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Oct 14, 2013 09:02 AM

Montreal - Recs for first time visitor/newyorker?

Hi everyone,

My gf and I will visit Montreal this weekend and stay there for three nights (fri, sat, sun). Guess it is a bit late but could you give some recommendations for dinner/lunch choices?

Both from Asia originally and live in NYC currently, we are pretty open to different style, price ranges and dining ambience. We would love to try authentic french and local cuisine.

Could you give some recommendations, preferably mix of casual and upscale places? No asian food unless they are really special and probably not per se level restaurants (not bonus season yet, lol)

Also, I'd appreciate if anyone could give some nightlife advices (which area is safe/fun etc)

Our hotel is around station Saint-Laurent.


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  1. You're in luck! Not a per se calibre restaurant anywhere near Montreal! I feel like a broken record but maybe consider Filet, 400 Coups, Hotel Herman, Quartier General, Lawrence, and maybe Pied De Cochon or Joe Beef for something Quebec-y. Much has been written about these here. Lunch is tricky on weekends: you're more likely to find brunch. My favorites lately include H4C, Rhubarbe, and Lawrence

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fintastic

      Thanks! I will look at each and decide something soon.

    2. Oh, and Montreal is safe basically everywhere. The area around your hotel and to the south-east is a bit sketchy but not dangerous. Re: nightlife, what are you looking for? Up st Laurent between Sherbrooke and Mont Royal theres still a lot of options for small clubs.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Fintastic

        Hey diablo2man,

        Definitely agree with the recommendations of Fintastic - Hotel Hermain and 400 Coups was on my list to try while I was back in town but I wasn't able to make those. A couple of places I'd recommend:

        - Romados - if you go, call ahead so that you can skip the line. Great Portuguese rotisserie chicken and fries.
        - Bouillon Bilk - close to St. Laurent metro where you said your staying. One of my favourite restaurants.
        - Au Cinquieme Peche - amazing French food.
        - St. Viateur bagels or Fairmount bagels - definitely try a montreal bagel if you've never had them before. I'm a St. Viateur fan but they are both delicious. Open 24/7. Make sure you go to the ones in the plateau.

        As for nightlife, not sure what you are into but a couple of fun places worth checking out:
        - La Distillerie- go to the one on rue Ontario. Order a couple maison jars.
        - St. Sulpice - massive outdoor terrace to enjoy a few beers on rue St. Denis
        - St. Elizabeth (Le Sainte Elisabeth) - one of my favourite places. Sketchy when you walk in but just head straight to back and enjoy the terrace.
        - Chez Sarge - fun place, has a mechanical bull
        - Dieu du Ciel - if your a beer connoisseur, come here.
        - Reservoir

        Also, make sure you bixi around the city! Only $5 for 24 hours, perfect way to see the city.

        1. re: jonny8

          bike option sounds fun. I will definitely try that. I now get a bit dizzy by looking at those french names, lol. luckily my girlfriend know how to speak french!

          1. re: diablo2man

            diablo2man, I still have NOT tried a Montreal bagel. They are different than NYC bagels. Maybe next trip . . .

            Montreal is a safe, walkable city. A good thing because you'll need to walk off all the food you eat. Especially if you have 2 croissants for breakfast like I did :)

            Happy eating!

      2. Main nightlife areas:
        - Crescent and Bishop Sts, downtown - kind of an American frat boy feel

        - St. Denis between Ste-Catherine and Sherbrooke - kind of young and sometimes annoying

        - St-Laurent/Mile-End/Plateau - my preferred area. St-Laurent is kind of posh in a fake way from Sherbrooke to des Pins then starts getting more interesting the further north you go...all the way up to Laurier (Dieu du Ciel, Casa del Popolo). Explore the side streets (Mont-Royal: Billy Kun, Edgar Hypertaverne, La Rhumerie; Rachel: La Quincaillerie).

        Also look at cultmontreal.com to get a sense of nightlife options during your visit.

        Look at some recent posts for restaurant recs, though those recommended by Fintastic are the ones that always come up. Of course, the most iconic are Schwartz's, the bagels, Joe Beef, Au Pied du Cochon.

        Romado's is incredibly tasty though, warning, it's more of a take out place.

        Indeed the area immediately around Station St-Laurent is the most run down part of downtown and is in the process of being remodeled. It's safe, though. SAT and it's foodlab are right next door - good place if you like electronic music.

        Have fun!

        2 Replies
        1. re: foodinspace

          An alternative to Romados that is cosier is Ma Poule Mouillée just a bit further along Rachel. It's also just across the street from La Banquise so one could conceivably taste their famous poutine and great Portugese chicken in one outing. No one's mentioned Schwartz or the Main for smoked meat? That's an easy trek up St-Laurent. L'Express is good for classic French.

          1. re: foodinspace

            Thanks. We haven't figured out what we want to do but I will definitely check cultmontreal.com first to get some basic ideas

          2. You might want to do a search of this Board. There are many posts. I went recently. My second visit.

            Trip report:


            Eater Montreal heatmap:


            Thanks again to Montreal hounds. Their suggestions made both my trips memorable and delicious.

            PS Maybe Hotel Herman and Holder next time . . .