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Apr 6, 2014 07:12 AM

coming to Montreal 1st weekend in may. can use some help for food picks.

hi, we are 2 couples. My wife and i love Montreal and the other couple has never been. I was thinking Duo.d and Au Pied de Cochon for our two dinners. also Schwartz for a lunch sandwich friday afternoon. May be Olive and Gourmando for sat am food. We are staying at the Nelligan. also any 5@7 spots we should consider. thank you

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  1. Duo.D is always an odd option. It is one of the many Tripadvisor superstars that receives frequent rave reviews on that website, but almost no one in Montreal has ever even heard of it (this is true of half the restaurants on their Top-30 list). That isn't to say that DuoD is bad, but I've never seen anyone on Chowhound mention it except when an out-of-towner asks. If you do visit, send us a report!

    A few similar restaurants I'd recommend: Cinquieme Peche, Trois Petits Bouchons, Quartier General (BYOW), Laloux.

    38 Replies
    1. re: Fintastic

      funny your right i could not find much on Duo.d. I will look at your other recs and get back with you thanks Is Schwartz worth the wait? i was thinking just get take out but wasn't sure what to do.

      1. re: kevin25

        Schwartz is worth the wait if you go before/after the usual rush hour lineups and/or if it's sunny.

        1. re: Maximilien

          Yes. If it's a weekend afternoon and nice out you might end up waiting for a very long time, but I personally find it to be much more consistent than the Main. I've had Schwartz-quality sandwiches at the Main, but I've had some absolutely terrible ones as well. Go for an early lunch or mid-late evening to avoid waiting for long.

          1. re: Fintastic

            we land friday am 1115 any chance from noon until 3 to grab a sandwich without an hour long wait? or saturday anytime before 3pm?

      2. re: Fintastic

        Hi Fintastic, looked at your other suggestions. Our friends are new to french style food and i worry alittle for them. Quartier General looks to me the one from your list that may fit for them. Also i have some wonderful wines i would love to bring. I DO NOT want to feel like I am in the States and they just don't know any better. But I love rabbit

        1. re: kevin25

          Quartier Général is a BYOB, so, bring what you have with you.

          1. re: Maximilien

            You could bring wine with you, though keep in mind the import limits (i think 2 bottles per person).
            Of course our wine prices here are typically much higher than the states, but sometimes our liquor monopoly sells some very nice French and Italian bottles for less than most stores in the US (certain SAQ stores: University & St. Catherine; 400 de Maisonneuve; Atwater Market; Laurier West). So if you know your wines it might be worth trying some hard-to-find bottles while you're here.
            Perhaps I misunderstand your last sentence, but I think the places I've mentioned are rather authentically French with a bit of Quebec flair. If you'd like to try something more unique you might consider 400 Coups (though larger and pricier). Of course Pied de Cochon is the most uniquely Quebecois restaurant in town, so you can rely on that decision.

            1. re: Fintastic

              I found some great bottles at SAQ last time . But we can bring 8 bottles total if we need to. I love the Okanagan BC wines as well. While in Vancouver we found many BC wines we liked. I will check out 400coups as well.

              1. re: kevin25

                I recommend Osoyoos Larose .. its expensive (45) but very good.

                1. re: kpaxonite

                  I love this wine I was thinking of going to Lemeac because they have it.(on the website anyway) how is the food there?

                    1. re: CaptCrunch

                      This is true. The food preparation is excellent and room immaculate at Lemeac, but honestly I find both boring. It is a fine quality Bistro, but one that could be found in many US cities. That isn't to say that Quartier General is incredibly innovative, but if the bottle of Larose is your impetuous you might as well buy it for less at the SAQ and bring it there instead.
                      *Laughing Stock also makes some similar wines (Blind Trust sells for less than the Larose).

                      1. re: Fintastic

                        Great point on buying the wine and taking it to Quartier General

                        1. re: kevin25

                          If you decide on QG make sure to reserve. Weekend tables of 4 tend to be booked up many days in advance (or more).

                        2. re: Fintastic

                          Our friends would like to eat at Lemeac and Au Pied de Cochon for our two dinners.they are not very adventurous and we want them to enjoy their dinner and want to come back to Montreal with us again .

                          1. re: kevin25

                            Just in case it's not already entirely obvious, Pied de Cochon requires more adventurousness than almost any other restaurant in town. A few dishes are simple, but most are things you'll not find elsewhere. I think you should stick with your plan, but without a doubt APDC takes more open-mindedness than Quartier General.

