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Jul 16, 2014 11:32 AM

Quebecois Cuisine in Montreal, Quebec City

Will be visiting Montreal and Quebec City in August. During my last trip to Montreal, was amazed by Au Pied du Cochon and have now read the APdC and Joe Beef cookbooks. Any suggestions for further explorations of Quebecois food in Montreal and Quebec City? This Baltimore Chowhound says "Thanks" and "Merci" in advance.

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  1. Restaurants:
    Binerie Mont Royal, 367 Mont Royal O
    Chez Ma Tante, 3180 Fleury E
    Les Jardins Sauvages, 17 Martin, St. Roch de l'Achigan
    Le Renard, 330 Mont Royal E

    Délires du terroir, 6406 Saint Hubert
    Fous de la Gaspésie 1253 Beaubien E.
    Les Iles en Ville 5335 Wellington
    Boucherie Lawrence 5237 St Laurent
    La Maison du Roti 1969 Mont Royal E

    1. Hello Chef!

      I don't know much about Quebec City (although you might enjoy Le Continental for typical french service)

      For Montreal, Quebecois food can be declined on different subjects.

      The first thing you might want to do is look at our farmer's market for what is popular, available, in season. Atwater Market and Marché Jean-Talon are ideal for this:

      Next you might wonder what is traditional quebec food, where it all came from. Where did Martin Picard look at when he wanted to "reinvent" quebec traditions? Binerie Mont-Royal is ideal for this.

      But is that all? Are there other remnants of a bygone age available for people interested in traditional quebec? Of course! There are two "brasseries" (pubs) near one another who, although they were renovated, can offer an idea of what used to be popular Brasserie Chez Capri and Chez Magnan. You order the beef dip sandwich or pork knucles at Capri and the roast beef at Magnan

      But all thoses places are low brow! Where does that french flair comes from? That sophistication? It came with a lot of french chef during expo 67 who decided to stay here. L'express is a very well known remnant of where french chefs started to put their imprint on the Montreal scene. Le Mas des Oliviers is another. Chez la mère Michel is a sentimental favorite (its a family classic) but its not as well placed on the foodie map (to be frank, its nowhere to be found. It was still holding up last time I've heard of it though!


      But where did those french influences take hold in quebec soil to transform themselves into APDC and Joe Beef? It started probably with Toqué, with Chef Normand Laprise. You can still go there, where Chef Laprise is still innovating.

      Ok! I get it! But what about the new wave? Any new innovators/young pirates following APDC and Joe Beef I should know about?

      Sure! Just look at the following list!!!

      *Bouillon Bilk (in the upscale bistro style
      *Les 400 coups (made their name with their deserts. With their pastry chef gone I still hear good things.
      *Le Filet (seafood restaurant from the crew behind
      Club Chasse & Pêche
      *Nora Gray (italian restaurant from ex joe beef wife and husband duo
      *Le Quartier Général (local french bistro with higher end food
      *Brasserie T (french bistro by the crew behind Toqué
      *Tuck Shop (New players in Saint-Henri
      *Pastaga (upscale bistro from a high end chef
      *Triple Crown Dinette (southern american classics by a passionate crew
      *Le Chien Fumant (former Joe Beef exiles who opened the same thing on the plateau. Joe Beef doesn't like them
      *Lawrence (another high end bistro from a crew that made their mark
      *Club Chasse et Pêche (THE choice for high high high end surf and turf
      *Europea (Toqué's main competitor in the high end tasting menu scene
      *Impasto (modern italian by Chef Forgione formerly of Osteria Venti and Stephano Faita... somewhat a celebrity food figure

      Am I missing anything? Of course I am. This is just a slice of the french quebec influence. There are a ton of culture that influenced our food scene that I omitted: italians, jews, portuguese, spanish, chinese, thai, japanese, vietnamese, lebanese, syrian, moroccan, ect, ect ect.

