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Need help: Montréal recommendations

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I've been to Montréal before; a few times, to be exact. But this is the first time I'm spending any length of time there (as far as I know) and, seeing this board's agreement with myself on my two favorite places in the city, L'Express and Laloux, I've decided to throw a few recommendations to the Chowhounds.

Can anyone help me find:
A trendy hotel in the city (price no object)
The best poutine and best hot dog in the region (will travel up to 20 miles in any direction)
The best time to visit Jean-Talon Market
The best SAQ store
A good place for Belgian: mussels, frites, beer
Which is the best bagel? Fairmont or St-Viateur?
A district to walk through that resembles the Plateau as it was five years ago (trendy, but just before the rapid influx of chain restaurants)
A place to try a tourtière (will travel 20 miles in any direction)
An Italian joint that does the population of St-Léonard and area justice

Whew. I'm a Québécophile looking forward to a French-sign-spotting, CKOI-listening, Le Journal-reading, RDI-watching, poutine-eating, Blanche de Chambly (possibly the world's greatest white ale)-drinking, STM-riding trip to la belle province. Help me out. :-)

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  1. I prefer St-Viateur bagels myself.

    I used to go to the Jean Talon Market on Friday afternoons, but it's wonderful at any time.

    There is an excellent Belgian place near the corner of Parc avenune and Bernard or St-Viateur. The locals at "Open Da Night" cafe on St-Viateur east of Parc will be able to direct you there (as you sip an excellent latte).

    Le Gascogne on Sherbrooke street in Westmount (near Victoria avenue) makes an superb Tortierre. You buy it there and heat it up at home. However, if you are looking for a truly authentic Quebecois culinary experience, then you might want to take the 45 minute drive on route 15 North to Val David, and have a meal at P'tit Pousset. It is a great cabane a sucre with excellent tortierre, baked beans, ham steaks, etc. It's also a very pleasant drive.

    Salut!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gordon

      There is also a "La Gascogne" on rue Laurier, a couple of blocks west of St. Urbain (Mile-end district).

    2. A trendy hotel in the city (price no object)
      - Hotel Nelligan or Hotel Saint-Sulpice, both in Old Port area.

      The best poutine and best hot dog in the region (will travel up to 20 miles in any direction)
      - Other than Ashton in Québec City, la Paryse (Ontario corner Sanguinet) is your best bet for poutine and the best burger in town.

      The best time to visit Jean-Talon Market
      - Try to avoid the end of the day as it gets crazy.

      The best SAQ store
      - On Maisonneuve Blvd. at the Cours Mont Royal or at les Ailes de la Mode, Ste. Catherine corner University.

      A district to walk through that resembles the Plateau as it was five years ago (trendy, but just before the rapid influx of chain restaurants)
      - Villeray (North of Jean-Talon, East of St. Laurent, West of Papineau and South of the 40-Met) is touted as the "nouveau Plateau".

      A place to try a tourtière (will travel 20 miles in any direction)
      - You got me there. Sorry.

      An Italian joint that does the population of St-Léonard and area justice
      - Although not exactly the answer to your question, the pizza at Pizzeria Napoletana on Dante in Little Italy (Dante east of St. Laurent) is the bomb and rivals any pizza anywhere. For St. Leonard though, good luck finding one. Aldo on de la Montagne South of Ste. Catherine is fairly decent.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Hotel, downtown or old city? E-mail me directly if you wish to discuss, i've stayed everywhere.

        SAQ, the one in Les Ailes De Mode on Ste. Catherine as the most exclusive products and best service. I also frequent the one Laurier Ave or De Maissoneuve near University.

        1. I was completely charmed by Le Petit Moulinsart, a Belgian place in the Old City. We didn't actually eat there, because my wife was turned off by the menu (maybe I shouldn't have translated the part about the Horse Tartare). We did spent some time at the bar, which has a great selection of both Belgian and Quebec ales. (I also happen to be a Tintin fan, which drew me in.)

          The attached review seems to say that the mussels were good, the frites so-so. I personally like fat frites, so I might have had a different reaction.

          Link: http://www.montrealfood.com/restos/mo...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gary Soup

            We ate at Petit Moulinsart last month. I had a very good horse steak, and the mussels were good, not great. Good beer. But the service was awful. Really awful. Unpleasantly awful.

            1. re: Nina W.

              Off topic Nina, but I noticed the supermarkets in Quebec (at least some of them) sell horse meat. I was cooking while there but didnt have the guts to give it a try. In future, you might look out for some to purchase.

          2. "Whew. I'm a Québécophile looking forward to a French-sign-spotting, CKOI-listening, Le Journal-reading, RDI-watching, poutine-eating, Blanche de Chambly
            possibly the world's greatest white ale)-drinking, ?STM-riding trip to la belle province. Help me out. :-)"

            A bit OT perhaps but the big (French) paper in Montréal is La Presse. By the way be careful if you're wearing white while reading it, the ink rubs off very easily.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Alex Tievsky
              e
              Evan B. Druce

              Oh, to live in the last remaining four-newspaper town in North America! (six, if you count the two nationals)

              Gotta continue this OT thread before the Chowhound team gets rid of it... I like La Presse, but nothing really says "working-class Francophone Montréaler" like Le Journal de Montréal. Especially with the catchy headlines and big color pictures in front, and super-seedy chat-line ads in the back.

              And to keep this thread on food, one must not forget this lyric from West Island comedy team Bowser & Blue in their classic song "The Night They Invented Poutine."

              To be really authentic, the potatoes must be old
              The gravy must be hot, and the cheese must be cold
              With the Journal de Montréal wherever it is sold
              And served with a roll in a bowl by a troll.