Eccentric Montreal - Finding the strange and unusual. Redux
I know there is a discussion on this topic, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/591822, but it is a little outdated.
I would like to pose the same question to the community: When in Montreal where should my wife and I go for : Food, Drinks and tourism that is off the beaten path?
My wife and I are 38 years old and from Chicago.
I'll try to do something different for this post and will try to list off my "weird/eccentric spots" in Montreal, if I can think of any, in a "streams of consciousnesses fashion. Some I'll take from the link you referred to and will add my two cents.
One of the favorite "no bullshit" zones for residents of a very hip neighborhood. Its really a bar with only a restaurant liquor license so they have to sell you food to booze you up but they have a very relaxed
Patate au four
Baked potato as the main menu item. I still haven't had the time to go there but its been on my quirky list for a while. Its a Turkish specialty apparently (look for "kumpir" in wikipedia) and its apparently very good and more filling than you'd think!
Big in Japan Bar
I know speakeasy type bars are pretty big in the us but this is one of the fine one in Montreal. That is if you can find it (you have to know where to look! Its only a brown door with two japanese characters, no sign). Inside you'll find good cocktails, japanese whiskey, sake, umeshu and beer at a good price. The music is a mix of bossa nova, crooners and old french. Its one long bar and its lit by candles!
Chez La Mère Michel
This high brow old school french restaurant is anti conformist in that its in no foodie list, anywhere. It is, however, a classic stuck in amber. My parents have been going there for 30 years and - always - took the same thing... and they never were deceived. The menu reads like an archaeological expedition. I haven't gone in a while so I'm a bit weary of recommending it but last time I've heard it was still solid.
Aux Deux Pierrots
Don't go there. You don't want to go there. However, I must list it here. This place is known by all french canadians in Montreal. It never get talked about to outsiders because a) most don't talk french and b) those who talk french don't understand our songs.
Its a big bar, two floors with a big stage in the middle. You buy beer (and its not inexpensive), its packed to the rafters on weekends (rez recommended) and bands only play one thing: cover songs of popular french and english groups in the last 40ish years. A lot of those are classic quebecois songs few will relate with If you are a local, you usually go there a lot when you are young and you come back once in a while to celebrate something in a corny way. However, its always, always full and the client base is all ages. Its equivalent of going to a bavarian beer hall to hear german classic songs. Sure... you might get a few beattles or queen songs along the way but most of it is things you never heard by cover artists. It is, however, very quirky and very quebecois! I included a promo video that does a good job trying to show the energy when it gets really packed.
Its been around forever. Its in a basement. Mordecay Richler used to go there apparently (the bar is listed as "Dink's" in the film adaptation of "Barney's version"). Nick Auf Der Maur too. The barman couldn't tell me when it opened. The beer is cheap, the place is relatively clean, its full of hipsters however and there is always a band playing (usually in the folksy genre)
The king of kitch! Its a tiki themed chinese buffet! The food is not that good. Its not bad but it is appropriate for 1980's chinese buffet with red gloopy sauce. There are cheap tiki themed cocktails. The place is immense. They owners apparently bought most of the tiki stuff when the themed restaurants closed. You mostly go there if you like kitch and enjoy Martin Denny or Les Baxter once in a while.
In the middle of nowhere (still technically in montreal but with all the charm being near an autoroute can muster) there is a big orange building in the form of.. well... an orange. You go there to taste their eponymous drink: the orange julep. The orange julep taste like a weird mix between orange and cream. Like a liquid home made orange creamsicle. It kinda works. You cannot order anything else. You can order it with a Nathan's hot dog and a side of fries. If you are lucky you'll catch the rockabilly car exhibition.
Edit #1: thought of something else:
La Marmite su'l feu
Ever been to the reunion islands? Me neither! Its a french island. In the indian ocean, near madagascar. Originally occupied by Arabs, it got taken by portuguese before being finally being taken by france. If you are currently thinking "all those mixes must produce original food" you are right! Apparently you'll want to try "Le sandwich au bouchon gratiné". Bouchon (literally "cork" in french) is a pork or chicken dumpling. Its served in french bread with a chinese sauce, ketchup or mayo. You add grated cheese and you melt it and you have your "Sandwich au bouchon gratiné". You can add fries in your sandwich before adding the cheese to make an "american" "sandwich au bouchon gratiné"
The restaurant "Marmite su'l feu" is a stand near the atwater market which serves that dish, among others.
Tripes et Carviar
This is a new restaurant opened in verdun recently featured in "munchies". It specializes in everything offal.
The video in question:
I'll post more if I think of others!