      15 Replies
      1. re: CaptCrunch

        Years ago in Montreal a restaurant called Les Filles du Roi did Quebecois cuisine. Possibly the best meal I ever ate in my life was their Sunday brunch, obviously intended to sustain a farmer working outdoors in the Canadian winter---wonderful beans baked with salt pork and, oh my goodness, ham and dumplings poached in maple syrup. Someone should revive Les Filles du Roi.

        1. re: Querencia

          It still exists! I've heard of Les Filles du Roy but its considered somewhat of a tourist attraction in the old port.

          Maybe I've been missing something with my highbrow attitude (I'm always a bit weary of old port restaurants
          ). I'll check their sunday brunch!!!

          1. re: CaptCrunch

            There is a similar restaurant in Québec City, Aux Anciens Canadiens,
            but the recent reviews I've read weren't all stellar.


            A relative of mine, who is an excellent cook and likes his food, went there many years ago and liked it for old homestyle cooking. It might well be worthy if one orders carefully.

            Their daily special extends until 6 pm, and it is the kind of place one could have what used to be called a "Sunday Dinner". I have no knowledge about the quality of their cooking nowadays.

            Many commenters say the lunch or early dinner is a great bargain. Some might like that, and then just have a quality snack in your hotel room or rental later on, some cheese, pâté, prepared green salad etc.
            It is in a very cute old house.

            I find that kind of food too heavy on a daily basis for modern urban lives. Of course I make tourtière, but I serve it with a mixed salad or sautéed greens. Peasants in cold countries needed a lot of calories. Urbanites with central heating who work on computers all day don't.

            1. re: lagatta

              I'll keep in mind next time I go to Quebec. I don't do that often though. I'm basically an urban city dweller without a car and Quebec is a village built on a hill with poor public transport :P.

              I remember, first time I went to Quebec, asking people where downtown was. Couldn't get a straight answer. :D

              1. re: CaptCrunch

                Yes, I'm like that too; whole working life carfree. I spent some months working there some years, er decades, ago, and I was staying in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the old upper town just outside the walls, and working between the Centre de congrès and locations near Charest down the hill. I just walked. Downtown encompasses the main drag of the Old City (where Simons and the City Hall are located) and some streets below the hill such as Charest, but a lot of economic activity had already fled to Sainte-Foy.

                I certainly remember meals with colleagues at Le Continental. It was very vieille Europe in service, and Italian as much as French.

                1. re: lagatta

                  I would avoid Aux anciens canadiens, it's not good at all and very expensive.

                  Le Buffet de l'Antiquaire might interest you. It's more a "binerie" but it's honest and they serve some traditional food :

                  1. re: vabou

                    Yes, that does sound more promising.

              2. re: lagatta

                Its been a number of years but our family went to Aux Ancien Canadiens on two separate visits for their lunch and early dinner specials and had very good meals. I agree with the homestyle cooking carefully prepared description and we found the atmosphere traditional and dignified, not hokey. Fine for a family. Its in the Upper Town, near the Chateau Frontenac...Definitely a good place to try sugar pie, etc.

                ps from the website the waitresses seem to have gotten younger and their costumes less modest!

                Ive always wanted to visit the Auberge Baker, just down the river from QC on the way to Beaupre and near the Falls. It offers traditional cuisine - havent seen it discussed here.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  I've never been there. That is a very pretty drive, by the way.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    agreed. We camped a couple of times up at Mount Saint Anne, in addition to a couple of visits to QC - despite the highway strip along the river, its a lovely.region and it only gets better, the farther east you go. To try the traditional regional food its always possible to stop at a simple diner (which is likely to have pea soup or such)a casse croute for poutine, a farmers market or even a corner grocery. We were surprised how many little groceries in Quebec province offered locally made pies, tourtiere, etc or carried quite decent french bread, pate, etc. and of course bleuets. Satisfying for simple bourgeois tastes like ours.

                    ps here is a link to a post about another quebecois place in QC.

                    Also to mention that we bourgeois appreciated the inexpensive chef special lunch we had at Laurie Raphael on that fairly long past visit. Stylish place, tasty creative food and the price was right. Hevent seen much about LR in QC on this board recently.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Agree 100% with jen kalb about Aux Anciens Canadiens. I went in winter, and it's perfect stick-to-your-ribs food. Also agree the atmosphere is very nice and cozy. The soup + tourtiere + desert lunch special was only $15 (it's been a few years and is now $20), making it a great deal in that part of town, too.

