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Montreal - Couple Recs for a past Montrealer?

j
jonny8 Sep 18, 2013 11:50 AM

Returning to Montreal for 4-5 days next week and I am looking for a couple solid places to eat. Haven't been back since I left which was 2 years ago so I am out of the loop food wise but have done some research. I will also be in Toronto for a few days beforehand so don't need any Chinese/sushi/Korean/ramen recs.

Places that I used to eat in Montreal (to name a few) and that I am planning to go to again while I am in town are: Kazu, Romados, Maison du Nord, Bombay Mahal, Leméac, St. Viateur's, Kem Coba, etc.

Any new places similar to those restaurant style's that are worth going to? Going to Leméac for their late night menu deal but are there any others worth a try? And any new places in Chinatown 2 that I must try?

A couple new places (that I haven't been to) I am debating are:
- Bouillon Milk
- Satay Brothers
- Hotel Hermain vs. Le Filet - which one?
- Italian - maybe Pastaga or a friend suggested Brama? I liked Bottega and Pizzeria Napoletana/Magpie (but these are more pizza places, I'm looking for a good pasta place).

Thanks!

  1. l
    lagatta Sep 25, 2013 09:16 AM

    I hope you are enjoying your visits. Now the weather forecast is lovely for terrasse dining, spontaneous picnics and also fair-weather joys.

    5 Replies
    1. re: lagatta
      j
      jonny8 Sep 30, 2013 01:52 PM

      Thanks everyone for chipping in and for some great recs! Sorry I did not reply back until now, I didn't have very much access to internet while I was in town. Weather was fantastic and food was amazing as per usual.

      Here's a quick debrief on some of the places I went to:

      Wednesday
      - Juliette et Chocolat - had a banatella brownie. Moist, delicious and rich as always.
      - Impasto (thanks for the rec, I really really enjoyed it) - shared a couple of dishes with a friend. We had the homemade Apuglia style sausage with rapini in an apple vinegar, mafalde pasta with rabbit ragu, chicory and olives, Nonno's porchetta roast and tiramisu. Everything was amazing - full of flavour and cooked perfectly. The porchetta was massive.
      - La Distillerie - one of my favourite bars. Went and had a few maison jars (Chupa Chupa & Sangria Caliente). Place was absolutely packed for a Wednesday night...

      Thursday
      - Leméac - we went for the after 10pm special. In a nutshell, it wasn't as good as I was expecting. The appetizers were great (pankoe crusted goat cheese with apple and walnut salad, grilled calamari with zucchini, and the escargots in a basil butter sauce). The escargot sauce was green and frothy. Very cool. I was not very impressed with my main (duck leg confit with salad and roasted potato fingerlings). Duck was dry, slightly shriveled and same with the potatoes. My two friends had the sea salt salmon pot au feu (AMAZING) and the toulouse sausage with a salad (decent). We were more impressed with the knife that comes with cutting the sausage (long story). Also, it probably didn't help that our waiter was dreadful to put it nicely. He even managed to put down their coffee supplier (Moi Toi Café) when we were asked about tea/coffee at the end of the night.

      Friday
      - Bouillon Bilk - went for a late lunch and lucky they had a spare table as we had no reservations. We had the soup (cream broccoli with goat cheese and grapes), salad (mixed greens with coleslaw), gnocchi (with shrimp, squash and sage), veal flank steak (with chorizo, clams and coriander), and red sea bass (with spetzel, ratatouille and brussel sprouts). All the dishes looked flawless and was just as tasty. Think my favourite was the gnocchi, the sauce was just so good and the gnocchi was light, not heavy, you know?
      - Patisserie Boulangerie Afroditi - my aunt's favourite greek dessert place. We ordered a bunch of little cakes/desserts and a couple pieces of baklava. My favourite was the crème brulee. YUM. And the baklava was super fresh.
      - Romados - 1/2 chicken with fries. Still can't believe they haven't raised prices. $10 is a steal. We called ahead of time and got to skip the massive line out the door. Ate outside at Jeanne Mance Park as the weather was amazing. Devoured 99% of it.

      Saturday
      - Olive et Gourmando - grabbed an almond croissant and headed down to the waters to soak in the sunshine.
      - JTM - wondered around and sampled all the fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, bought an orchid for my grandma's birthday!
      - Quincaillerie Dante - stopped in for a look as I've heard great things about this place and it is packed with awesome kitchen stuff. Place is cramped but I guess that's part of it's charm.
      - Kem Coba - must have been because the weather was so nice but there was a huge lineup! We waited for about 20 minutes or so and got a pint of raspberry sorbet to go. So refreshing and packed with a punch of flavour.
      - Maison du Nord - was by myself so I only ordered a spicy noodle bowl with pork and cucumbers (although tried ordering dumplings but they were sold out). Massive bowl but I powered through. Just the right amount of spice/heat to the noodles and cucumbers nice and crunchy. Anyone know what type of cucumbers they use?
      - Supermarché PA - my favourite grocery store. Went inside and took a look - can't believe they have an upstairs now to take out food. Still amazing deals and I bought some Valentina hot sauce bottles ($1.50/each).

