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where to eat in montreal

  • m

my husband & i are planning our 1st trip to montreal in sept. we live in new york city & are used to some very good restaurants. can you recommend at least 2 good restaurants in the downtown/mont royal area? we are thinking of trying toque as well. we enjoy french & middle eastern food, and being from italian backgrounds we really like italian food but are very picky about it. thank you for any recommendations.

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  1. there have been a number of recent Montreal recommendations on this Board. In addition, I suggest you pick up a copy of Where to Eat in Canada - the 2000 edition should be out by now - which will give detail on many other possible choices. Not to deter anyone else from making further recommendations....

    1. s
      Steve Drucker

      For French food, try Laloux. you need reservations. Its the place Outremont folks go to pretend they are in paris. moderate-exensive. The food is exc. Smoking and chain-smoking sections. (btw-its in the same neighborhood as Fairmont Bagels, below).

      Les Remparts in old Montreal. Small, excellent, very good wine list. Second time there (Dec '98), we had superb seafood and free range veal chops. you need reservations. Expensive. Rated very highly by locals. Its downstairs from an inn that is also very nice and well rated.

      Visit the municipal market in little Italy off Jean Talone to stock up on cheese, salami, olives, produce, bread and wine. We like Casa Cacciatore whose back door opens onto the market for their retro red sauce type food, done very very well. moderate.

      For lunch near the downtown shopping district, try Le Paris. Straight ahead, French, nothing fancy, a place where almost everyone there is a regular for the traditional French food at very fair prices.

      None of these are tourist places. Of them all, only Les Remparts and Laloux are epicurean.

      Also up on Jean Talone are some excellent Lebanese restaurants. The names escape me, but if you need, I think I can recover them.

      Find Fairmont Bagels. They are like a cross between a bagel and a real NY pretzel, with a bit of sugar. Read "The Main" by Trevanian. Go to Schwartz's for smoked meat.

      Also, for hit and miss very good food (the roast lamb, mussels, and pretty good frites, L'Express. Really, its tremendous fun--if only to see boisterous locals pretending they are in Paris. L'Express will serve you anything from a drink to sandwich to a pretty good meal, with a friendly but flippily efficient attitude. The wine list has some good buys buried in it. You can walk in if its early or late, but as always you are better off with a reservation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve Drucker

        appreciate all the info

      2. the market is wonderful and you will enjoy the Italian food shops. We love to make an afternoon of wandering the market and the surrounding neighborhood whenever we are in Montreal. There is a fairly good Italian restaurant two doors down from the Hamel cheese shop at Jean Talon market, with an outdoor terrace. Good people watching and pretty good food (how "picky" are you?)

        4 Replies
        1. re: Christine

          well, when you had a grandmother from southern italy who was the best italian cook in her town & a current mother-in-law who cooks great italian meals & a lot of italian immigrants in nyc who have opened restaurants -you kind of get spoiled & used to good italian food (really authentic). so that's what i mean by picky - as long as it's fresh & it's tastes like nona (grandma) might have had a hand in it, we'll like it. we will definitely try the market - it sounds great - is it open on sundays? i really appreciate your suggestions. thank you.

          1. re: Marguerite

            We visited on a Sunday back in July...we're planning another Montreal visit over Labor Day Weekend
            and will definitely be hitting the market!! BTW, coming from an Italian family myself (on my mother's side), that Italian restaurant I previously recommended to you is good, but is not "like noni used to make". I would love to find an Italian place with really home-cooked food!!

            1. re: Christine

              LOL, Christine - come to ny! better yet, brooklyn, ny - i've got some great places for you, but i'll keep that for chowhound's ny board. ;-)

              1. re: Marguerite

                try restarant no name you wil love it call for reservation

        2. Marguerite,
          I just got back from Montreal. I found (completely by accident) a really great, inexpensive MiddleEastern resto in the Plateau M.R. area. Its on Av. Debreuf and Marie-Anne I believe and called "Karmela's". I had cous-cous (merguez, lamb, and chicken) and it was excellent. The owner is a super "sympa" guy and said after we ate, "I would like to offer you both some mint tea". He did the ritual pour from 2-3 feet above. He did not even charge us for it! Dinner for two (huge portions) cost us about $15 U.S.
          This place was a find. Please go and tell the owner, the American guy who asked for 'mechoui' sent you!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jed

            thanks for the suggestion - i have printed out your response & will mention to the owner that the american who asked for "mechoui" sent us - but i'm not sure what that is. we love kibbe, babaganoush, hummus, etc. so we usually have the mezza for 2. hope they have it at Karmela's.

            1. re: Marguerite

              Sorry, mezze (hummos, babaghanouj,...) is Lebanese/syrian. Karmelas is north african (couscous, mechui,...)

              There is a great syrian restaurant called Alep on Jean Talon. For lebanese, I recommend restaurant Daou.

          2. Try browsing down a bit and read my posting "A Great Dinner in Montreal."
            We ate at both Laloux and l'Express, but the dinner I described was far superior. It was memorable.
            At Laloux, some of the dishes were excellent, but the service was atrocious. We sat and waited much of the evening. Our soups were ordinary and cold (and they weren't meant to be cold soups.) L'Express was fun, though my chicken breast was dry. Everything else was good there. But Jongleux Cafe ---we loved it!