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Jul 26, 2013 09:25 PM

Joe Beef without reservations

Hi all -

My wife and I are planning a semi-last minute trip to Montreal in mid-August to celebrate a new job and the fact that we have childcare lined up for our kids.

I've watched Bourdain since "A Chef's Tour" and am aware of Joe Beef. It looks like there really are no reservations (lowercase) when we will be there on OpenTable.

Is it possible to get there early and wait for an opening on a weeknight? Liverpool House has availability, however. Is it similar to Joe Beef? Alternatively, are there any alternatives that you recommend? We're price conscious but certainly willing to pay for good food.

Thank you for any insights you may have.

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  1. Their new restaurant (wine bar) Le Vin Papillon would be a good option. They don't take reservation right now for this restaurant, so you can just show up early. By the way, all their restaurants are closed for vacations and are reopening August 13.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Glaff

      Thank you Glaff! I saw the summer vacation notice on their site. We're targeting the week after.

      Any suggestions for a good inexpensive place for lunch or dinner?

      Thanks again - appreciate the input.

      1. re: nick_d

        PDC is similar to Joe Beef but about half the price per pound. Usually the daily specials are good. As for inexpensive lunch or dinner, I guess it depends on what kind of food you're looking for. I posted a list of our favourite restaurants recently:

    2. You won't get an opening that way, but it never hurts to call early in the afternoon to see if there are any cancellations. Liverpool is a worthy alternative, and Vin Papillon is just as good, but slightly lighter fare.

      1. Thanks again.

        I've got a table at PDC for my wife and I and we're currently running down a reliable babysitter for George (our 4 month old...and we chose that name before William and Kate).

        We got a great rate through hotwire at the Le Westin in Old Montreal.

        Also I just saw this and will read carefully along with everyone's 30 best lists -

        We're open to any other suggestions that you may have and getting very excited for our first vacation in 2 years.

        6 Replies
        1. re: nick_d

          Not for dinner but Olive & Gourmando is down the street from your hotel for great pastries or lunch!

          1. re: nick_d

            Also, during the afternoon nap, a drink at Boris Bistro terrace is great... again steps away from the Westin, lots of shade for little George and plenty of room for the stroller!

            1. re: Claudine_d

              Thanks Claudine - any suggestions for a quick breakfast and/or great cup of coffee near the Le Westin?

              1. re: nick_d

                Best coffee is that area is Cafe Differance at 449 Viger. O&G is good for breakfast... Even pick up pastries and sit by the water. le Cartet can also be a good option... But, both fill up early (11am) on week-ends! On week-ends, don't expect much earlier (8am) in the area!

                1. re: nick_d

                  Olive & Gourmando is a solid suggestion for breakfast, too! (not an eggs and bacon-type breakfast, but a French croissants, pastries and good coffee type).

              2. re: nick_d

                FYI, if you have George with you, you can bring him along to APDC in a child seat or stroller - as long as he's sleeping, it's not a problem bringing babies to restaurants. Although it can be on the loud side, so if he's not a good sleeper, then perhaps stick with the babysitter option.

              3. Hi all - any other suggestions for places not to be missed for lunch/dinner? I've got a reservation at FoodLab (Labo culinaire) as well.

                Thanks again!

                1. OK - so far we've eaten at Vallier, APDC, and Olive & Gourmando.

                  Vallier - this was dinner after a long drive to Montreal. The atmosphere and service were fantastic.Very French-feeling bistro with open windows bringing in lots of fresh air. Vallier had steady traffic and we were not the only people in there with a child. The food was completely serviceable as well. I got a burger and my wife got a fish BLT. The burger was on the well side of medium well and came with a salad and some kind of dijon vinaigrette. Overall, it was better than average, but nothing truly outstanding. The fish BLT had delicious bacon and was a unique taste. The fish was properly cooked, too. I think we could have done a lot worse ending up at Vallier, regardless of how tired/hungry we were. The atmosphere and excellent waitstaff make it worthy of consideration.

                  Olive & Gourmando - wow. We had the best breakfast at O&G. I had the 'poached egg on your face'. It was spectacular, starting with the bread and ending with the nice kick of a bit of sriracha. The acidity of the roasted tomatoes and the excellent oueff with plenty of yolk left made it very special. My wife's plain sounding 'granola' was similarly outstanding. The fruit salad with julienne fruit salad, including fig wedges, was beyond tasty. A chocolate croissant topped off an outstanding meal. Great service and great atmosphere as well. The only thing I can think of was that the drip coffee wasn't anything spectacular (but the latte was). But this is an exceptionally minor 'gripe' (if you can call it that).

                  APDC - We started with a daily special pate, the tomato tartlet, and a fried zucchini appetizer that isn't on the menu online. All were outstanding, with the zucchini being on another level. The zucchini appeared almost like a tempura - but way better - and each was very light and airy. The pate had all kinds of goodness, including foie gras, and came with a big slice of bread. The tomato tartlet looked a bit like a pizza on a croissant, but with way better cheese. For the main course, I got the Melting Pot and my better 99% got the Happy Pork Chop. I lack the vocabulary to describe the deliciousness of the Melting Pot's blood sausage, mashed potatoes, and other bits of ungulate. However, my wife thought the Happy Pork Chop was just 'good' and was a bit dry. She did love the Melting Pot. I think I'll be able to make a few candles from all the lard that will be oozing from my pores over the next few days. The service was flawless and APDC's in a really neat area of town which we explored a bit after.

                  Cafe Differance - just got a drip coffee when we happened to be walking by and it was very good. Great service as well, but it was dead in there.

                  I'll post my thoughts on our next stops and Foodlab (we may not make it though).