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As for the section of the airport that is post-U.S. customs, don't expect much.  Starbucks, expensive Burger King, a locally-themed restaurant, and a sit-down restaurant called Houston's Steaks and Ribs which exists elsewhere (I know this because it's in Edmonton's domestic terminal).

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Anything in Downtown Montreal worth seeking out? I know about Schwarz's, but other non-fine dining places? Staying at the W this weekend for a bachelor party. Thanks in advance...

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I haven't been back to Montreal since 2012, but I enjoyed Restaurant Holder on rue McGill quite a lot when I was there. Delicious steak frites and a nice selection of Quebecois cheeses.

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On 6/27/2016 at 1:38 PM, tentimesodds said:

Anything in Downtown Montreal worth seeking out? I know about Schwarz's, but other non-fine dining places? Staying at the W this weekend for a bachelor party. Thanks in advance...

Get a pound of smoked meat to go at Schwartz's, a half-dozen bagels at St.-Viateur, and have them for breakfast in your hotel room (cream cheese optional - I happen to love the combination, much to some people's consternation (*)) - there is no need to dine *in* either of these restaurants, or to waste a lunch or dinner dining there: Combine the best of both, and you'll have some of the best sandwiches you'll ever eat - all you'll need to worry about is your morning coffee.

Sit at the zinc bar at L'Express and have a terrific steak-frites (or whatever else strikes your fancy) with a glass of red Bordeaux.

(*) There is almost no conceptual difference between smoked meat and smoked salmon when it comes to bagels and cream cheese - people are very closed-minded about this combination, but it works, and it works well.

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On 6/27/2016 at 1:38 PM, tentimesodds said:

Anything in Downtown Montreal worth seeking out? I know about Schwarz's, but other non-fine dining places? Staying at the W this weekend for a bachelor party. Thanks in advance...

I was just there.  Don't have time to describe my meals in detail, except to offer these three recommendations:

1. Le Quartier Général:  A couple of miles from downtown, but very nice walk.  Very pleasant, neighborhood place.  very solid; not spectacular--the sort of place where you would regularly go with friends if you lived in town.  (There's a review or two upthread here.)  NOTE:  BYOB (and everyone does).

2.  Bouillon Bilk:  It's downtown.  Excellent, very cutting-edge; and room at the bar if you're on your own.  Very high quality cooking, and a definite, very content buzz.

3.  This was my favorite meal not only of my trip, but of the past year or so, anywhere:  Le Comptoir, which was recommended by 1000yregg a page or so back.   http://comptoircharcuteriesetvins.ca/menus/#soir.  Put yourself at the bar, and in the hands of the young, enthusiastic folks there.  Great wine choices; *fantastic* charcuterie (order the small if by yourself), and amazing dishes.  Plus it's the most convivial place imaginable (or it was the night I was there, anyway).  A true slice of the city.  Everyone but me knew everyone else (or so it seemed); and they made me feel right at home.  I had the "Tataki loin of veal, sage puree, armillary, 
pickled radish, fried sweetbreads, marsala reduction," and the "Nantes carrots, bresaola, dried meringue 
with coriander seeds & coffee."  Both fantastic, especially the latter.  I know, you're thinking: carrots.  But trust me--you won't regret it.  And everything else looked scrumptious, too.  I'd gladly order everything on the menu.  Inventive, delicious, inspired, prepared and served with care and love.

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While glancing into Ma Poule Mouillée last Friday, a random woman walked past me on the street, paused for a moment, and then turned around to tell me in several languages that this place had le meilleur poulet. That she had even been to Portugal, and this was the best. Naturally I insisted to my local friends that we eat there the following night, even though they guaranteed me there would be a long line and wait.  Sure enough, we arrived about 6:00 and did not get food until almost 7:30. Despite the crowds, we were able to get table easily as most people were getting carryout. I got the "Louis Cyr" plate, which is a half chicken, a big mound of fries, and a big salad. The chicken comes sauced and you can get extra "sauce piquante" on the side; as far as I could tell there was just one type of sauce available. The sauce is not all that spicy but is flavorful. The chicken was very good, the fries pretty good, and the salad...well, you don't come here to eat salad but part of it sat under the chicken in a way that caused the dressing to mix with the chicken sauce in an unpleasing way. Next time I would get the "Tony Alves". which is just a whole chicken. Also, I would get there ten minutes before opening.

Brigade down in the shopping area near Rue Sainte-Catherine had decent fast-casual pizza with actual non-conveyor ovens.

 

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I'm heading to Montreal this spring with my family (wife and two kids under 9).  Does anyone have any recommendations for eating with the family?

