Local summer restaurant ? Great chef ? (visiting from SF)
I'm working on my homework for enjoying a long weekend in Montreal (starting today), and I'm hoping for some recommendations.
I've read a lot of the standard lists including the Poutine place, the montreal bagel places, the beer places, the markets, all good - check, check. We do not need Vietnamese.
I desire : newer "local twist on quebecois" type restaurants, local produce, innovative chef, etc? Expect good wine list, we eat everything.
For SF savvy, something like Commonwealth, Saison, Atelier Crenn, Rich Table, State Bird. ie, we're jaded already so if we're making a trip, it better be excellent.
Challenge: we have no reservations and want to eat this weekend, so are willing to call around or "sneak in early and sit at the bar".
We will be staying roughly in the Old Port neighborhood, plan to have no car, but are intrepid with our Google Maps, Metro passes, taking taxis. Anything from downtown to old montreal to plateau or near a metro stop is certainly fair game.
No price limit.
Thank you, I appreciate the pointer to the thread. I had done a bit of searching, but this is really the thread I'm looking for.
These kind of "help I need a recommendation!" last minute threads are common on the SF board, so I figure I'm due after answering so many :-)
APDC seems VERY french, and not as "local", correct? It's also listed as "not stuffy" but that menu is straight-up french.
The 400 Blows - at least I've seen the film - has reservations available on OT on the early and late side, might be our target for Saturday night.
Food Lab looks pretty cool - might be a friday night under the stars option, although I noted the FoodLab -> 4C two-fer.
But... here's what I'm wondering.
In northern VT / Burlington, where I have and aunt and uncle, and in western MA, there are a number of small places driven by very local produce, such as tied to specific local farms, and some innovative cooking.
Is there anything similar in the Montreal area?
"APDC seems VERY french, and not as "local", correct?"
Completely incorrect, although it has its critics, APDC is about as Montreal as it gets. He uses Quebec ingredients as much as possible.Nothing to do with French food either.
But you will not find a restaurant like Waterbury`s Hen of the Woods in Montreal I am afraid if that is what you are looking for.
Ah. Perhaps the style of menu is throwing me off, it seems like the kind of menu that is kept year round, impossible with a restaurant focused on seasonal changes and using what is fresh that day.
The restaurants I mentioned in SF have daily menus and, on the web site, examples from previous days or seasons.
It seems that's not the style here.
That is in part because the specials aren't on the online menu. If you go I recommend ordering of the daily special menu for the most part... things like duck in a can are for tourists and the novelty factor. If you aren't familiar with the restaurant watch Bourdain's trips to montreal on youtube ... APDC also runs that type of farm thing you mentioned except it isnt open now, its a sugar shack in the spring and an apple orchard in the fall (sorry I don't know any other farm restaurants, I know there are some but they aren't super popular).
As for your challenge, I suggest you do what other posters said- late rather than early.. and at places like apdc the bar seats are reserved.
One more point about farm-to-table: Vermont is basically one big forest and farm, and most residents own cars, thus I think it is fairly common to have the direct farm-restaurant associations as they are much more accessible. The population of Vermont is also uniquely health and environmentally-conscious. San Francisco also has a leg up in this regard as it basically has a year-long growing season. Near Montreal things only grow from the ground for 6 months a year and many city residents have limited options for reaching farmland, so I think such restaurants are rare because they aren't sustainable. Thinking of things to serve in February becomes more of a challenge with dishes based primarily on roots, tubers, and greenhouse produce.
That said, when coming from California one might also have to adjust their measures of farm-to-table. Meat is Quebec's produce. Although this time of year we have any great fruits and vegetables, it tends not to be the primary focus. When you go to Lawrence and order duck hearts or calf brains, you know that these have been acquired from their local partners and butchered in-house. When you go to APDC and order the foie gras, or seafood platters, or anything with pig and maple syrup, you know these products are coming from their sole duck supplier, by plane directly from Magdalen island fishermen, and APDC's own production farm, respectively. Because restaurants can get duck and pork products year-round, menus like APDC's may seem stagnant, although the ingredients themselves are certainly not. It is simply a different approach to farm-to-table than you might be used to.
SAB Food Lab is worth a try. Its not far from Vieux Montreal (the proper name for the 'Old Port'). It's on St. Laurent and Rene Levesque.
If you want a "local twist on Quebecois" places I would suggest the following, with the chef's name in parenthesis (in no particular order):
Les 400 Coups (Marc-André Jetté), 400 Notre Dame E 514–985–0400
Le Sinclair (Stelio Perombelon), 125 St Paul O 514–284–3332
Le Renard (Jason Nelson), 330 Mont Royal E 514 508–2728
Evoo (Sophie Ouellet & Peter Saunders), 3426 Notre Dame O 514.846.3886
Bouillon Bilk (François Nadon), 1595 St Laurent 514.845.1595
Comptoir vins et charcuteries (Ségué Lepage), 4807 St Laurent, 514-844-8467
If you're not going to be making reservations I strongly urge you to eat later rather than earlier. Most restaurants here are extremely nervous about filling tables before a reservation. Things get much more relaxed after about 9:30 - 10 o'clock.
Have fun and please report back and let us know where you ended up eating.
"Hotel Herman", "La Salle à Manger" could be 2 good choices.
Both have good wines; both are "québécois"