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May 1, 2013 05:55 PM

What's new Montreal??

Hey everyone!

I've been on the West Coast for the past year (I've relocated to San Francisco) and I won't lie -- I don't really miss the food scene back home too much! ;)

But I am excited to be coming back into the city for a couple of weeks next month with my wife, to visit family and friends, and I'm wondering if there are any new restaurants on the scene that are worth checking out?

I'm also looking forward to eating some good simple french food and regional terroir again (we've actually got way better down here but it's a completely different experience at an entirely different price point!) and I'm wondering if the same few bistros are just as consistent and great... Les 3PB, Chez l'Épicier, A5P, Laloux, etc? Any new names in similar style?

What about Greek food? I've been going to Vegera ever since Orexi closed it's doors. Is there anything better for the typical Mtl family style Greek stuff?

Any new bakeries or patisseries worth trying?

I feel kind of spoiled after moving to SF and there's certain things I once held sacred that I don't even think I'd enjoy anymore (most ethnic-asian foods, seafood, ice cream, etc.) but the beauty of returning home for short visits is that I can focus on what really counts and what Quebec does right, so please update me on what's been happening food-wise in La Belle Province since I've been absent!

Merci amis!! :)

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  1. A side note on Vegera, one of my fav family-run greek estiatorios. It is no more, having shut down last fall. Mom and dad retired, son now runs Namos, same location with a focus on mezes. Have a look at the menu.

    Will be checking it out over the next couple of weeks and let fellow CHs know of the experience. Crossing my fingers!!!!

    1. Vegera closed now too?!

      That stinks!

      I almost took my fiancee there last spring but the place was dead when we passed by, so we went to Joe Beef instead. Wish I hadn't done that now.

      Is Namos in the same location and do they still have the patio out back?

      I don't like the douchey interior redesign they did at all. Totally killed whatever atmosphere Vegera had, which wasn't much to begin with, but...

      Any idea if the food is at the same level/quality or if the same chefs are in the kitchen. Why rename and rebrand if the kids took it over?

      Is there anywhere left in Montreal to enjoy Greek food similar to Orexi or Vegera with patio seating?

      5 Replies
      1. re: OliverB

        Yes, same location, and yes to the patio. Not opened yet, I read they aim to open it for Saturday. They also do lunch (with a short lunch menu), I don't know if Vegera did that.

        1. re: OliverB

          Can't go wrong with Faros. In my opinion, it is one of the top greek joints in the city. I like it much better than Milos.

          1. re: OliverB

            Went to Namos (ex-Vegera) a day earlier than planned, and overall, a pretty good clone of the old Vegera but all mezes. Had to share the main room with a loud and boisterous group of 15 or so, all intent on watching the Glorieux lose to les Senateurs. Would have been even noisier if the Habs had won but alas....

            Oh yeah, the food. As this was later evening noshing, did 5 dishes between the 2 of us. Greek salad (chunky tomatoes, not very ripe, but flavorful nevertheless), mixed fried zucchini and eggplant with tzatziki (pretty good portion and thick, cream, garlicky tzatziki, very good), Tunisian octopus with capers, onions (very nicely though a little underdone for my SO), Saganaki (loved the flaming Ouzo touch, and a large piece of cheese, very nice). A couple of glasses of Kouros and a couple of Mythos beer. All in for just under $100.

            Would I go back??? Yup, more reasonably priced than Vegera, more manageable portions, and still had the family-run feel to it. Gave my regards to Peter (new proprietor, and son of Vegera's mom-and-pop operation). Kitchen was hopping but did an admirable job of keeping up. Service was friendly, efficient and there when you needed it. A keeper in my books.

            1. re: JohnnyGe

              Thanks for the feedback. What Vegera did best was their grilled fish though. I wonder if it'll be as good. I'll pass by when I'm in town and maybe give it a shot...

              1. re: OliverB

                My only quip with Namos is that the waiter recommended my friend and I order 7 mezes for the two of us, but we ordered way too much food. We easily had enough for a third person. We ended up spending about $75 each, tax, tip, and half a bottle of wine for the two of us included.

          2. A few "newer" places for you to check out are Park, Icehouse, Pastaga, Venti, Maison Boulud, Dominion Square Tavern, Deville Dinerbar, BEVO, Grumman 78.

            1. Thanks 514eats,

              Dominion Square Tavern is not exactly new - it's one of the city's oldest running bars, no?

              I've been to Icehouse many times and it's pretty good for a casual latenight meal with a group, but nothing special imo. I think Grumman is terrible and coming from California, it's really the last thing I want.

              Both Park and Pastaga opened while I was still in town but I haven't been; are they worth trying? Both are French, right - or is Park the Japanese offshoot of Kaizen? I've heard mixed reviews if so and I probably won't bother with any Asian food while in town. I'm mostly interested in eating French (and "Jewish" haha) as that's all that really impresses me in Montreal.