                            1. re: Fintastic

                              It is hard to travel with other couples sometimes when your tastes are different. What I do is have them look at menus and tell me if its ok for them. I thought that APDC would be great for us and was alittle surprised that they choose it. Truth be told I believe that since you can read APDC's menu in english that they needed that. They didn't realize that Montreal was mostly French speaking until a couple days ago. When my wife and I go to Paris some menus are only in French and I translate them myself before we arrive. I enjoy leaving Pennsylvania and try to fit into places we visit. I enjoy being a traveler not a tourist if you know what I mean. Not everyone does that and that is perfectly ok as well. After APDC where would you go for a drink? Capt Crunch has a lot of good ideas but I cant hit them all. So I need to narrow them down.

                              1. re: kevin25

                                I fully understand (and sympathize) - it's always a challenge to balance everyone's interests. Relative to many US cities, restaurants in Montreal often tend to have less web presence so it isn't unusual that menus won't be available at all online. However, many that do offer an online menu will have an english version somewhere; for example, the Quartier General website has minuscule "FR" and "EN" buttons at the top that will give you English menus:

                                I don't want this to seem like I'm really pushing Quartier General - it's just an example.

                                Of course you know by now that most of our city's service industry is bilingual, so Anglos will typically receive English or bilingual menus at the table. Your companions needn't worry too much about not knowing what things are, as waiters are generally very good at explaining the details.

                                There are plenty of drink options near APDC, but many of them I don't really care for. If you walk straight West on Duluth for 10 minutes you'll hit Reservoir (just before St. Laurent) which has some pretty decent house-brews. Just slightly South-East of there on Roy is an old reliable pub called Else's (though they will likely require the table to order a small amount of food since they technically have a restaurant license... maybe not ideal after APDC). You also mentioned live music: there are one or two Jazz bars just North of Duluth on St. Denis (east side of the street, both in the basement). I can't comment on them as I've not been in a very, very long time but they exist.
                                And finally, just North of those is L'Barouf, which is a nice space even if the drinks aren't always great.

                                1. re: Fintastic

                                  Thank you for your ideas they all sound good to me. We may have to hit a couple different spots but I do love a nice pub. Will try to hit Else's first

                              2. re: Fintastic

                                IMO, APdC is not "adventurous".

                                Looking at the regular menu show that most things are quite accessible to a lot of people (except maybe vegetarian type).

                                There are not overly fancy ingredients (is foie gras still considered fancy?) or fancy preparations (no molecular cooking process here)

                                You only need a big appetite.

                                1. re: Maximilien

                                  If one finds QG too intimidating then I'd expect APDC could be overwhelming, but I'm still glad they've chosen to go. My point is just to give fair warning.
                                  I'd argue that PDC is the heaviest restaurant on the planet, and it regularly serves pickled tongue(s), fried balls of liquid foie, a pig's head with a lobster stuffed in it's mouth, a pig's leg with bones removed and meat shoved in their place, a variety of boudin, blood-terrines, & offals, raw duck & bison, and during the summer, platters of still-living sea creatures (not to mentioned the soft-boiled ostrich egg packed with foie & served on a straw nest that they had at brunch recently).

                                  I agree that there are other things on the APDC menu that are much less intimidating, but that's true almost everywhere.

                                  1. re: Fintastic

                                    I just couldn't handle it in terms of appetite. Nothing wrong with my appetite; just that it has (fortunately) adapted somewhat to the intake needed by a femme d'un certain âge.

                                    It is stellar in its category, but not for everyone.

                      2. re: kpaxonite

                        Where would you go for drinks before dinner. Or the 5@7 time?

                        1. re: kevin25


                          You want drinks? Consider La Drinkerie, La Distillerie or l'Assomoir!

                          You are looking for craft beer? Try Dieu du Ciel, Le Cheval Blanc, l'Amère à Boire, Bénélux, Vices et Versa or Le Saint Bock!

                          You are looking for a wine bar? The Pullman probably has one of the best wine program in Montreal. Plus there are 3 wine tasting options (2oz of 3 wines each for around 20$... they are assembled by themes by sommeliers). There is a sommelier on each floor!

                          1. re: CaptCrunch

                            I just thought of something.

                            Early May is a funny month. The weather is still cold (my mother used to tell me "En avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil" or "In april, don't shed your clothes... but it rhymes in french") but we usually start getting our first true nice days from mid april to mid may.

                            When that happen, a strange alchemy operates: all the sassy sexy savvy and seductive people Montreal is known for comes out of the woodwork and attack the 5@7 bars and bistro (beergardens are a premium!) in a brash and brazen attempt to forget the cold.

                            If you catch a nice day, there is a good chance there will be a lot of people out.

                            The best thing to do if that happen is to go to an area where a lot of quality choices are available.