      Sunday
      - Last lunch meal = where else to go but Kazu. Side note - I actually tried to go there Saturday evening at 8:30pm and the lineup was crazy. Made sure I got there early Sunday and we were first in line (no one started lining up until about 11:45am). We had 48 hour pork with rice and red ginger, ramen and the shrimp burger. Each dish comes with a salad or soup (egg and ginger). So freakin' delicious. We sat at the bar and got to see them make work their magic.
      - Pâtisserie Harmonie - we got bubble tea to go. Had a mango BBT. Very refreshing, not too sweet.
      - St. Viateur's Bagels - couple dozen bagels (3 to be exact) purchased to be consumed lovingly at home.

      All in all, great meals and loved bixing around everywhere­ (one of my favourite things in Montreal). Not enough time to try a couple other places I had on my list (400 Coups, Hotel Hermain but I did bixi past them in longing). Thanks again for the suggestions.

      1. re: jonny8
        l
        lagatta Sep 30, 2013 07:07 PM

        I'm glad you had such a lovely time (despite a few inevitable disappointments) and such stellar Equinox weather. Didn't know you were an urban cyclist, but you didn't really need any cues. I cycle everywhere, except in the depths of winter.

        Ha! This week Valentina sauce is 99 cents at PA. Not that it makes a great difference. That is a very mild "hot" sauce that is handy when one has to eat bland foods.

        A friend who grew up in Mtl now loads up on PA stuff every time she comes here.

        1. re: jonny8
          c
          carfreeinla Oct 11, 2013 06:04 PM

          You caught Kem Coba on the last day of the season- as did I. IMHO Montreal's best.

          1. re: carfreeinla
            j
            jonny8 Oct 15, 2013 02:59 PM

            Ah, carfreeinla, guess I was super lucky! No wonder there was such a massive line, everyone was getting in their last scoops of the season.

            lagatta, I know, the lady at PA gipped me $1.00! Lucky I love them. Do you know a better Mexican hot sauce?

            And yeah, one of my favourite things in Montreal is to bixi around. I was debating buying a month pass while I was here for 5 days...hahaha. When I lived here, I used it so much, my bixi stats were amazing.

            1. re: jonny8
              l
              lagatta Oct 15, 2013 08:20 PM

              No, I think you were there the week before, when the Valentina sauce was $1.99. Their specials run Monday to Sunday, not beginning Thursday like the big chains.

              Valentina is a very mild hot sauce, but also useful for that very reason, more flavourful than fiery. You can find a wide variety in Latino food shops: I can't tell you the best as that depends on individual taste.

      2. m
        marblebag Sep 23, 2013 02:30 PM

        Maison du Nord has fallen off the map compared to the other new Chinatown2 places mentioned by others. I like Misoya (best broth in Montreal(,

        1. j
          j_do Sep 22, 2013 02:05 PM

          Brama has some good pasta but the "supper club" kind of atmosphere is not amazing.

          Nora Gray is a cool option for Italian that hasn't been mentioned and Riccardo Bertolino, the chef de cuisine at Maison Boulud, makes some insane pasta IMO, there is usually a pasta dish on the menu.

          1. f
            finefoodie55 Sep 19, 2013 06:24 AM

            For something different try Damas . Great middle eastern food served well with a great wine selection (including several choices of Bekka Valley wines) Voted best middle eastern restaurant by Food and Wine Magazine.

            6 Replies
            1. re: finefoodie55
              j
              jonny8 Sep 19, 2013 09:47 AM

              Thanks finefoodie55, I was considering Damas or possibly Kaza Maza/Le Petit Alep.

              Also, I stumbled across a Venezuelan place called Arepera du Plateau. Anyone been? Worth going to?

              1. re: jonny8
                j
                JerkPork Sep 19, 2013 10:10 AM

                jonny, I've been to Arepera du Plateau, it was alright nothing outstanding, it has gotten some praise on this board. The Arepas were very fresh and seemed "made to order", I don't know if ours weren't cooked enough but they seemed a bit too mushy and lacked some salt. I had mine with a filling of pork.

                1. re: jonny8
                  l
                  lagatta Sep 19, 2013 10:16 AM

                  Jonny, all those restaurants are very good, but Damas is much higher end (but very reasonable for the quality), Kaza Maza has lovely mezze and Petit Alep is casual - a bistro, and you can do it cheaply but also order anything on the menu of the fancier Restaurant Alep next door. I love Petit Alep, but it doesn't take reservations (please correct me, anyone, if this has changed) so there can be a wait in the evening. Note that Petit Alep is just across the street from Jean-Talon Market.

                  The "Shut up and Eat" blog has a good description of Arepera with photos: http://www.shutupandeat.ca/2011/08/08...

                  I've enjoyed the arepas I bought there, but always ate them, with friends, in a nearby park. The weather is lovely now, if it holds you can enjoy that next week.

