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last 5 meals in Montreal

After 5 years in Montreal, I'm moving west (Vancouver). I have dined quite well in this city during that time. Started here with the Caswell recommendations and then never stopped :)

So if you were in similar shoes, what would be your last 5 restaurant diners in Montreal?(not counting smoked meat, sugar shacks, bagels, Portuguese chicken,etc which I will also hit up of course)

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  1. It depends what you have enjoyed most during your stay here. I would go back to places I love and know won't be able to find similar in Vancouver; mostly, Greek, Middle Eastern and of course French/Québécois.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hungryann

      A Greek friend in Toronto says that, while they have lots of tavernas and the inevitable delis that have a few Greek items on their menu, they don't have the upscale Greek restaurants we have here, and adds that we are stronger in upscalish food from the Levant as well (and any food from the Maghreb).

      Alas I was only once in Vancouver, very briefly for work, so had only one real meal (of Asian seafood, of course).

      1. re: hungryann

        Along that note, here’s a few of my favourite (and a few not so favourite) restaurants in the city, been meaning to post something like this, hopefully of use to someone

        High end:
        Maison Boulud- the food isn’t as original or local as Toque and they don’t try and wow you with little extras like Europea, but I’ve never been disappointed with anything here either, and the atmosphere + service is probably the best in Montreal if you were looking for a high-end meal.

        Toque, very skilled cooking highlighting local products, atmosphere seemed a bit dated last time I was here

        Europea, I think the food here actually improved a bit from the first time I went here to more recently, still I find the whole experience a bit over the top for the level of cooking they produce

        La Porte, haven’t been in a few years, but was a nice intimate restaurant with very good Breton cooking, very romantic
        XO, did not enjoy our meal there
        La Chronique, an Outremont staple, food doesn’t really wow
        Overall I think this is probably Montreal’s weakest category as a world class food city

        Contemporary
        Le Filet, great upscale spot, small portions to share, have yet to be disappointed
        Hotel Herman, elegantly casual, with very competent cooking (much prefer it to their other reso)
        Lawrence, homey atmosphere, very honest cooking
        Bouillon Bilk, kitchen here produces stuff well above its pay-grade
        Mezcla, Latin-French fusion, very unique, great tasting menu, very cute room
        Pastaga, fun wine list, very solid cooking
        Tuck Shop, neighbourhood gem type place, tough to get a reservation though
        H4C - imaginative dishes, nice room, one of the best new restaurants in the city
        400 cent coups, haven’t been since they changed chefs but this place used to be great (the old pastry chef’s new place is also great!)
        Au Pied du cochon, loved it when I went 5 years ago, last time had a not so great experience, a few friends said the same, perhaps its fallen off a bit
        Joe Beef, I think I’m in the “not sure what all the hype is about” camp for this place, over the few times I’ve been there, had 1 or 2 very good dishes, one terrible, and mostly above average stuff. Certainly is a bit different, and very rich so probably worth visiting to see for yourself. The wine markup is borderline insulting
        Liverpool House, a somewhat more subdued version of Joe Beef, but similar atmosphere and style
        Le Club chasse et peche, really enjoyed first meal there several years ago, last 2 times were both disappointments
        Garde Manger, over-hyped
        Le chien fumant, fun overindulgence, not exactly a destination restaurant by any means though
        Maison Publique, only been once, nice vibe, food didn’t really blow me away

        Bistro
        L’express - went for an impromptu late dinner here on first date with my wife, so will always have a bit of nostalgia, as I’m sure it does for many others, reasonable wine list also

        Laloux, great spot, chefs constantly chaning so not sure
        Bistro Cocagne, always was dead, but solid food

        Lemeac, still enjoy going here for brunch once and a while, I don’t think dinner is anything special these days
        Au cinqueme peche, hasn’t really been the same to me since they moved from the original location
        Chez Leveque – another old classic, not really anything special from my limited experience
        Chez chose – friendly owner, good food
        Brassiere T – I’d probably go for one of the classics over this place, nothing really wrong here either though

        Italian
        Impasto - new favourite Italian in Montreal
        Graziella – upscale Italian, was a bit disapointed last time but otherwise a very nice resto
        Da emma – wasn’t too impressed
        BICE, Il cortile – food is ok, both terraces are great
        Primo et Secondo – good humble Italian cooking, not quite at the level of Impasto imho
        Le Serpent- bustling place, great modern décor, food was good but not great

        Greek/Other Regional
        Damas- love this place, watch out for the huge portions though
        Su- nice meal, not quite as good as Damas, and a bit out of the way for me
        Tasso- nice Greek restaurant on St Denis, my favourite patio in the city, great for a hot summer night
        Milos - excellent seafood, atmosphere is a bit over the top Greek but it’s a nice spot nevertheless
        Phillinos – had a great meal/time the one time I went there, many friends recommend it
        Park - my favourite Asian restaurant in Montreal

        BYOW
        l'quartier general – by far my favourite bring your own wine in Montreal, to the point that I’ve really stopped going to any of the others (ie La columbe, Petit platuean, Monsieur B)

        1. re: tdiddy23

          Tasso is now closed but I think I read somewhere (here?) that the owners have opened a new place in Old Montreal.

