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10th anniversary dinner with a picky husband

Hi there, hope someone can give me some advice for this one! My husband and I will be spending our 10th anniversary in Montreal in November. Neither of us have ever been. We will be staying at the Intercontinental and I am looking for somewhere to spend our anniversary dinner. I'd like it to be romantic, with delicious food, but my husband is pretty fussy. From some older posts I've read, I've thought perhaps Bonaparte, Lemeac, or maybe Les Filles du Roy. What do you think?

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  1. What is your husband pretty fussy about? What price range? What cuisine?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kpaxonite

      He's very non-adventurous, and he wants ingredients he understands. I would say he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy. As for price, I'd be happy spending under $200 with wine for the both of us. Traditional sounds lovely, but I'm not looking for uninspiring! Perhaps Lemeac is the way to go :)

    2. What kind of fussy?

      Of the 3, I'd go to Lemeac; Laloux or Cocagne could be suggested as alternatives (or maybe L'Auberge Saint-Gabriel).

      The other two seems to offer _VERY_ traditional french cuisine (and might I say uninspiring); is that what you are looking for ?

      1. I have brought many picky eaters to Lemeac and they have all loved it. Never had any picky eaters dine there who didn't enjoy their meal.

        1. My wife is a picky eater and she enjoyed Lemeac, I think the menu has something for everyone. I don't know if it fits the "romantic" bill though which is a very subjective term of course as it could get slightly loud.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JerkPork

            Hence the dilemma! Ultimately I suppose I would be better off at a steakhouse, but I was hoping for something a little more "french" :)

          2. I think you should stick to restaurants in old Montreal. Auberge St Gabriel, Toque and Club Chasse et Peche are all wonderful and romantic French restaurants. They are the best of the best with prices to match. My favorite would be CCC. Chez l'Epicier and 400 coups are both delicious but a little avant garde so not sure if they would appeal to a picky eater. Da Emma and Graziella are both wonderful Italian restaurants in old Montreal that are sure to appeal to the pickiest person.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Gloriaa

              Just read some of your posts and would recommend, with reservations, Gibby's. It's a very old school steak house in a beautiful old building in Montreal. Haven't been in years but it is an institution and people love it!

              1. re: Gloriaa

                The menu there looks perfect for my husband! Has anyone seen a menu with prices? I'll assume its in our price range?

                1. re: jenniferbn

                  Da Emma would definitely fit the bill for traditional Italian in a more "candle light" setting as opposed to the bright Lemeac. Emma's pasta dishes are stupendous and I believe they serve steak too, I've never had it but I highly recommend the slow roasted piglet they serve. Gloria's recs as she mentions are probably not going to do it for your husband.

                  Gibby's IIRC is similar to US steakhouse prices, $40ish per steak and I believe sides are extra. I had a really good steak a few years ago and then a so so one on my last visit.

                  1. re: JerkPork

                    Da Emma sounds nice! I can't find a website online though! Weird. Thank you very much for your recos :)

                    1. re: jenniferbn

                      There is one, I just tried? Try Restaurant Da Emma.

                        1. re: JerkPork

                          I got confused, there is a website daemmarestaurant.com. I should looked a little closer. Sorry.

                          1. re: Gloriaa

                            If you look even closer you will see that the website doesnt work.

                      1. re: JerkPork

                        Just to chime in on Gibby's, I was there about a year ago and a choice of "basic" sides were indeed included with all main courses (baked potato, fries, mashed, rice, maybe a veggie medley...)

                        They do have other upscale sides that are sold separately. I believe they also brought a dish of excellent homemade pickles and cole slaw on the house, plus a loaf of hot fresh bread which we sliced ourselves.

                        The nice thing about Gibby's is they have a large selection of non-steak items, including chicken, fish, ribs, etc. I've never ordered anything but steak however I know people who swear by their chicken and fresh fish dishes.