              Are the above suggestions the best of the "new breed" in town? I guess not much has changed...

              15 Replies
              1. re: OliverB

                not too many exciting places have opened recently
                check out maison publique, mezcla and project 67

                1. re: OliverB

                  Hotel Herman? I think it was not opened 1 year ago. Best thing to do is to look into the openings thread... I'm not sure you'll get a lot of replies with the way you're asking for it...

                  1. re: OliverB

                    Dominion Square Tavern was bought by the Baldwin Barmacie people and went through a complete reinvention. It now serves French brasserie food in an intimate yet trendy setting.

                    You're right about Icehouse and Grumman. I guess I wouldn't suggest them to someone from California. But for us Montrealers, they are great (especially Icehouse).

                    Park and Pastaga are excellent! Park is actually Japanese fusion and definitely worth your time. It serves the best fish out there.

                    Pastaga is French, and was featured in Air Canada's En Route's 10 best new restaurants in Canada for 2012.

                    Maison Boulud is definitely exciting news for Montreal, to have a superstar chef open up shop in town. Check out the duo de boeuf pic and chocolat coulant pics below (possibly the best dessert I've had in years).

                    1. re: 514eats

                      Dominion Square Tavern reopened in 2009.

                      1. re: 514eats

                        Wasn't Dominion Square renovated in 2009-2010? If OliverB has only be gone for a year it's not that new to him.

                        Although Park is good, I bet OliverB can find better in Cali.

                        My "not so new but new to me restaurant" is Osteria Venti. You cannot beat their lunch special at 18$ for two courses (23$ for three).

                        1. re: causeimhungry

                          Important to know though that Michele Forgione is not at Venti anymore... so I don't know how it is since he left?

                          1. re: Glaff

                            I went to Osteria Venti for lunch today (which is a very good deal an app and 1 plat for 18, or app, entree, dessert for 23). I had the charcutterie plate to start which was good but not great. My partner had the Chicory salad with capers
                            anchovies,asparagus & apple and said it was very good. For the main I wanted to have the Quebec lamb but they had just run out so I had Spaghetti with mussels & spicy sausage....the pasta was absolutely fantastic... usually i don't order pasta when I go out but I was very glad I had it. Most people in the restaurant were having Papperdelle with mushrooms & truffle paste which looked delicious I wish I had tried it.

                            The two downsides: The restaurant is very noisy due to the brick walls to the point you you had to practically yell across the table (a lot of the noise was from 10 drunk/hungover guys who kept yelling and banging the table) and the service was incredibly slow for lunch... it took just over half an hour to receive our apps... which didnt require any cooking.

                            Make sure to ask for bread.... it is phenomenal!

                            1. re: kpaxonite

                              I had pretty much the same experience 2-3 weeks ago.

                              Good food, good price but very noisy and rather slow.

                              I don't think they can do anything about the noise. There was no music, nor a table of drunks, and the restaurant was maybe 75% full but it was still very noisy.

                              Speed is definitely something they should improve though. I think we were there for a good hour and a half.

                        2. re: 514eats

                          "It now serves French brasserie food"

                          Unless things have changed very recently, the menu at Square Dominion is actually more British-inspired.

                          1. re: SnackHappy

                            My bad, you are absolutely right.

                          2. re: 514eats

                            Pastaga and park are my two least favorite restaurants in the city. I keep getting invited back, pastaga last week and park yesterday. Both meals were Terrible. I keep wanting to like them but I can't... I went to trois Petits bouchons last week and am still dreaming of the dates, octopus and mushroom tartine. I had lunch at brasserie T today and loved my confit salmon, fennel salad and a side of fries.

                          3. re: OliverB

                            interestingly enough, dominion square was one of the first gay bars in montreal in like the 70's and then became a dive / sports bar after that... so its current incarnation is only a few years old..

                            1. re: j_do

                              It's current incarnation restored much of the original room and bar to it's former glory. I remember it well as a divery sports bar because we used to sneak in as kids to score smokes from the cigarette machine. The new owners clearly put a lot of thought and good taste into the renovation. It's how the bar should have looked through the '70s-'90s.

                              1. re: OliverB

                                i have doubts the gay bar was done in a 1920's prohibition-chic decor....

                                1. re: j_do

                                  It was opened in 1927... not 1977.

                                  It was a prohibition-era gin mill long before it was a gay pickup joint.

                          4. Thanks!

                            I'll definitely check out Pastaga, is it the same chefs (Juneau?) behind La Montée de Lait that opened this place? I loved La Montée and was sad to see it close, so I will definitely give this new one a shot. It seems to serve brunch/lunch as well as dinner... is dinner the obvious way to go?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: OliverB

                              Yeah you're better off going for dinner. And yes, it's Juneau's latest venture.