Olive and Gourmando is open daily from 9 to 5 for dine in or take out. They are a bakery and a restaurant with breakfast available all day but lunch items only after 11. It’s hugely popular with benches outside for waiting. Inside the medium sized place is a wood floor, exposed ducts, decorated chalkboards on the walls, and small tightly packed wood tables. The music in the background is almost drowned out by the hum of conversation. Some counter seating is available by the windows and the baked goods are in a display case by the register/sign-in area. Lots of plants and decorations finish out the decor. If you’re in need of breakfast or lunch I’d go get in line when you’re in town. Continue reading
Le Mousso is a 30-seat restaurant offering a tasting menu and optional pairings 3 nights a week. They dropped to #41 on the Canada’s 100 Best List. Two backlit murals by Jean-Paul Mousseau decorate the room. He was not only a prominent Quebec artist but also the grandfather of the chef and founder Antonin Mousseau-Rivard. The whole room starts at the same time and there’s one seating that lasts about 3 hours. The chef presents a description of the dish, as each is served, in both English and French. Then another person presented a description for each wine pairing and mercifully it was only in French. The descriptions went on way too long with French taking twice the amount of time as English. I found the setup tedious maybe because the food deteriorated as the evening wore on. So much thought was given to the preparation, that the end result was lost. The color palate was too bland, it was over-priced and the flavor profile was lacking. I applaud what they are doing but I can’t give this one a recommendation. Continue reading
Gia Vin and Grill opened in December and is known for their grilled meats, which unfortunately are only available at night. It’s tucked away below the highway and in the shadow of the adjacent Home Depot. However, once you get inside you’ll forget the location, except when you see the cars going by out the window. Lots of light wood, marble, green tile, exposed ductwork and 60s and 70s music in the background. A long bar also has seating in addition to the small tables. As the name would imply they do have a lot of wines and the helpful servers (Tatianna was great) will guide your selection to go with the dishes you choose. We enjoyed our lunch but I suspect evening offers a better selection of dishes. They ranked #36 on the Best of Canada list. Continue reading
Mastard is owned and run by Chef Simon Mathys and his wife Viki Brisson-Sylvestre. They offer a 5-course tasting menu of local and seasonal items with an array of cocktails and natural wines. Opening in Jan. 2021, it feels like a neighborhood restaurant but can accommodate 54 people. They made #55 on the 100 Best of Canada list. Windows look out onto the street and the lights are lowered. The tin ceiling was opposite the very wide plank wood floor. The bar, which makes many of its own fruit infusions was set with 5 chairs and the long wall opposite had bench seating that was a higher level than the chairs on the opposite side of the marble table. Two of the walls had paintings on the wall and otherwise, the decorations were plants. Chef Mathys was in the house and brought food out to some but not all the tables. Optional pairings are available with the tasting but we chose our own bottle of wine and started with a cocktail. The food was mixed but the service was first-rate. Continue reading
Monarque was a large place in the business district and was really three restaurants in one. The front of the place had a more casual menu and feel and the back was modern and elegant with a set lunch menu. The long bar had 20 stools for lounge dining. Rock music was in the background, the wall had lots of mirrors and a striking tile pattern ran the entire length of the place. An open kitchen was in the middle of the long room. In the back were white clothes and napkins and some semi-circular booths to make up the stylish interior. On Canada’s 100 best list it came in at #16. At lunch there was a 2 course menu with the main plate determining the price or there was the option of ordering beef. With the beef option, the first course is sold separately. Continue reading
Joe Beef opened in 2005, named for Charles McKiernan, a tavern owner who died at 54 due to gluttony and generosity. Joe Beef offers a casual take on French fine dining in Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighborhood. The menu changes daily depending on what is fresh and available but oysters seem to be ever-present as are rich, heavy sauces. The menu lists plates of the day, most to be shared and a chalkboard has additional specials. Additionally, they had 3 types of oysters, caviar service and fish (maybe raw?). It won the #24 spot on Canada’s 2023 100 Best list. A couple rooms are closely set with small wood tables and lively music in the background. A full bar is available as is a large wine list and the diners are furnished a towel-sized napkin. Service was great and helpful and the food was wonderful. Continue reading
Toqué was #45 on the most recent list of the 100 Best of Canada. Owners Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche emphasize the use of local products. It started in 1993 on a much smaller scale until in 2004 they moved it closer to Old Montreal and downtown. It is a tasteful place with an elegant interior, music in the background, white tablecloths and napkins, windows to the street and excellent service. For lunch they offer a 2-course option with the price of your lunch dependent on the main plate and including coffee or tea. Dessert is optional and extra. It was a lovely place to eat with beautiful and tasty food. We had a terrific lunch and I bet dinner would also be good there. Continue reading
Mon Lapin was created by Marc-Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic, a chef and sommelier husband and wife team. Joining the team were Jessica Québécois (chef), Alex Landry (sommelier) and Marc-Antoine Gélinas (front) to move the restaurant to #1 on Canada’s 2023’s 100 Best list. Opening in 2018 in the area called Little Italy, they present an ever-changing menu of seasonal and local ingredients accompanied by natural wines. It started quite tiny but they were able to expand after a couple of years and now have room to accommodate a few walk-ins. The beautiful tile floor is set with small tables of wood or marble under lowered lighting and fairly loud upbeat music. The vibe is energetic and the service is outstanding. The servers know about the food and wines and will help you make a meal plan that works together. For example, after we selected our shared plates the server brought out several wines at different price points, described them and then we chose one. It was a fabulous evening and I would recommend it to anyone who can get there. Continue reading
Hotel Herman was started by a couple of guys that wanted to have a hotel and restaurant but fell in love with the restaurant part and ended up with no room for a lodging. As our server said it’ll become a hotel “maybe when we’re all rich!” They serve a number of small plates that are easily shared and recommend that you order several per person. The service is efficient and friendly creating a nice vibe in the place.
This moderately sized place has numerous tables along with a long bar and they need them all. Popular and fairly fast, as their name would indicate. Very attentive and efficient service made it a pleasant place but the noise level was moderate. We started with the bone marrow which was excellent, three large bones-enough to share. We also had the chicken liver pate, on the waitress’ recommendation and it was smooth and tasty but nothing new. The pistachios added a nice crunch but it really could have benefitted from a topping of jelly. Oddly it didn’t come with nice toasts but they did have cornichons and mustard for the table.
A larger, slightly elegant place located in a store front labeled for an electronics store. Inside is a stark white room with nice windows on one side but no art or decoration adorns the wall which gives it a sterile feeling. Our particular waitress embodied that sterility but others seemed more animated. The wine list is marked up more than others, however the foods are well priced and mostly very good.
This is a smaller place where the menu changes daily. Their dozen 2-3 tops are constantly full and they offer a larger picnic table for larger parties. The kitchen is on one end of the room and you could see the guys coming in with supplies from their butcher shop which is located a couple of doors down. The plates are smaller and most are designed for sharing.
A big and POPULAR place – and with this goes all the usual – noisy, crowded and mixed service. A very happy crowd, though, and the plates are huge but mostly brown. The seating is close enough that there is across the table talk with others glad to show off their plates and offer opinions but with so many people the service timing was way off and they would walk right by your empty glass with water pitcher in hand. All of the service personnel were so friendly though, it was hard to take offense.
A moderately sized place, if you count the large patio in the back. They have also added a room next door but it does not yet have a license to sell wine so it hardly counts yet – but soon. It is known for its vegetables some of which are harvested from the garden at Joe Beef and others are purchased from local farmers. Either way they stress fresh and seasonal.