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Nov 6, 2002 09:45 PM

Deprived Winnipeg foodie seeks in-the-know Resto/Bistro info for this weekend

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Hey! We're in Montréal this weekend (Nov. 8 - 11)...only reservation we have is La Chronique on Sat. night. Plane gets in at 7 pm on Friday...any reliable Friday suggestions for a cool place with wicked market fresh food (French or French-influenced) and an eclectic wine list? BYO and/or a bit noisy with a buzz is OK, too (a la Bin 941 in Vancouver with a more comprehensive menu, par example). Favourite food groups include foie gras, chevre (esp. crottin de Chavignol!), "Alziari" Niçoise olive oil and grilled rockfish. Staying downtown but have palate and will travel!

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  1. Assuming your plane gets in at 7, you won't make it to your hotel until 8 and won't be steppin' out until 9.

    If you want to stay downtown, head for Ferraria Café Trattoria on Peel. Chic décor, beautiful people, good nouvelle Portuguese cooking, a small but interesting selection of mainly Portuguese wines and what they claim in the largest selection of Ports on the continent (only a few are offered by the glass, unfortunately).

    L'Express on St-Denis would certainly fill the bill. Plenty of bustle, fun and reasonably priced wine list (often studded with unexpected gems) and enjoyable bistro food. Le Pied de Cochon on Duluth is a bit more subdued scenewise but the food is even better (though to some extent we're talking apples and oranges here); the winelist is short but smart and quite eclectic. Both places are open till midnight, an advantage given your ETA.

    All the BYOs worth visiting have two seatings on Fridays, the second of which is usually between 8:30 and 9. If that's not cutting it too tight, try Le P'tit Plateau, though they may well be booked solid at this point. La Colombe would be an OK fall-back.

    The strip on St-Laurent between Sherbrooke and, say, Mont-Royal will be hopping on Friday night. Several restaurants are open lateish--Globe, Mediterraneo, Il Sole, Savannah, etc. Be aware, though, that at that time of day on that day of the week the interest tends to be more on what's happening around your table than on what's on it.

    -carswell, beginning to feel a bit like a broken record...

    3 Replies
    1. re: carswell
      Gastro-geek (note to Carswell)

      Carswell...thank you for this information. I think Le Pied de Cochon it is, if I can get in. Question: Do YOU have any "pull" there at all, if I'm having a difficult time securing a reservation? Second question: You are a "food professional"? In what capacity, may I ask? I am actually a wine merchant, proprietaire of a "Boutique des vins fins" in Winnipeg. Gastronomically speaking, I am but a passionate foodie, although I was recently honoured to be a tasting judge at the Commis Rotisseur (young chefs) Culinary Competition that was held in conjunction with the National Conference of the Confrèrie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, held in Winnipeg this past weekend. At any rate, I invite your direct Email to, should we wish to share common interests. Saluté!

      1. re: Gastro-geek (note to Carswell)

        Hey, who you callin' a professional?! ;)

        Me, I'm just a working Joe, a drone, a cog in the machine, who happens to have a passion for good food and drink.

        Your job sounds great, as does the stint as a tasting judge. Was unaware that Manitoba had privatized wine and liquor sales, though. Is it like Alberta (in that respect, I mean)?

        As for my clout at LPDC, I'd say it's close to nil. The members of the staff who've been around a while recognize me. And I could probably get Picard to come to the phone. But, then again, he's never invited *me* to go hunting with him... ;) Anyway, I doubt you'll need any pull. LPDC is not (yet) a line-out-the-door kind of place. It'll be busy tomorrow but you shouldn't have any trouble landing a table, especially one for 9 or later, if you reserve today (514 281-1114).

        I've got a gun to my head right now but will send an e-mail after 5 EST.

        1. re: carswell

          Ahhhh! Success. Just got the call back and I'm in for tomorrow night. Thanks for everything. Manitoba has a limited scale privatization, strictly on the wine side of the beverage alcohol biz (since 1994). Not as open as Alberta. BTW, were you aware that B.C. has announced full scale liquor privatization? They are forging ahead. As well, Nova Scotia is in the process of awarding 4 or 5 Specialty Wine Store Licenses. Allowing some degree of privatization in Manitoba has increased the number of wine offerings (between the Liquor Board and the specialty wine stores) from about 1200 in 1994 to over 5000 now. In addition, the educational opportunities have multiplied like lapins de Bourgogne! Vive la difference. Look forward to your contact.

          A votre santé!