              3. re: CaptCrunch

                Great post! Where would you put Lemeac in the scheme of things?

                1. re: Fritzy

                  Thank you!

                  I'd say modern french­. There has always been a steady stream of solid french restaurants to chose from in Montreal. They are roughly contemporary to Au Pied de Cochon so I don't really consider them "up and comers". They are Post Toqué however.

                  I'd see them as little cousins of the venerable french institutions that came in the 60's. A bit more modern vision that plays in the same sphere.

                  For example, my parents have been ordering roughly the same thing at Chez La Mère Michel from the last 30-40 years. My mother would order the crab soufflé on saffron rice as an appetizer. It always been the same quality, the same menu, the same atmosphere. Vieille France. Like a vision of a restaurant conserved in amber. Like ringing a bell. Lemeac is probably a bit more modern.

                2. re: CaptCrunch

                  Merci, CaptCrunch. Great list and great reading. Will report after trip.

                  1. re: chefdilettante

                    Thank you! Please do!

                    Forgot to mention an interesting information: Fred Morin (one of the two chefs who started Joe Beef) and Martin Picard both worked in the kitchen of Normand Laprise's Toque when they started their career. Martin still has close ties with Laprise.

                    If you are a fan of cookbook and enjoy Toqué's cuisine you might find interesting to know they published a cookbook fairly recently too.


                    Also, if you go to the binerie, order the special of the day and the beans (which you might know as boston baked beans but we call fêve aux lard... lard beans). I've heard the tourtière off special can be dry. When that's the case we put ketchup on it (hell... I puit ketchup on my tourtière even when its not dry! :D

                3. Hello chefdilettante

                  I just made a post that might be of interest to you too so I'm copy pasting it in this thread too. I translated traditional quebec recipes in english to help you identify the classics better and maybe try a couple at hope should you be tempted.

                  Keep in mind however:
                  *This list is not meant to be exhaustive
                  *Its a list of classics, so there will be a million different versions
                  *When faced between a more fancy version and a version that felt more authentic, I chose authenticity
                  *"Authentic" is my own feeling based on my own memory. Your distance will vary.
                  *When available, I included a martin picard variation. if you enjoy, you should look for his cookbooks
                  *Yep, I used my tumblr account... its faster for me to update
                  *You might have the same exact recipe at home, or a variation. It happens! I preferred not to take any chance (maybe there could be interesting differences?). Those are classics from my childhood but maybe they are classic from the childhood of someone born in New England too.

                  Traditional Quebec Pea Soup

                  Martin Picard foie gras pea soup

                  Martin Picard Quebec Cretons

                  Tourtière (one variation amongst thousands

                  Quebec Sheperd's pie

                  Martin Picard Shepherd's pie

                  Meatball stew

                  Martin Picard Meatball stew

                  Pork Trotters Stew

                  Pineapple and maple syrup ham

                  Martin Picard baked beans

                  Martin Picard homemade ketchup


                  Chicken Pot Pie


                  Unemployed pudding

                  Martin Picard unemployed pudding

                  Grandfathers in syrup

                  Rice pudding

                  Bread pudding

                  Nun farts

                  Sucre à la crème

                  Sugar pie

                  Farlouche Pie

                  Potato candy

                  There are not a ton of restaurants who will serve the classics.
                  *Saint-Hubert makes a chicken pot pie,
                  *There is a restaurant called Mâche near Berri-UQAM metro who offer quebec shepherd pie, meatball stew and unemployed pudding
                  *i've heard that La Banquise has an interesting shepherd's pie
                  *La Binerie Mont-Royal will probably feature the most classics
                  *Sometimes Le Pied de Cochon offers variations on classics
                  *Marché Atwater and Marché Jean-talon are good places to find prepared versions of those recipes.
                  *You might find some of the menus in different restaurants so keep your eyes pealed!

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