Friday, May 27, 2005

The List, Pt. 1: A-M

Gibeau Orange Julep

“…an endless banquet” Montreal Food Guide.

$ Inexpensive
$$ Mid-range
$$$ Expensive

AEB indicates a tried & true favourite

Dates in brackets indicate the last time we visited the restaurant in question. They also give some idea of how essential we find these places.

All phone numbers are area code (514) numbers unless otherwise noted.

Abu Elias, 733 Côte-Vertu, 747-7754 (Ville St-Laurent)—A combination Lebanese butcher’s shop, grocery store, and grill that serves up some truly exceptional grilled meat sandwiches. Recommended: filet mignon, kafta (the best we’ve yet encountered in Montreal), and sojouk, a spicy homemade Armenian-Lebanese sausage. Ridiculously cheap, too, with most sandwiches running a mere $2.49-$3.49. Get yours “all-dressed.” $ (2013) AEB

Adonis, 2001 Sauvé W., 382-8606 (Ahuntsic)—Easily the city’s largest Middle Eastern specialty food store, Marché Adonis is also one of the city’s very best specialty food stores of any kind. Their selection is dizzying, their prices are very competitive.

Akhavan, 6170 Sherbrooke W., 485-4744 (NDG)—Nowhere near as big as Adonis, but still impressive, Akhavan is the Iranian/Persian answer to its Lebanese superstore counterpart. We’re particularly fond of Akhavan’s selection of basmati rices, their nuts (very fresh), their dried fruits (everything you’d expect from a top-notch Iranian grocer), and their baked goods, especially their delectable bamyeh, their honey-soaked honey beignets.

Amelio’s, 201 Rue Milton, 845-8396 (Downtown/McGill Ghetto)—I’ve been going here since it was on Lorne and it’s still one of my favorite pizzas in town. It’s very saucy (especially the vegetarian) and very cheesy and it probably wouldn’t pass the standards of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, but it still hits the spot. Recommended: vegetarian (kind of like having a cheese-topped ratatouille on a pizza crust) and the sausage pizza with additional mushrooms. $ (2010)

Un Amour des Thés, 1224 avenue Bernard, 279-2999 (Outremont)—Outremont’s specialty tea, well, specialist. Nice store with a nice selection of teas, teapots, teacups, and other tea-related accessories.

Andes, 4387 St Laurent Blvd., 848-1078 (Plateau)—renamed Sabor Latino.  Check out the listing in the N-Z part.

l’Anecdote, 801 Rachel E., 526-7967 (Plateau)—Nice ‘50s-style diner which serves good breakfasts and casse-croute fare for lunch and dinner that’s a cut above. Recommended: breakfasts, club sandwich. $ (2013)

Ange & Ricky, 195 Jarry E., 385-6094 (Jarry Park/Villeray)—A few years ago, Ange & Ricky was one of our proudest discoveries:  real Haitian soul food in a space that was part épicerie, part casse-croûte, and all heart.  We're sorry to report that things have changed at Ange & Ricky.  Any signs of it having been an épicerie are almost totally gone, the atmosphere isn't nearly as buoyant as it once was (although Ange is just as gracious and charismatic as she ever was), and, most importantly, the food isn't as captivating as it once was.  The tassot has remained reliable over the years, and the dirty rice and spicy cabbage salad are still good, but the fried chicken has become forgettable, there's no sign of any Haitian-style cashew pralines any longer, and, strangely, French fries have begun to appear on some of Ange & Ricky's "cuisine santé" platters.  Want to relive the glory days?  Check out this review.   Who knows, maybe things will turn around.  After all, it has been a devastatingly difficult year for Haiti and for the Haitian community at large.  $ (2010)

Arlequino, 1218 Drummond, 868-1666 (Downtown)--Arlequino is a new-fangled pizzeria whose  downtown location, over-the-top style, and deluxe pizzas (lobster, anyone?) make for a strange atmosphere.