I have Schwartz's for smoked mean and St. Viateur for bagels on my list already.  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, mnnchas said:

I'm heading to Montreal this spring with my family (wife and two kids under 9).  Does anyone have any recommendations for eating with the family?

I have Schwartz's for smoked mean and St. Viateur for bagels on my list already.  Thanks!

Scroll up - there's a wealth of information in this thread, and I hope you get some more current recommendations as well. 

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On 2/2/2019 at 10:16 PM, mnnchas said:

I'm heading to Montreal this spring with my family (wife and two kids under 9).  Does anyone have any recommendations for eating with the family?

I have Schwartz's for smoked mean and St. Viateur for bagels on my list already.  Thanks!

Just a head's up that, alas, Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins, about which I raved above, closed in 2017.

9 hours ago, Marty L. said:

Just a head's up that, alas, Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins, about which I raved above, closed in 2017.

A bit of research uncovers that the chef is now running this place, Comptoir Sainte-Cécile, which has only a few counter stools.  By the looks of it, I'd definitely check it out for a casual lunch or brunch.

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On 2/2/2019 at 10:16 PM, mnnchas said:

I'm heading to Montreal this spring with my family (wife and two kids under 9).  Does anyone have any recommendations for eating with the family?

I have Schwartz's for smoked mean and St. Viateur for bagels on my list already.  Thanks!

 
Never been, so can't offer any advice, but did hear something like the following on NPR, and would be interested in your impression on return.
 
When the Quebec independence movement was at its zenith many corporations with HQs in Montreal fled to Toronto. Years later the result is that the city's tax base has shrunk to the point where they can't afford to repair sidewalks and potholes, and are well on their way to becoming the Detroit of Canada.
 
I want to believe that's an exaggeration.........

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I'm headed to Montreal next month as well, so any current recommendations are definitely welcome! I'm reading through this thread now as well. Thanks. 

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https://www.nouillesdelanzhou.com/

Cheap, great, atmospheric (fun people watching and a busy grocery store downstairs), be prepared to wait in line/outside (but not too long).  Veggie daughter was happy too.

Depending on the kids and what’s in season, Jean Talon market might be fun.  We had amazing corn on the cob and seascape strawberries, but this was in September (go figure!)

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Its only January, but we just rented an apartment in Montreal for the month of May (we're driving up from NYC, stopping in Glens Falls for a couple of nights so my wife can revisit where she lived as a child).  At any rate, except for 3-4 nights in Quebec City, we'll be needing recommendations on restaurants, places to see, some nearby day trips, etc. to fill the month.  No need to recap what's already been said on this thread -- I've read every word of it & took notes.  But, if anyone has any place that they've eaten at in the past year or so that isn't one of the places that I should be expected to know about (I'm talkin' Joe Beef, Pied De Cochon, L'Express, Nora Gray, Le Quartier General....), please share (I'm looking at you mnnchas & Mark D.).  Same goes for Quebec City.  For other than eats, please send me a message if there's no other appropriate place on the boards.  Thanks.

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20 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Its only January, but we just rented an apartment in Montreal for the month of May (we're driving up from NYC, stopping in Glens Falls for a couple of nights so my wife can revisit where she lived as a child).  At any rate, except for 3-4 nights in Quebec City, we'll be needing recommendations on restaurants, places to see, some nearby day trips, etc. to fill the month.  No need to recap what's already been said on this thread -- I've read every word of it & took notes.  But, if anyone has any place that they've eaten at in the past year or so that isn't one of the places that I should be expected to know about (I'm talkin' Joe Beef, Pied De Cochon, L'Express, Nora Gray, Le Quartier General....), please share (I'm looking at you mnnchas & Mark D.).  Same goes for Quebec City.  For other than eats, please send me a message if there's no other appropriate place on the boards.  Thanks.

I've been spending a lot of time in Montreal recently (including right now). About two months total since last July. Ate at more than 30 different restaurants. Also know where to find the best coffee, patisserie, etc. in le Plateau. And markets, if you're going to be cooking. I could send you a link to the google map I've made of, well, everything.

Getting ready to head to the airport soon. Will try to write more once I've settled in there and have time to kill. If I forget, don't hesitate to ping me.

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41 minutes ago, porcupine said:

I've been spending a lot of time in Montreal recently (including right now). About two months total since last July. Ate at more than 30 different restaurants. Also know where to find the best coffee, patisserie, etc. in le Plateau. And markets, if you're going to be cooking. I could send you a link to the google map I've made of, well, everything.

