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.
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.
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...)
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.
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...
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.
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 :-)
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).
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.
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)....http://www.chefmichel-concepts.com/
I''m wondering if the food is dumbed down by design, worrying about our northern tastes? Which would be a shame...
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for all the advice. My apologies for not writing back sooner, the move has kept me busy and without Internet :(.
I'll be trying mardi gras sometime soon, my girlfriend won't let me get away without taking her there once. I'm disappointed that chipotle and Jalapeno is that expensive, it was on my list of places to check out.
Just tried Cafe Mardi Gras the other day with my gilfriend. It was alright, pretty expensive for the portions.
I ordered the taster platter thing and an order of fried chicken+grits. (I asked if I could just get some fried chicken a la carte and he said no)
The Jumbalaya was very good. Great flavor, although I wish there was more meat in there.
The crawfish bowl was probably the least favorite of the three. They were overcooked and rubbery.
My girlfriend loved the cajun shrimp bowl. The taster bowl only comes with 2 shrimp, though, which was a bit disappointing.
The fried chicken was just okay. The skin was completely detatched from the chicken, so a bit overcooked. The grits were very good and I thought that the portion was pretty fair.
Overall, decent taste, but bad value. On top of the bad value, the guy who was there messed up our order and we only realised it about 3 minutes after getting it. We didn't really know any of the stuff we were ordering (first time eating cajun food) so there was some food missing when we let him know. He seemed annoyed with us the rest of the time we were there, which was a turnoff. He did seem really nice before that, though.
They give you garlic baguette to start off with, though, which was unexpected but awesome!