Arouch, 917 Rue de Liège W., 270-1092 (Park Extension; + other locations, including one in Concordia's Molson School of Business building)—Located in the little-know Little Belgium section of Park Ex, this here’s the Montreal location of an Armenian lahmadjoune operation whose HQ is in Laval. Their flatbreads are very good, especially the one with cheese and roasted red pepper paste, but this is a bright, clean, modern operation—one with all the charm of your local Subway. Our #1 pick for lahmadjoune still tends to be Lahmadjoune Beyrouth-Yerevan, a.k.a. Chez Apo (see below), but if you’re in the neighborhood and you want to try yet another take on Armenian flatbread, Arouch is a good bet. $ (2007)

Arthur Quentin, 3960 St. Denis, 843-7513 (Plateau)—One of the city’s premier gourmet kitchen supply stores, Arthur Quentin also has high-end dinnerware and silverware, as well as home furnishings. A lot of people we know are afraid of this store because they just assume that it’s snobby and that the prices are way out of their range. Actually, the service is very friendly and the prices can be quite reasonable, depending on what you’re looking for (for instance, you can get a lovely Opinel pocket knife for $10-15). Website: HYPERLINK "http://www.arthurquentin.com" http://www.arthurquentin.com.

NEW!  l'Artisan Piadineria, 3421 St-Denis, 508-1433 (Plateau)--I'm not sure we were in desperate need of a piadineria in this town (we can hardly get pizza right), but such is life in Montreal.  You can't always get what you want, but, if you try sometimes, you just might find you get a piadina--an artisanal one, at that.  Anyway, the question is, what is a piadina?  Well, as you you might have gathered from some of the other reviews, it's a flatbread native to Naples and environs.  It's cooked up fresh on a griddle and is then used to envelop some savoury fillings (meat, cheese, greens, etc.)--kind of like an Italian wrap.    L'Artisan Piadineria has too many toppings, too many options, for my liking.  Scale back the menu and go with straight-up hits, would be my advice to the management.  My advice to you is to go with one of the daily specials.  Also, think juicy.  The flatbread itself is pretty dry.  It benefits from a choice of fillings that is going to be both a tasty and a juicy combination.  Unfortunately, many of the options on the menu aren't going to deliver on that promise, but, then again, many others will.  Our best bet was a super juicy sausage number that was called the Napoli, or the Neapolitan, or something like that.  We figured it had to be good, given the provenance of the piadina, and it was. $ (2013)

Atlantique, 5060 Côte-des-Neiges, 731-4764 (Côte-des-Neiges)--We've been familiar with this boucherie & delicatessen for years--in addition to a real Central European-style deli counter, they've got a meat counter, a fish counter, and an extensive prepared foods counter, and the store is literally chock-a-block with all your favorite European specialty food products, with an emphasis on Central European and Northern European items. What we didn't know until recently is that they actually serve diners inside the store at small tables and a small counter, and that they have a roast pork & sauerkraut special on Mondays that's redolent of caraway and juniper berries, and all the better for it. $-$$ (2012)

Atwater Market, 138 Atwater Ave. (Little Burgundy-St.-Henri)—Definitely the most frou-frou of Montreal’s four major municipal markets due in large part to its proximity to Westmount and NDG, which means that the prices are a little higher and the atmosphere is a little less multicultural than Jean-Talon Market. That said, it’s hard the beat the beauty of Atwater’s market hall and its location along the Lachine Canal, and though we favor Jean-Talon, we make a point of going to Atwater Market whenever we’re in the vicinity.  Now featuring a new-school outdoor food court, featuring such recent hits as the Satay Bros. stand.

