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Need help: Montréal recommendations

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  • Evan B. Druce Aug 7, 2003 01:23 AM
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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.

            2. Can anyone help me find:
              A trendy hotel in the city (price no object)
              -this is not really my area of expertise... BUT i adore the st-paul for the wallpaper magazine factor. if price was no object, i personally would go for the ritz for oldschool glam factor.
              The best poutine and best hot dog in the region (will travel up to 20 miles in any direction)
              -can't help here (i know, i'm a pathetic excuse for a montreal foodie!)
              The best time to visit Jean-Talon Market
              first thing in the AM, during the week, for sure.
              The best SAQ store
              my personal favourite is definitely on laurier just west of avenue du parc. smaller, but beautiful and the most elegant and tasteful selection of french goodies in the city.
              A good place for Belgian: mussels, frites, beer
              -pass
              Which is the best bagel? Fairmont or St-Viateur?
              -i'm of the st. viateur camp myself, but not such a bagelhound that i can get into the minutae of the two.
              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)
              -hmm. i'd say mile-end in general: bernard, st laurent north of laurier, etc. for cool galleries and fashion boutiques, the vieux-port. but montreal has mostly been gobbled up by development, sadly.

              skipped the rest for lack of confident chowhound opinion :)

              1. Hi Evan,

                You seem to be a beer lover. You are right about the "Blanche de Chambly", a really interesting Quebec's white ale.

                I strongly suggest you to avoid SAQ for beer. It's sad to say but they don't care about beer even if Québec has many great micro-breweries.

                Here are my suggestions for stores with great choice of Québec's beer:

                -1420 Laurier est "Dépanneur Laurier"
                -152 Laurier ouest "Le paradis de la bière"
                -Also in "Marché Jean-Talon": "Le marché des saveurs"

                And here is my personnal top 3 of best beers from Québec:

                1- Mc Auslan Vintage ale 2006, great barley wine that gets better with years!
                2- Cobra from Le Chaudron. Excellent India pale ale.
                3- La Maudite from Unibroue, a classic. Easy to find in or outside Québec

                Special mention to Bièropholie brewery that stopped brewing last year. There is some of their beers still available in specialised stores mentionned above. Tasteful IPA, scotch ales and imperial stouts.

                Cheers!
                Alex D.
                --------

                1 Reply
                1. re: Alex

                  I don't mean to be rude, but what's the point of replying to a request posted almost 3 and half years ago?

                2. I stayed at the Hotel Gault and Hotel St. Paul. Both were very nice. Of the two, I think I preferred Hotel Gault for its roomier rooms and nice bathroom/tub, although I think the breakfast at Hotel St. Paul was superior.

                  I can't recommend food establishments - Although most were excellent, I can't remember their names.

                  1. I can only give one recommendation that is the poutine. While this place is about 40 minutes from Montreal but, if you are coming by way of Toronto it will be on your way here.

                    In a small town called Riviere Beaudette, there's a place called Petit Deli on the main drag. To me, they have the best poutine I've had anywhere else. The gravy is perfect, the curds fresh and the potato perfectly done and just the right thickness. While I don't consider myself a poutine affionado, I've tried many, many poutines. These were the best I've ever had. Whenever, we go by the area, we always make it a point to stop. The hotdogs are not bad but, you could probably find better elsewhere.

                    BTW, the place is a dive and the worst time to go is lunchtime when it's jam packed!

                    Good in your search!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: calla0413

                      Another great place for poutine is La Quebecoise. It;s on Ontario E. corner Aylwin. It's a fast food joint and the decor is quite outdated but their poutine is to die for. When I went, the couple next to us had come from Vermont for the poutine. They also have an incredible breakfast for under $7 (including 3 eggs, 3 meats- bacon, ham,sausage- best home fries ever, buttered toast and feves au lard, complimentary coffee, small OJ and some fruit). I think there is also a combo that includes french toast or pancakes for 1-2$ more. Not only is it great value (honestly I don't know how they stay in business) but the quality is above what I have had at those fancy breakfast places like Eggspectations and Chez Cora for 20$/person.

                      1. re: hungryann

                        Went yesterday to La Quebecoise for a poutine fix. It was very good as always but what blew me away this time were their french fries. I had 2 orders! (well, I took one to go because otherwise it was too embarassing to eat a poutine and two orders of fries) Anyway, I scarfed it down in the car with salt and vinegar; they were so crispy outside but soft inside. The waitress told me they changed potato supplier. Now, I have to go down east to have breakfast there ...I can only imagine how much better the breakfast potatoes will be! Anyway, just felt like sharing my food orgasm...LOL!

                    2. I just want to set something straight about tourtière, being from Lac St-Jean, where the tourtière was invented. The word tourtière is more than often misused in Montréal to name a simple meat pie. Tourtière is a meal comprised of ground or cube meat, hashed potatoes, onions and different broths depending on the family recipe cooked slowly covered with dough. So don't get misled by Montrealers calling a simple meat pie tourtière. With that being said, the only place I found in Montreal that has real tourtière is Chez Clo on Ontario street in the hochelaga neighborhood.

                      1. Poutine: The best poutine is at Le palais du sous-marin in Longueuil. It is the best. People rave about La banquise but the poutine au palais is many times better than La banquise! Their italian poutine is the best.

                        Italian restaurant in St-Leonard: Dimenna. I have been gonig there for 30 years and the food is always excellent. Their veal pizzaiola is the best. I have it elsewhere but it is never as good as Dimenna. It has been owned by the same family for almost 40 years, which is quite a feat in the restauration business. Their pizza is also the best!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: cricri7

                          Update: Au Petit Poucet burned down in May, and is currently being reconstructed. http://www.aupetitpoucet.com/PAGES/FR...

                          1. re: naturelle

                            It isn't French, but I highly recommend Chez Doval on rue Marie-Anne. It is some of the best Portuguese in the city. (especially the seafood.) If you go, try the grilled calamari. Amazing.