                            My suggestion would be to take the metro to the Berri-UQAM station and go to the corner of Saint-Denis and Ontario. At a few minutes walks from each others will be

                            La Distillerie

                            Le Cheval Blanc

                            L'amère à boire

                            Le Saint-Bock

                            If you feel for a Beergarden, the finest I know is not far from there (I'd say a 5 minutes walk?). The beer and drink selection is not as refined compared to the other places I listed above but the place is pretty nice!


                            NB: Is terrace used in english? I used beergarden instead to make sure the concept was understood.

                              1. re: williej

                                Thanks! Wasn't sure what the correct english word was!

                                Would not have thought of patio because we usually employ the word to denote the outdoor space in your backyard, not in a public setting.

                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                    Agreed. Montreal has its own form of English. Outside of Quebec, it is called a patio.

                                    1. re: williej

                                      I agree. For me, a patio signifies an outdoor space of a private home (either single family home or the ground floor of a triplex) where people do bbq and invite friends over. This is often also true in French here: the pronunciation is a bit different. This can also be called a terrasse.

                                      The French meaning, adopted in English, comes from café-terrasse.

                                      1. re: lagatta

                                        In Western Canada, we used the term patio to signify what we call a terrasse in Montreal.

                              2. re: CaptCrunch

                                Thanks Capt your advice sounds spot on for drinks. Is there any live music near Saint-Denis and Ontario

                                1. re: kevin25

                                  A walk on St. Denis south from Ontario will produce plenty of watering holes.
                                  If the weather is nice, check out the St. Sulpice terrace out back.

                                  Theres Bistro a Jojo, a blues club a coupla blocks south of Ontario on St. Denis
                                  They're solid and have live blues every night.

                                  A block west of St. Denis on Ontario, you'll find a coupla cool drinking spots, Pub Quartier Latin and La Distillerie.

                                  Theres also shows at Cafe Campus on Prince Arthur just east of St. Laurent. There might be a burlesque show here when you're in town.

                                  Speaking of burlesque, theres a newish club called Wiggle Room on St. Laurent across from Schwartz. Its a cool, kinda speakeasy vibe. Its a small venue and sells out.

                                  1. re: kevin25

                                    Dieze Onze is a jazz club that isn't too far away at 4115 St-Denis. I'm not sure what kind of music you are looking for; if it's more of the indie type then most venues are further up St-Laurent. You can look at for music and cultural listings and events.

                                    1. re: foodinspace

                                      I'm gonna over generalize, hypothesize, and philosophize that if kevin is like many people my age (he's 53, I'm 48)....wait no, let me re-paraphrise, if he's like me, 70s rock might be more the ticket.
                                      You can also check out Bishop St. Below St. Catherine. Plenty of nice places to stop in for a drink. Grumpy's usually has live music on the weekends. Fiddler's Green usually Irish bands
                                      sometimes Charlie's American Bar has live music.
                                      If you run out of spots on Bishop head over to Crescent below St. Catherine (a block over) where you'll find Brewtopia
                                      They usually have good live music.
                                      Next door is Hurleys, an Irish pub.
                                      You *can* head up Crescent past St. Catherine, but its really a 18-24 yo scene (well, maybe 16-28).

                                      1. re: porker

                                        Up where I live, there is a pub called Vices et Versa, with local beers and ciders, where there is often Québecois traditional music, which incorporates Celtic reels and other forms with rural chanson from northwestern France

                                        6631 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2S 3C5,

                                        1. re: porker

                                          Porker your right on, a little rock never hurts anyone. My friends are all rock. My wife and I went to bistro a Jojo last visit and loved it but the couple with us is all rock. They would probably never leave Crescent street I would bet.

                    2. Hotel Nelligan has a cool rooftop bar, but only open in summer (don't know when you arrive).

                      If Schwartz line is way too long, consider The Main across the street for smoked meat.

                      Speaking of The Main, walking up St. Laurent from Sherbrooke on a warm Saturday afternoon can be interesting (actually, from your hotel, the walk would bring you through Chinatown, but its more of a trek).

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: porker

                        my wife and i love to walk. we would consider it for sure. coming may 2-3-4. Is schwartz and the Main close enough in quality that it shouldnt matter to us? I love a good sandwich but I don't love waiting just to say i ate somewhere. The hotel said rooftop bar should be open(weather depends of course)

                        1. re: kevin25

                          Some of us actually prefer the Main to Schwartz! They are one in front of the other. They are very close in quality and it is usually a matter of preference. The Main is a very local choice. Tourists usually go to Schwartz without noticing.

                          Never been to Duo D. Don't know what it is. They must have good publicists but there is no local vibes for them as far as I know.