Backroom Records & Pastries, 5912 St-Urbain (“Back alley entrance only!”), 495-8046 (Mile End)—The littlest bakeshop in Montreal is also one of the best, especially if you lean towards homespun classics like cherry pie, peach cobbler, chocolate chip cookies, and caramel corn. And you have the added bonus of a fantastic selection of vinyl-pressed recordings to further entice you as you pick out your sweets. $ (2012)

La Baie des Fromages, 1715 Jean-Talon E., 727-8850 (Little Italy East)—One of the city’s best sources for Italian cheeses, especially Parmesan and pecorinos of all sorts and all ages. Great variety, top-notch quality. They also operate as a full-service Italian delicatessen, with pastas, meats, antipasti, biscotti, etc.  This is really one of our favourite sources for Italian specialty items, as well as one of our favourite cheese shops of any stripe.  (2013) AEB

Balila, 685 Côte-Vertu, 747-0011 (Ville St-Laurent)—Right across the street from Abu Elias (see above), Balila looks like any one of a number of shish taouk joints across town, but what sets this place apart is the fact that they serve authentic Lebanese breakfasts. Recommended: fatteh a yogurt, toasted almond, garlic, and chickpea combo, a lovely fava bean foul, and their house hommos Balila. They also make Lebanese style scrambled eggs, with things like sojouk and sumac, but on the day we had those they were a little dry. $ (2007)

Bangkok, 1616 Ste Catherine W., 935-2178 (2nd floor of The Faubourg) (Downtown)—They've been in the game for ages now, but the original Bangkok is still serving up decent Thai prepared to order at low, low prices. Added bonus: they actually make things really spicy if that’s the way you like ‘em. Recommended: Chicken Tom Yum Soup, Pad Thai, Shrimp with Eggplant, Black Pepper Squid. $ (2010)

La Banquise, 994 Rachel E., 525-2415 (Plateau)—24-hour casse-croute that serves one of the best poutines in town. Late-nights at La Banquise, when the place fills up with revelers and nighthawks of all sorts, can be particularly entertaining and for some reason the poutine always tastes better after midnight. $ (2010)

Barros Luco, 5201 St. Urbain, 270-7369 (Mile End)—Chilean eatery serving up very good empanadas, sandwiches (including their namesake), and other light meals. For a real treat try their completo—a knockwurst-like sausage served in a bun and smothered in tomatoes, avocado, and mayonnaise. Mmm. $ (2013)

Bar Sportivo, 6804 St.-Laurent, 495-0170 (Little Italy)—One of our favorite places to catch an Italian Serie A football match. Great vintage ‘60s interior, a beautiful counter, and some decent lattes. Pretty good sandwiches, too. $ (2010)

Le Bilboquet, 1311 Bernard W., 276-0414 (Outremont)—Ice cream and sorbet so popular the queues stretch down the block all summer long. Unfortunately, they’re no longer under family ownership, their prices continue to escalate at an alarming rate, and we’ve noticed considerable slippage, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt their bottom line. (2009)

Bily Kun, 354 Mont-Royal E., (514) 845-5392 (Plateau)—Sister bar to Cheval Blanc (the name means “white horse” in Czech), Bily Kun attracts a crowd that’s somewhat more well-to-do, but the tiled space (rumored to have been an ex-bathhouse) is beautiful, the beer is everything you’d expect from the folks at Cheval Blanc, and the atmosphere can be electric.

Binerie Mont-Royal, 367 Mont-Royal W., 285-9078 (Plateau)—Classic diner that has remained virtually unchanged since the 1930s, but has recently undergone a change in management. We’ll have to give them one more chance—they’ve been around so long, they deserve it—but our first visit post-management-shake-up was highly disappointing. $ (2006)

Bistro Chez Roger, 2316 Beaubien E, 593-4200—Take one successful market-fresh micro-bistro (Kitchen Galerie) and combine with an established Rosemont neo-taverne (Chez Roger), mix well, and you get Bistro Chez Roger. Comfort food done right. Recommended: spicy Montreal-style ribs platter; braised beef cheek with heirloom root vegetables; cedar-planked Salmon with warm fennel salad; cheesecake with fraises poivrée. For more thoughts on Bistro Chez Roger, take a look at this. $$-$$$ (2008)