                  1. re: jonny8
                    f
                    finefoodie55 Sep 19, 2013 01:08 PM

                    I love all three but Damas is a clear step up on all fronts

                    1. re: jonny8
                      c
                      carfreeinla Sep 21, 2013 07:53 PM

                      I really like Arepera du Plateau. Very low key and friendly and the arepas are wonderful ( and mostly everything is gluten free).

                      1. re: carfreeinla
                        l
                        lagatta Sep 22, 2013 06:14 AM

                        Are you truly carfree in L.A.? bravo...

                        They are very good arepas. Our dismal weather today should blow over before jonny's visit, if he wants the joy of a locavore picnic, between Arepera and all the foods available on boulevard St-Laurent aka the Main.

                  2. g
                    Gloriaa Sep 18, 2013 12:13 PM

                    I really like Bouillon Bilk and Le Filet, but my new favorite would have to be Impasto in little Italy. It is a great resto from the dynamic duo, Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione. The vibe is great and the food is great. They have wonderful pasta dishes. Pastaga is not Italian and is not, IMO, very good.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Gloriaa
                      j
                      jonny8 Sep 18, 2013 07:26 PM

                      Oh my bad, I don't know why I thought Pastaga was Italian. Looks like I need to go to Impasto, you both recommended it!

                      Is Bouillon Bilk better to go to at lunch or dinner?

                      1. re: jonny8
                        g
                        Gloriaa Sep 19, 2013 05:11 AM

                        I had a wonderful poutine at Bouillon Bilk for lunch last spring. It is one of my favorite lunch spots.

                        1. re: Gloriaa
                          m
                          Maximilien Sep 19, 2013 08:46 AM

                          "poutine at Bouillon Bilk"

                          That does not feels right for BB.

                          Can you tell us about that ?

                          1. re: Maximilien
                            e
                            EaterBob Sep 19, 2013 08:54 AM

                            Right from their lunchtime menu:
                            dinde confite poutine $13

                            http://www.bouillonbilk.com/menu_jour

                            1. re: EaterBob
                              m
                              Maximilien Sep 19, 2013 09:39 AM

                              ok.

                        2. re: jonny8
                          c
                          C70 Sep 19, 2013 07:28 AM

                          it's not you, it does sound like a cheap pasta joint. dumb name, especially in that neighborhood.

                          1. re: C70
                            g
                            Gloriaa Sep 19, 2013 07:44 AM

                            Pastaga is a colloquialism of pastis and is generally used in the south of France near Marseille. The name does make sense but does invite confusion.

                          2. re: jonny8
                            a
                            AlexCV Sep 25, 2013 09:34 AM

                            I've been for both lunch and dinner service. Dinner service was more sophisticated as can be expected but the lunch menu is great value and original.

                        3. j
                          JerkPork Sep 18, 2013 12:03 PM

                          Pastaga is not Italian, try Impasto for Italian nearby it's a new place and so far the critics love it, myself included. Make reservations now if you are going to be here next week.

                          So do you want Chinese recs or not? Lol…Your post contradicts itself regarding your Chinese stance.

                          Definitely make your pit stop to Kem Coba, still outstanding.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: JerkPork
                            j
                            jonny8 Sep 18, 2013 07:24 PM

                            Thanks JerkPork! Sorry for the confusion. I was just curious if any new restaurants opened in Chinatown 2 area that was worth checking out. When I left, so many places started opening up. If there's anything worth going to, I'd definitely be interested so any recs, let me know.

                            I will look into Impasto. What kind of dishes did you enjoy there?

                            1. re: jonny8
                              p
                              Plateaumaman Sep 21, 2013 07:04 AM

                              There are a bunch of new places in Chinatown 2 and some places that were great that are no a bit more uneven (like Cuisine Szechuan). Qing Hua is still great. There's decent ramen at Misoya but as you are planning on Kazu and ramen in Toronto, not really necessary. I like Nudo in Chinatown, and Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot which has been renovated recently. I tried Satay Brothers this summer and enjoyed the laksa but service was slow and erratic. If I find myself at Atwater Market again I'd definitely give it another try. Le Filet is very good, addictive scallop, avocado and beet salad, also the tuna tartare was a highlight for me.

                              For more casual new choices I might add Saint Sushi Bar, pot stickers at Chinoiseries et Dumpling, Trip de Bouffe and everyone should go to Kouign Amann?

                              1. re: Plateaumaman
                                l
                                lagatta Sep 21, 2013 07:49 AM

                                Trip de Bouffe - yes, including their pita. Any former Montrealer might even be a bit bored by the idea of Lebanese takeaway, but it is much more brightly flavoured than what you are probably used to. Their pitas are not only tasty - they hold up to make good pocket sandwiches, not crumbling as mass-produced ones often do. A very good version of muhammara (which is originally Syrian) and many other treats.

                                1. re: lagatta
                                  a
                                  AlexCV Sep 25, 2013 09:30 AM

                                  I absolutely love their baba ghanouj.

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