Getting ready to head to the airport soon. Will try to write more once I've settled in there and have time to kill. If I forget, don't hesitate to ping me.

Looking forward to your comments.  Much appreciated.

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I have a ton of information to share but not hours in which to do it. Tell me what neoghborhood you're staying in and what types of things you like to do, and I can get more specific. Also, do you have a dog? Montréal is not dog-friendly; good luck finding a place with a terrasse where you can dine with your dog.

For restaurants, take my suggestions with a grain of salt. I don't drink except a beer or glass of wine once or twice a month, and I don't care for formal dining. I do like original, innovative, creative food in almost any setting. In DC I prefer Tail Up Goat to Metier, to give you a metric. 

Favorite restaurants

  • Le Chien Fumant
  • Hélicoptère
  • Damas
  • La Maison de Mademoiselle Dumpling
  • and if you must go more formal, Bouillon Bilk

I sent you a link to my google map which has more than 60 food-related places marked. If you want more detail about anything, just ask.

ps just noticed from Quebec thread that you're interested in wine bars.  Check out Alma in Outremont.

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A friend of mine just opened Soupe des Artes, 1635 Clark, Montreal.  She's been in the biz for 30+ years in one form or another and is a fine, fine chef.   Soupe des Artes has a Facebook page and you can see what she's got on the menu for the day.   I haven't been here, but I can vouch for her cooking generally.

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Got your map - great... thanks.

It seems that we're in the same range and interest, as we're a cross from upper moderate to store front mom & pop places. I'm an old Chowhound person & the key is finding interesting, tasty, well made & non-fussy food.  In NYC, that means from Flushing Chinatown dives & many ethnic enclaves up to Gramercy Tavern.  Just about never in the high end stuff (Per Se, etc).  Curious why everyone really loves Damas - we have many local Syrian, Lebanese, Yemen and other middle eastern places around us and we're definitely interested to go to find out.  

If you're curious about us and want to waste time, take a look at the listing I posted about our stay in Paris last May.  Sort of looks like your Montreal list in my opinion.  We get around, so we weren't so concerned about which neighborhood in Montreal to stay in.  We'll get to all of them, as well as some places outside of the city.  We rented an apt. in the high rise next to the Bell Center.  It's a 2 bedroom & has 2 bathrooms (crucial to our marriage remaining viable), has a garage parking space, a roof deck, a terrace and is over the Metro & underground city.  We'll do a lot of walking and get to both Atwater and Jean Talon Markets.  No dog (allergies).  Too much info?

Again, thanks.

eta: Weezy - thanks for the Soupe des Artes info.  Sounds like a plan.

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I do not remotely claim to be a Montreal expert and it sounds like there are some on this thread, but will chime in to say that on a weekend trip to Montreal over the summer, greatly enjoyed meals at Le Chien Fumant (great food, great atmosphere, and in a cool neighborhood) and Le St-Urbain (even better food, although fairly far out from the city center with not much around it, although still a nice atmosphere with a nice patio). Both fit your description of your food priorities well (outstanding food with great value and a laid back atmosphere).

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Le St-Urbain is on our list, as it was highly recommended by several other friends.  I’m glad to hear that you also liked it.  Thank you for your post.

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19 hours ago, Steve R. said:

 We get around, so we weren't so concerned about which neighborhood in Montreal to stay in.  We'll get to all of them, as well as some places outside of the city.  We rented an apt. in the high rise next to the Bell Center.  It's a 2 bedroom & has 2 bathrooms (crucial to our marriage remaining viable), has a garage parking space, a roof deck, a terrace and is over the Metro & underground city.  We'll do a lot of walking and get to both Atwater and Jean Talon Markets.  No dog (allergies).  Too much info?

 

A few really random thoughts:

Looks like you're close to two orange line stops, so that will make it easy to get around. Last July I walked an average of over 8 miles each day. Partly because dog, but also because the Metro doesn't go everywhere, and some of the bus lines run very infrequently.

I'm much more familiar with le Plateau than with the area you're staying in. Looks like you are close to Griffintown, which is supposed to be happening but I haven't explored there yet. Atwater market is really nice. Jean Talon is much the same but with many more produce vendors, who all seem to buy from the same produce auction places, so big deal. But the produce is usually excellent quality. Actually, I heard a rumor about internal politics leading to big changes at marché Jean Talon that will result in fewer vendors next summer. We'll see.

At Jean Talon look for Marché Des Saveurs Du Québec, which features foods from Quebec. Quebec is cheese-lovers' heaven; there are so many small producers of excellent cheeses. You could spend your whole month eating nothing but Quebec cheese and still not taste it all.