                        When we were there it was for my mom's birthday, which we told our server. At the end of the meal they brought a huge and delicious cake (for free!) which was big enough that I was able to take half of it home. It wasn't the usual garbage freebie cake some restaurants throw in; it was loaded with real whipped cream and fruit (I think peaches) and came from their own in-house bakery. We weren't expecting anything and they wowed us with this touch.

                        Prices there are very reasonable for the quality and ambiance. They also offer free valet parking, very nice when parking in Old Montreal is challenging and/or it's cold out.

                        1. re: Cookiehead

                          Thanks so much for the informative response! It does sound like it would be right up his alley and a nice place for an anniversary dinner :)

                          1. re: jenniferbn

                            i just wanted to correct myself so I wouldn't mislead you. I checked the online menu after I posted (doh!) and didn't see any ribs. I could have sworn they did have ribs last time so possibly the menu has changed. If you have your heart set on ribs you better not count on Gibby's.

                            1. re: Cookiehead

                              Hahaha...that's ok. We actually live in Florida so I can live without getting ribs in Montreal :)

                      2. re: jenniferbn

                        I have not been in years but I too would assume it is in your price point. The Intercontinental is a beautiful hotel in old Montreal with some of the best and most romantic restaurants in the city so I would highly recommend eating close by.

                  2. :)) 10 years and he is a picky eater...how'd ya last? I would say order in and enjoy the romance..does it matter what you eat with a good bottle of champagne even strawberries and cream can do the job :))

                    1. Just to mix up your options a bit, I think it's fair to say that most restaurants in Montreal will have some unadventurous items, but many will not have an abundance of exciting options. Given that this is an anniversary for you both, and that food seems to be more of a priority for you, perhaps a compromise can be made in finding a restaurant that fits both of your interests. Gibby's is certainly good for the unadventurous, but I'd go so far as to say that it's stodgy and boring. I always hesitate in recommending it to tourists, especially those from the US where steakhouses are often more common.

                      There's no reason that your husband wouldn't be able to enjoy his meal at some of the other options mentioned (i.e. Da Emma or Lemeac), or even some not mentioned, like Joe Beef. The latter is known for having some unusual menu items (on my last visit, horse in several incarnations, deer, foie gras double-down, etc), but they also have a very good and very traditional steak that is consistently on the menu.
                      Just some food for thought... or thought for food.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Fintastic

                        I like the way you think Fintastic! As long as there are a couple options on the menu that he would be happy with, I think we'll be ok. We're there for 5 days, we can always hit a steakhouse if necessary another night. :) I'd love the restaurant to be french in inclination just to solidify our Montreal experience. :)

                        1. re: jenniferbn

                          Jenn, we know your husband's preferences but I don't think you've mentioned yours.

                          His opinion doesn't actually matter too much, I should know as I'm a husband too!! :)

                          You mention French cuisine, anything else? Since you are here for 5 days you can try a few different places as opposed to if you were just staying for a weekend. Are you looking for just one special meal or do all five dinners have to be memorable?

                          1. re: JerkPork

                            OMG, I love you JerkPork! You're awesome :) I'm actually pretty easy. I love going to new places. I like all kinds of cuisines, and I will usually try something I haven't had before or can't make at home. I am not a big fan of offal though, although I know thats become rather trendy lately. Primarily what I am looking for is a nice, whole "experience" for our anniversary. I'm also really looking forward to trying a few bistros. Another thing I didn't mention is my husband is British, so I would imagine a pub or two will be in the cards :)

                            1. re: jenniferbn

                              You might want to consider Maison Publique, Jamie Oliver's Montreal pub. I had a great brunch there and it is probably good for dinner too.

                              1. re: jenniferbn

                                Hi, you should have lunch at the burgundy lion on notre dame and diner at either joe beef or the liverpool house.
                                If you feel like french bistro, l express on st denis is my personal favorite in the city and he will find something to his taste there... if he doesn t, you shoukd consider someone else... lol!

                                1. re: bizonne

                                  Thanks so much! Lexpress is definitely on the list :)