Bombay Choupati, 5011 Blvd. des Sources (at the corner of Gouin), 421-3130 (Pierrefonds)—This one may seem a bit out of the way, and the drive along Blvd. des Sources isn’t exactly inspiring, but, make no mistake, Bombay Choupati is a “must.” In fact, we can’t emphasize enough just how much of a gem this little South Indian/Madras-style restaurant is. All the South Indian classics are on offer—such as idli (steamed semolina cakes served in a spicy vegetarian sambar, mixed vegetable tikki (spicy potato patties), and, of course, masala dosa (perhaps the quintessential South Indian dish: a lentil-flour crèpe stuffed with a potato curry and accompanied with sambar and coconut chutney—and they’re all among the very best we’ve had anywhere (London, Vancouver, Toronto, Bangalore, wherever). Also recommended, Bombay-style fruit chat and a devastatingly delicious butter chicken, which may very well have raised the bar on butter chicken in this town to new heights. Fantastic, friendly, completely homemade (right down to the yogurt (!), the fiery green chili sauce, and the tamarind sauce, which is made from fresh tamarinds (!) not tamarind pulp), and cheap, too. Top that. $ (2009)

Bombay Mahal, 1001 Jean-Talon W., 273-3331 (Park Extension)—Informal Indian restaurant that serves good dosas and channa samosas. $ (2006)

Bottega, 65 St-Zotique E., 277-8104 (Little Italy)—After some early highs (see here, for instance), Bottega seemed to run aground for a while: overall, the quality was still outstanding, but the pizzas weren't shining in exactly the same way. Well, based on our most recent experiences, happy days are here again. Bottega's always had the hardware, and now it seems like they're pushing their pizzaioli to more exacting standards. The verdict:  a return to form.  Our favourites are their Marinara and Margherita pies (or their somewhat fancier Caprese, if you prefer, as well as their Nolana, a rapini and sausage number.  Plus, keep in mind that their menu encompasses a whole lot more than just pizza, and much of it is excellent.  Recommended:  grilled scottaditi; endive salad; and the best gelati in town (especially their nut flavours).  $-$$ (2012) AEB

Boulangerie Guillaume, 17 Fairmount Ave. E., 507-3199 (Mile End)--Boulangerie Guillaume is the latest addition to Montreal's bakescape. We love the fact that they're a small operation with an artisanal approach. We love the fact that they've made sourcing high-quality organic ingredients (whenever possible) a priority. We just wish that they'd bake their bread a little more fully. On initial visits, we've found their breads expertly formed, but much too pale and undercooked for our tastes (even when we ask for them "bien cuit"). We sincerely hope that they reconsider their approach, and start producing breads with real character. After all, when you have an opportunity to be the anti-Première Moisson, might as well go for it, right? (2012)

Boulangerie Zaatar, 151de Castelnau E., 274-4775 (Villeray)—Our continuing survey of the city’s lahmatjune (the Armenian version of the Turkish and pan-Arab topped flatbread known as lahmacun) specialists recently turned up this gem. Boulangerie Zaatar may be just a tiny corner bakery with seating for just a few, but they make some truly first-rate Armenian-Lebanese treats, including lahmatjune in at least 8 varieties (including the classic minced beef version with tomatoes and onions, and their signature moitié/moitié with briny Middle Eastern cheese on one side, zaatar on the other), fusées stuffed with spinach and cheese and, our favorite, the one with three different types of cheese and minced sweet and hot peppers, and meat-stuffed cigares. $ (2007)

Brit & Chips, 433 McGill, 840-1001 (Old Montreal)--"Flurry of activity" might be too strong a phrase to describe recent developments in Montreal's fish & chips scene, but I think it's safe to say there's been a renewed interest in this classic British combo. The most recent addition to the scene is Old Montreal's Brit & Chips and they've gone to great lengths to get the details right (from the Irn Bru to the Sarson's), while leaving the door open to play with the formula (one batter features Orange Crush, another features maple syrup, and one of their fish options is salmon). Most importantly, their fish is fresh, it's sustainable (!), and the two varieties we tried (beer-battered cod and Orange Crush-battered hake) were both exceptionally good. The chips were also tasty, if a little too limp to hold up to the requisite malt vinegar. Other standouts: the tandoori popcorn shrimp could have kicked up the spice a notch, but were juicy and sweet and hard to stop eating; the steak and ale pie had a nice, flaky crust and the braised meat inside was ever so tender. More playfulness: the house dessert at the moment is a deep-fried whatever (i.e., whatever candy bar/sweet treat they have on hand--in our case, a Mr. Big bar). House beer is from The Burgundy Lion. A welcome addition to the Old Montreal dining scene. $ (2010)

