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Apr 16, 1998 11:41 AM

Montreal restaurants

  • r

I received a guidebook from the Montreal tourism
office. It lists hundreds of French restaurants and
raves about all of them; it's hard to figure out the
good from the average.
Any suggestions for good French restaurants in Montreal
with reasonable prices? Thanks!

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  1. You have to go to Toque -- 3842 rue St. Denis The
    phone number is 514-499-2084 . Normand Laprise
    changes the menu daily according to what he finds in
    the market. He is probably the most exciting and
    inventive chef in the city. Make sure you order his
    nightly hot foie gras special. Don't worry about
    spending the $$ -- it's worth every penny, plus the
    exchange rate with the Canadian $ is very favorable if
    you pay by credit card.

    Also check out Le Passe-Partout -38857 Blvd. Decarie
    Ph: 514-487-7750. They serve lunch 4 days a week, and
    dinner 3 nights a week -- call to find out the

    *** Note : Normand of Toque is also a partner with
    the owners of Zoe (here in NY) in a new restaurant
    opening soon in the old Rascal's space on East 22nd St.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gary Cheong
      stephen kaye

      gary, I certainly agree w/you on toque, its outstanding. We've also been to Cena(on 12 e 22nd st nyc 212 505 1222.) its great!!

      1. re: stephen kaye

        Glad you like Normand's food too. If you get a
        chance, make sure you try to meet him and say hi. He
        is a very pleasant and unassuming person. And
        extremely talented and a perfectionist.

      2. re: Gary Cheong

        Gary...we've disagreed before (re: Penang) and here's another case. I recently dined at Le Passe-Partout; the experience was truly painful at that price. The appetizer took OVER ONE HOUR to arrive, the waitress brought us beers other than what we requested and tried to backpeddle by saying "it's from the same brewery" rather than telling us the truth (as the proprietress did, albeit reluctantly) - there was only one bottle left of the beer we'd ordered. The food was mediocre. Other readers may know more about wines than I do. However, we were taken aback when the proprietress opened our white wine bottle and put it aside stating (authoritatively) "It needs to breathe".
        I have not been to Toque though my friends in Montreal find it overpriced. The lunch I had across the street at L'Express was somewhat pricey but the food was worth it I thought.

        1. re: John Speer

          John -- That was truly a terrible experience for you
          at Le Passe-Partout. My experience of that restaurant
          was from 1995, so I guess things must have really
          changed for the worse.

          Toque may be pricey for your Canadian friends, but for
          us here with the strong dollar it's a bargain. And
          I'll say it again, it's worth every penny. I would
          agree with you if you ate at Cena (Normand cooks here
          in NY one week each month) and thought it to be
          expensive. I just had a really excellent meal at Cena
          last week and happily paid up for it.

      3. j
        Joan Munkacsi

        Yet another vote for Toque (which is a slang term for
        "crazy"; without the acute accent on the e it is the
        familiar chef's chapeau). When my husband and I first
        ate there, I asked the server to describe the foie
        gras special. He said, "I don't know; it changes." I
        pressed: "Yes, but what is it today?" And he
        explained, "No, you misunderstand; when I say it
        changes, I mean with each person who orders it. If
        three people at the same table order it, the chef will
        prepare it three different ways." Go Norman! The
        bread, cheeses, and desserts are also exceptional. We
        also like L'Espress, a bistro down the street from
        Toque--extremely Parisian. They serve breakfast,
        which we've never tried but would like to. And if you
        go to the bagel bakery in the food market on rue Ste.
        Catherine, try the matzo--not at all what you expect
        in texture or flavor, but yummy. And the cheese
        bagels, which are again nothing like you think--sort
        of sweet, they remind me of the late lamented cheese
        danish from Lou Siegel's.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Joan Munkacsi
          stanley cadloff

          re montreal bagel
          Being a third generation montrealer and having
          travelled to many parts of the USA and having listened
          to many comments re montreal bagel-let me tell you why
          many visitors refe treal bagel as the worlds best-
          without equal !
          Firstly- Montreal bagel is made of course from
          canadian flour derived from hard wheat and high in
          gluten content.The dough contains eggs.
          Secondly-the bagels are hand rolled an dipped in
          boiling water to which has been added a small amount
          of honey.This cause the bagel to have a hard shiny
          crust caused by the sugar in the honey being
          caramalized during the baking in wood fired ovens !

          1. re: stanley cadloff

            Hi Do you know where I could find an experienced montreal bagel maker?

        2. f
          frederick poe

          the best restaurant guidebook in north america exists for canadian restaurants from st john's through to
          whitehorse. it is called simply WHERE TO EAT IN CANADA compiled by ANNE HARDY It is published by OBERON a rather illusive small publisher in Ottawa but available on the web. It has led me to astounding adventures especially in Newfoundland, Quebec, B.C. It is on the cutting edge, always with the "discoveries" which then become fashionable (AND THEN DIE?)....It is rather aimless to take this or that person's recommendation after one or two visits to this or that Canadian restaurant when this utterly beguiling book is available. I don't know Anne Hardy or own any stock in OBERON. I wish we had something 1/40th as good in the USA. Fred Poe

          1 Reply
          1. re: frederick poe

            Its available on, but make sure you are getting the most recent edition; annoyingly, they list a number of outdated editions - I have the 99-00 version published last summer - a new one should be coming out shortly.