We took two weekend trips to visit fromageries in the countryside, with mixed results. It was a lot of driving around with some disappointments but beautiful scenery.

Great hiking at the national parks in Quebec, but we didn't do much because of serious limitations on where we could take the dog.

Like ice cream? Stay away from Coaticook, the local grocery store brand. We went to their main place in the town of Coaticook. Bleh.  For ice cream, try Cremerie Meu Meu, Kem CoBa, BoBec, and le Bilboquet (in that order).

Best coffee: Cafe Noble, Pourquoi Pas, Cafe 8oz.

Fantastic boucerie called La Queue De Cochon (near the best dumplings in town).

Fantastic bread and pastries at Boulangerie le Toledo on ave. Mont Royal. Fantastic bread at le Fromentier on ave. Laurier.

Put together a picnic and spend an evening chilling out in one of the gorgeous neighborhood parks (ours is Parc Wilfrid Laurier). You'll see people playing games, having cookouts on portable hibachis, random small groups of musicians practicing. Well, I'm not sure if it will be warm enough in May for all that, but keep eyes open.

Parc Jean Mance has free symphony concerts in the summer, not sure if that will be happening in May, though.

Spend time roaming in le Plateau, especially east of rue St. Denis. There's a store that specializes in buttons. Another for antique Japanese textiles. A cooperative handmade pottery shop. The second best chocolates in the world at le Chocolats de Chloe (first place goes to Artisan Confections in NoVa). Little shops on little streets, so fun to discover.

Like architecture? Pay attention to the exterior stairways in le Plateau. So much variety.

More later, I need to get on with my day.

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Wow.  Great stuff -- just the kinds of things I need to know.  Forget the rest of your day/life... keep writing 😏

Thanks.

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More random thoughts.

Montréal is full of festivals in the summer - music, theater, film, etc. I have no idea if any are happening in May but google around and if you find something, try it.

I haven't been to the art museums in years so I can't point to anything in particular, but if you like art museums, they're worth your time. So is the Biodome. Save these for a rainy day.

The so-called "underground city" is just a network of passageways connecting some of the large shopping/business complexes in the downtown core. Really nice option when the weather sucks, however I always lose my bearings and end up at some obscure exit with a bunch of pot smokers hanging around [exaggerating]. I find it difficult to navigate. But again, if you have a rainy day, check it out.

Pot smoke is everywhere. Get used to it. So is tobacco smoke. And Montréal is, frankly, a dirty city. In terms of civic appearance it's the opposite of Vancouver. But it's so full of joie de vie...

For a month-long stay buy an Opus card and choose the monthly option. Unlimited rides on buses and subways for the whole month, for something like 76 CAD. You'll save a ton vs. buying individual trips.

I am no fan of large complexes or large businesses, but Hudson's Bay ("la Baie") is f'in impressive, kind of like Takashimaya was in NYC, but not as nice. Building is 7 floors occupying half a city block. I went to buy some housewares but found it overwhelming.

If you explore downtown you'll find some nice contemporary art galleries, and many of the same brand stores you'll find in many North American and European cities. Sadly the galleries are somewhat spread out.

I rely on my iPhone to navigate but both google maps and apple maps can't handle the tall buildings downtown and frequently mis-locate me. Study a map and learn the layout before you head out.

Speaking of directions, Montréalers have an unusual sense of cardinal direction. You'll see.

"Chinatown" is a bust. Head there if you like bubble tea and associated drinks, and Asian pastries [reluctant to use that term]. You can find decent stuff (egg tarts, buns, mochi) at Coco. Presotea makes the best bubble tea and their mango slushies are made with fresh mango whenever they can get it. 

The old town area is worth a stroll for the architecture. Sadly, those neat old buildings house too many cheap tourist souvenir places. But again, explore; there are some galleries (overpriced), and other nice small shops selling housewares and such. The food scene there is mostly pitiful. The reason why Olive et Gourmando is always mobbed is that it's the only good food in that part of town. Pro tip: google and around for cruise ship schedules and if you find any arriving, STAY THE HELL AWAY from old town. It's horrible when a few thousand extra day-trippers are mobbing the narrow streets. I know from experience.

Sadly you won't be around for the "competition weekend" - the Formula 1 race, which I think is always the first or second weekend in June. The city goes nuts for F1. It's one big party. Even if you don't care for auto racing, it's fun to experience the atmosphere. If you can extend your stay into June give it a try.

need to get on with my day. Next up, ethnic neighborhoods, Mont Royal, and so on.

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