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Sep 29, 2013 11:09 AM

Early Dinners in Montreal?

Not just to avoid noise, but our tendency is to eat early because
we eat fairly early at home. Will this be a problem in Montreal,
as it would definitely be in Spain, and to some extent Italy.
Early to us might be 5:30pm, but 6 would be ok.

I'm also glad to see that I'm not the only person married to a picky eater,
or at least to a total non-foodie like me. Finding spots to eat that will please husband as well as me is important in my planning.

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  1. You will be fine (perhaps better off) dining at 6 - I can't think of any restaurants that aren't open then, and you might find it easier to find a table for the first seatings of the night.

    As for the picky-eaters, I'll emphasize what I posted a week or two ago: there are plenty of great restaurants in town serving both very unusual and very safe dishes side-by-side, but trying to find a restaurant that caters specifically to selective eaters will doom you to a disappointing meal. One thing to keep in mind is that things like beef steak (from a cow) or chicken tend to be less prominent on menus in Montreal: often you'll find bison, game meat, or perhaps even horse steaks in place of the former and guinea hen or cornish game in place of the latter. Also, boar will sometimes be substituted for pork. However, I suspect that most diners would fail to distinguish the exotic specialties from their standard cousins. Thus, if you end up at Quartier General, as one example, the Surf n' Turf might consist of Bison and Lobster, but one would never know if from the typical version. We certainly don't eat seal heart and veal brain for every meal, so your husband won't have to either!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Fintastic

      Bison is a wild, North American cousin of cattle (it is accepted as both kosher and halal, if slaughtered accordingly). I have a red-meat loving Argentinian friend who prefers our bison to our beef - it tastes more like their grass-fed beef.

      You can always phone or check websites for opening hours, but most will be open by six, and it will be quieter.

      1. re: lagatta

        I agree - Bison and horse almost always taste better in my experience, as long as they've been used appropriately for the dish.

        1. re: Fintastic

          Some people find horsemeat too sweet, and of course for others, used to riding horses, it is a taboo except in times of dire necessity (war, starvation...).

          Bison is great, and reared bison is not endangered; on the contrary, some started bison ranches to bring these magnificent bovines back from the brink.

          It is a great choice for people who like red meat but have to watch their fat and cholesterol intake.

          1. re: lagatta

            Bison that is sold in restaurant are all ranch raised . They are not the same thing as the wild version and they are definitely not wild (which would imply that they are hunted and not raised on ranches).

            1. re: williej

              You are right - of course they are ranched.

    2. places like Lemeac, L'Express (among others) will be open early and offer good food and will have enough choices for picky husband.

      Other places like icehouse (taco/fried chicken, southern food ) will also be opened early.

      1. We are so into Bison: eat it at home often. Far preferable
        to beef, cholesterol-wise, and tastes great. My husband isn't really picky, so much as food just isn't as important to him as it is to me! And in general, he is not at all adventurous. I will eat anything other people are eating, just to see if I like it. We are going both going to have a blast food-wise in Montreal!

        1. Go wait in line at 5pm and eat at 5:30pm at Kazu !

          1 Reply
          1. re: marblebag

            This is actually great advice... certainly the best casual Japanese that Montreal has to offer. However, show up much later than 5:10 and it will mean a long wait spent standing in the street. It's also the most cramped restaurant I've ever seen, so those bothered by bumping elbows with other diners or who need a bit more space for mobility issues might want to think twice. Some of the simple dishes like 48h pork will please anybody.