                          Pied de Cochon is a great idea. Make sure you have reservations. Olive and Gourmando is also a great option. Fintastic's suggestions, as usual, are always pretty solid.

                          You don't have to choose a french restaurant if you are not sure your friends will like. Do you know what type of restaurants you usually enjoy? What are you looking for as an experience? There is a lot of choice in Montreal and maybe we could help guide you more with a bit more detail :D.

                          1. re: CaptCrunch

                            Duo.D is out if you guys dont know it I am not going there. We love all foods but our friends are from Virginia and are more standard eaters. My wife and I love french but also would try most anything. Game fowl and great meats are high on my list but my wife likes seafood and pastas.

                            1. re: kevin25

                              When I think game fowl and great meats I also think of Joe Beef. You probably won't be able to land a reservation there (they are on opentable and use it) so I'd try their sister restaurant, Liverpool house. You might be able to get a seat at LH. They usually have good plates for the adventurous eater paired with more standard offerings that will please those with a more conservative palate. Their menu change with the season.

                              You might also try Lawrence for great restaurants with something more "english inspired" (although it is clearly a Montreal creature) if you are not sure the "french inspired bistro" will do .

                              For the best of the "standard", I'd say Club Chasse & Pêche is right up there. Tôqué is a bit more creative but is you are not sure about "french style" I don't know how "creative upscale" might fare. Europea has a great tasting menu but ordering a tasting menu can be problematic if you are not ready to try many things. Club Chasse & Pêche is food any conservative eater will recognise. Basically extremely well done market oriented surf & turf. It doesn't scare anybody and pleases most.

                              As far as seafood goes there is a lot of buzz around "Le filet". Its a small plates driven seafood restaurant by the same guys behind Le club chasse & pêche.

                              For pastas there are old standbuys like Da Emma but the two italian restaurants that get most talk are probably Impasto (newly opened restaurant by Stephano Faita and Michele Forgione... Forgione became a household name at Osteria Venti) and Nora Grey (italian restaurant opened by former Joe Beef/Liverpool House staff).

                              To be honest, I don't know if I'd focus on italian restaurants if I were to come to Montreal. We have ok options but in my mind what we do best is market oriented, low fuss, passionate, extremely well executed food right now. Look for menu that changes with the season, a laidback "brasserie/living room" feel and eclectic combinations and you are probably at the right place.

                              1. re: CaptCrunch

                                Note: The Joe Beef consortium has, I believe, abandoned OpenTable in favour of Bookenda.

                                Otherwise your suggestions are great!

                          2. re: porker

                            I don't know how old you are, but I'm a boomer, and I'd do that walk and more easily. Usually I walk the other way, from up here in Little Italy (La Petite-Italie) down to at least Prince Arthur and often down to Chinatown, shopping on the way, and taking the 55 bus back home.

                            I'm not enough of a smoked-meat aficionada to choose between their sandwiches; I prefer eating at The Main as there is a more extensive menu and far less of an "attitude", moreover you can have a beer or glass of wine if you want. Not that I need alcoholic bevvies, but I don't drink sweet things, and I don't think Schwartz has many other choices.

                            It has been a horribly cold winter; a couple of years ago I was in sandals now. But it could warm up quickly, or be a long, cool spring. Hard to know.

                            I just want to tell you how much pent-up energy there was everywhere here. It is worth the trip. I cycled up to Jean-Talon Market (that is about 5 minutes by bicycle, not a "trip") and it was full of beaming people, including some friends. Later I headed down to the Plateau - Mile-End (look on a google map, that is just south of a railway line) and ran into a couple of friends, ran into other friends outside Supermarché PA, a well-known small, Greek supermarket chain (3 stores). Everyone was outside chatting with people they hadn't encountered in at least four months, as we were huddled in winter coats and didn't stop to chat with anyone. Perhaps tomorrow, some terrasses will open, and hardy people will sit outside an enjoy a coffee or a beer.

                            1. re: lagatta

                              hi lagatta we LOVE Jean-Talon the Rillettes cheeses bread meat olives were great. we had bad weather in september so we went back to our room make a fire and had a picnic with all the food and some great wines. we later walked from Rue St-Paul up past Mcgill and up to Mont Royal. Nice walk and loved our day. Hope the terrasses open i cant take winter any more.

                                1. re: kevin25

                                  I'm about your age, a few years older. It is a lovely walk.

                                  I loathe winter. Montréal has a lot of other advantages, and the summers are splendid, but I just endure winter.

                                  1. re: lagatta

                                    I was lucky enough to be Bonefishing last week in the Bahamas and can't stand being back in cold weather right now. I look forward to walking a lot in Montreal, it's a great city to do that.