          1. re: williej

            haven't left yet and i'm already out of the loop haha

            i also forgot to add Tapeo to my little list there

          2. re: tdiddy23

            Alright, with this extensive tally of your dining history, I think I feel more comfortable giving some suggestions.

            1) Vin Papillon. The truth is that I really didn't want to get on the hype train for this one, and on my first trip it didn't entirely blow me away. However, every time I go back I've become more and more amazed with the place. We've mainly sampled the less meat-heavy dishes. Every one has appeared overly simple yet has been astonishingly delicious. The flavours emanating from a boring pile of julienned carrots or thin slices of celery root are really impossible to predict but have literally left me speechless each time. I feel like you about Joe Beef and Liverpool House: several meals at each have been incredible, while others have been boring. This inconsistency has not yet been a problem at the youngest sibling, so maybe give it a shot. Perhaps on a nice night so you can sit out back. Just watch the prices of wines by the glass, as we've over-spent significantly on each visit despite the rather affordable food.

            2) L'Express. This really isn't for the food, which of course is standard bistro fare. When I leave Montreal it is a place I'll miss just knowing is nearby. It's amazing that a restaurant not trying to re-invent anything for over 3 decades can somehow be so unique: I can't think of any other restaurant in the country where one can show up at 1:30am on a Tuesday and get classic Parisian dishes along with a decent $30 bottle of wine. Like Vin Papillon, L'Express didn't impress me on my first trip so many years ago, but it's now like an old friendship that stays constant even when neglected for months on end.

            3) Pied de Cochon picnic. I've probably recommended this a dozen times on chowhound, but ordering to-go dishes from APDC has served as the impetus for many of my favourite spring/summer memories of Parc Lafontaine (and of Montreal in general). If there's a nice night before you go, I can't recommend this highly enough. Bring your own forks, and don't order the pig's head.

            4) Lawrence. What is it about Lawrence? *Swoon* Just thinking about the place makes me feel warm inside. If they're still doing oyster happy-hour I'd go for that and then just keep eating dishes until I'm tossed out. Or maybe for brunch..

            5) Ugh... so many difficult choices! Some of my favourite dining experiences have been at 400 Coups, Quartier General, Kazu, 5ieme Peche, Dominion Square Tavern, 3 Petits Bouchons, Patisserie Rhubarbe, Chien Fumant, Pintxo, Laloux, Buvette Chez Simon, and Tuck Shop, so I would like to get back to each one last time... But if I really had to pick a fifth it might have to be the front terrasse of Le Filet. I sat here for 45 minutes trying to make that decision, which I think says a lot about the Montreal dining scene.. and maybe even more about me. You know why I've chosen it, so it really is a a necessity.

            Making this list has made me very sad, as I'm realizing it won't be very long before I'll have to follow the very advice I've written here... On my last day I'll probably get a dozen St. Viateur bagels, bring them to Olimpico's terrasse, and binge on dough for three hours while I cry into a latte.

        2. Hmmm, interesting question. I personally would go to some of the places I always meant to go but never found the time (or money). So...Impasto, Joe Beef, Damas. And APDC one last time. And perhaps Laloux for sentimental reasons. Not sure what the food is like there these days.

          1. In alphabetical order:

            Chez Bouffe, 4316 Ste Catherine E
            Bouillon Bilk, 1595 St Laurent
            Club Chasse et Pêche, 423 St Claude
            Hotel Herman, 5171 St Laurent
            Lawrence, 5201 St Laurent

            Alternates if reservations at 1 - 5 aren't available: Au Pied de Cochon, 536 Duluth E. Le Renard, 330 Mont Royal E. Chez Delmo, 275 Notre Dame O

            1. I would definitely go to:
              3 Petits Bouchons for their mushroom tartiflette, fried stuffed dates and octopus
              Le Filet for their pasta with shaved fois gras and all their raw fish dishes
              Bouillon Bilk for their braised pork poutine
              CCEP for the wonderful ambience and their signature risotto
              Olive and Gourmando for their Spicy chicken and avocado sandwich(the bread is grilled and chewy) and extra crunchy palmiers
              Chalet barbq for their french fries and gravy
              Milos for the best lunch in town, I usually get their tuna burger and zucchini fries and their delicious baklava ice cream

              1 Reply
              1. re: DowntownJosie

                So didn't quite make all the places I wanted, but did manage to return to:

                Lawrence
                Boullion Bilk
                Hotel Hermain
                Laloux (brunch)
                Le express

                And of course Fairmont bagel, le banquise and a few other snacks

                All were great. Has been a memorable 5 years in this city that introduced me to good food and wine. Thanks to all the regular contributors, I'll be sure to check back in when I come for a visit