. re: EaterBob

                  I had a tortilla soup and ceviche as well as a beer. I was alone. The bill was $27 tip included.

                  1. re: moochoo

                    Deducting tax and tip, I would presume that your original bill was for about $20. Knock off $7 or $8 for that beer, and suddenly your lunch is no longer expensive...

                    Once you add 30% to anything it gets real expensive, real quick. For future reference, don't buy anything at auction :-)

                    1. re: EaterBob

                      Do you work in sales by any chance? ;)

                        1. re: moochoo

                          Barfly just increased their prices to $6.50. They are about the bottom of the scale. So unfortunately I would not consider a $7 or $8 beer (especially if it is imported) particularly expensive.

                          Not cheap, yes. But not expensive as well.

                          1. re: EaterBob

                            Actually, Barfly has average priced pints, which are fairly expensive for a filthy dive. Places that are cheaper, off the top of my head: Bifteck ($5.75), 3 Minots and Brutopia ($6), Copacabana (pretty sure $6 as well, but I hardly ever go there). $6.50 is more in line with a nicer place like Else's, Bobard's, or Divan Orange. Actually, even Divan might have one or two domestics at $6, too (boring stuff like Belle Gueulle). Oh, and Bifteck and Copa have nights -not happy hours, entire nights- with $10 pitchers. So Barfly is really borderline expensive for what it is (so is MadHatters, btw. Disgusting place, and not cheap at all).

                            1. re: Shattered

                              Just for the record, I didn't have a pint it was a bottle. I also wanted to add that I didn't get a bill and prices were not listed on the board where lunches were listed. I should have asked...

                        2. re: moochoo

                          Not since I was an adolescent. And back then I was not very good at it.

                          1. re: EaterBob

                            Beer is actually 5.5$ on the menu...

                2. re: alinemramos

                  Lallouz Café & Kebaberie and Kitchenette have good food and good value in the Village.

                  1. re: chowchow49

                    I don't know. I was actually quite disappointed by Lallouz. I didn't think it was that great value for money. The quality is decent but it's a bit expensive for a plate of fries with a few pieces of meat.

                3. I'm surprised no one has tried Cafe Mardi Gras yet on here.
                  It's a decent place although I'm not sure if everything taste authentic. I've had the Monica Crawfish special (a very garlicky cream pasta with small bits of crawfish), the gumbo (my first time ever I didn't like it much). The ambience is nice and they have a bunch of specials on drinks and stuff on their facebook. Prices are reasonable although I have to say their portions are quite small, I always leave the place still hungry.
                  I personally am not too satisfied with the place, but I've yet to try other important menu items. I would go back again.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Ghostquatre

                    I tried Cafe Mardi Gras about 6 weeks ago. The place looks promising, casual, with a nice looking menu.
                    They offer southern cocktails such as ramos gin fizz, Hurricanes, and sazeracs.
                    Plates are creole/cajun standards such as red beans&rice, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffe, and others such as the muffalata, shrimp this and that, and fried chicken.

                    We were served by a perky, fun waitress, but spied a very bored, newspaper-reading older chef at the bar. Lo and behold, it was Chef Micheal, creator of La Luisianne, Benedicts, and Mesquite BBQ.

                    We thought Chef Micheal was the owner here, but was confused as he was not the owner shown in a Gazette review...

                    I had ordered the sampler and Mrs. Porker, the crawfish Monica which seemed to be a sister plate of the pernod/cream dish shrimp magnolia.
                    The food was OK, but lacked depth and kick - it was dumbed down...

                    The owner walked in and we did talk to him. He's a New Orleans guy. I put one and one together and figure Chef Micheal is doing consulting work for him for the start-up (but I could be wrong)....

                    I''m wondering if the food is dumbed down by design, worrying about our northern tastes? Which would be a shame...

                    1. re: Ghostquatre

                      I've been twice to Mardi Gras. I loved it the first time, I was with a group and the very charming René took plenty of time to explain all the different menu options (food and drink). I had garlic bread, hush puppies, Creole shrimp (6 in the serving), and beignets. René's suggestion of eating hot sauce on the hush puppies was really addictive!

                      The second time was for the Mardi Gras special and I was disappointed. Less selection, higher price, no garlic bread if I remember right. I don't remember what my main was, but King Cake was included, and I found it rather dry. The band was lively if a bit loud.

                      also I don't know if this is still a special, but on Tuesday nights you can get a free bottle of wine for a table of 4 if everyone orders a main course.

                      I'd like to go back and try a few other things on the menu. One thing that is interesting is that you can get half portions of most of the mains, if you want to try lots of stuff.

                    2. Pataterie Chez Philippe, 1877 Amherst makes awesome burgers using a smashburger technique to get a perfect crust every time.

                      Their fries (as you would except from their name) are exceptional as well.

                      Homemade michigan sauce and something called "Le Zeke" where two grilled cheese sandwiches replace the bun on your hamburger.

                      Overall one of the better, if not best casse croutes in the city.

                      1 Reply
                      1. EaterBob had suggested Pataterie Chez Philippe (thanks, EaterBob) and I've just tried it. I didn't like their fries - too soggy - so I just couldn't finish them. The burger was good though - and for a price which is definitely worth it, and merits this place a good casse croute reputation.

                        I've also tried Coo Rouge (also on Amherst, almost across the street from the Pataterie). I found most of the mains in their dinner menu to be quite expensive ($20-$24) - at least for my budget at this point - so I just had a duck burger ($15), which came with salad and fries. It was good (and big - I couldn't finish it even though I was hungry). But for $21 after tax+tip, I'd rather eat something else, elsewhere.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: alinemramos

                          You're welcome, and next time you go, if you explain how you like your fries, I'm sure they will be able to accommodate you.