NEW!  Brooklyn, 71 rue St-Viateur W., 564-6910 (Mile End)--What started off as a boutique specializing in 20th-century Modern furniture and collectibles, quickly morphed into a boutique/café that still specializes in 20th-century Modern furniture and collectibles.  And while Brooklyn's taste in furnishings is often impeccable, and the selection rotates rapidly, it's their intriguing and often tantalizing selection of breakfasts, lunches, and snacks that have made them a local hangout--all the more so since they added a lovely and secluded terrasse out back.  Don't judge the boutique/café by its name (I can hear you sneering through my screen, you self-proclaimed hipster-hunter you)--the name is actually a reference to the owner's longstanding nickname.  Instead, judge it on its friendly ambiance, its creative sandwiches (smoked trout and labneh with herbs and greens, anyone?), and its definitive coffee cake, which is baked by the owner's auntie each and every day (!).  $ (2013)

UPDATED!  BU, 361 Bernard W., 495-8258 (Mile End)—This is what we said then, back when they were located on St-Laurent:  "Swish, stylish wine bar in the Mile End neighbourhood (yes, it’s official: the neighborhood’s now 100% certified gentrified) that offers an exceptionally nice selection of wines served in 3 oz. and 4 oz. servings by the glass and by the bottle (naturally) and (surprisingly) rustic Italian food..."  Thing is, BU has packed up and moved, and now they're occupying La Dispensa on Bernard Thursdays through Saturdays.  Not exactly sure what this means, or where their cuisine is at.  It's been a while.  $$-$$$ (2009)

Buvette Chez Simone, 4869 Avenue du Parc, 750-6577 (Mile End)—Well, it sure ain’t the Skala. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Buvette Chez Simone is the latest wine bar to open up in Mile End, and it’s boldly gone where no Mile End wine bar has gone before: that mysterious two-block stretch of Park Ave. between St. Joseph and Mont-Royal, where distinguished tuxedo purveyors like Waxman rub elbows with head shops and other curiosities. When Cocoa Locale opened up on Park a few years ago, I predicted that it marked the beginning of a renaissance for the strip. Well, let’s just say that the renaissance hasn’t exactly been explosive. Buvette Chez Simone indicates that the desire is there, though: this joint has been jumping since the day they opened. And with good reason: the food, with an emphasis on mix-‘n’-match appetizers, is generally very good, and the wine selection is generally very interesting and very affordably priced. Highlights: squash and rapini risotto, spicy accras de morue, good selection of charcuterie, and roast chicken in quarter, half, or full portions. $$-$$$ (2012)

Byblos, 1499 Laurier E., 523-9396 (Plateau East)—Lovely Persian cuisine served in one of the brightest, warmest dining rooms in the city. Recommended: Fish brochettes, lamb or vegetarian “dizzy,” shish kebab, yogurt with wild garlic shoots, Iranian tea, sorbets and Iranian pastries for dessert, homemade preserves with brunch. $-$$ (2010)

Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon, 11382 rang de la Fresnière, St-Benoît de Mirabel, (450) 258-1732 (Mirabel area)--Our last visit (back in 2009) was so totally mental it was impossible for us to imagine the PDC Sugar Shack crew having any more tricks up their sleeves, but version 2011 was bigger and better. Things started with a barrage of killer appetizers (foie gras-laced pea soup, smoked sturgeon with blini-like mini-ployes, PDC maki rolls, green salad with oreilles de crisse, etc.), followed through with three truly impressive mains (a whole smoked pork shoulder with maple syrup glaze, a whole roasted guinea hen with beer-maple gravy, and a baked lobster omelet), and climaxed with a veritable sugaring-off ceremony (tabletop tire d'érable, a maple glazed tarte tatin, and a chocolate-covered maple-peanut ice cream bombe). This is an 11-course (!) sugar shack experience that's definitely a little more bourgeois than bûcheron, but, man, is it fantastic. Frankly, the only problem is managing to get a reservation. We'd given up hope for 2011 when someone tipped us off that there were actually some openings on Thursdays and Sunday. We sent another email (albumpdc@yahoo.ca), made a couple of phone calls, and the next thing we knew, we had a Sunday night reservation. Be persistent. It's worth it. $$$ (2012) AEB

Café Névé, 151 Rachel St. E., 903-9294 (Plateau)—CN appeared on the scene back in 2010 and quickly set the Plateau abuzz. Like Myriade, Vancouver/Burnaby's 49th Parallel figures prominently on their menu of offerings, but the folks at Café Névé also offer beans from such monsters of microroasting as Chicago's Metropolis. Czech lit heads might want to look up their tasty medium-roast Schweik blend. (2012)

Café Olimpico, 124 St-Viateur W., 495-0746 (Mile End)—The coffee bar formerly known as Open Da Night (although you can still find die-hards around that continue to call it by that name, or variations upon it), has lost some of its former charm to renovations (they survived a devastating fire), and their prices have crept up steadily over the last few years (their lattes were still just $1.50 a couple of years ago), but they still make one of the best lattes in town and the ambiance can be pure theater at times. $ (2013) AEB

Café Union, 148 Jean-Talon W., 273-5555 (Little Italy)—Not exactly Third Wave, but Café Union continues to be one of the best sources for locally roasted coffee. They should be--they've been at it for over 100 years now. Café Union is primarily a coffee roasting house/espresso machine purveyor, but they also serve excellent espressos at their counter. Note: they close early on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays. $ (2012) AEB

Caffè ArtJava, 837 Mont-Royal E., 527-9990 (Plateau)—Heavily hyped, laptop-friendly “coffee art”establishment. Much might be forgiven if the coffee lived up to expectations, but so far we’ve been disappointed. Third time’s the charm?

Caffè in Gamba, 5263 Park Ave., 656-6852 (Mile End)—Coffee snobs will love the selection of artisanally roasted beans from across North America, and, depending on who’s working the espresso machine, you can get an awfully fine espresso here, but what’s with the Gladiator fetish?

Caffè Italia, 6840 St.-Laurent, 495-0059 (Little Italy)—Definitely one of the best espressos in town and some real Old World charm—right down to the Proraso Italian shaving products they stock behind the counter. Excellent sandwiches, too. $ (2012)

Camellia Sinensis, 351 Emery, 286-4002 (Quartier Latin)—The best teahouse and teashop in town, bar none. The fine people at Camellia Sinensis (the scientific name for tea) have been directly sourcing and importing the world’s very finest teas and serving them with loving care out of this tiny storefront on Emery since 1998. They specialize in the four most important traditions in tea—Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Indian—but they also carry tisanes and some blends and they happen to make the best Moroccan mint tea you’re likely to find here or anywhere. (2012)

Le Canard Libéré, 4396 St-Laurent Blvd., 286-1286 (Plateau)—This espace gourmande is the Montreal branch of Canards Lac Brome, the popular and successful free-range duck farm located in the Eastern Townships (since 1912!). The real attractions here are their fresh ducks, fresh duck parts, fresh duck livers, etc. The breed in question is a Peking duck, and though we haven’t had a chance to visit their Knowlton location to verify this, we were assured that the ducks lead stress-free lives.

Cao Thang, 1082 St-Laurent Blvd., 392-0097 (Chinatown)—This was our favorite spot for banh mi—Vietnamese submarine sandwiches. Just check out what we had to say back in 2005 . As of March 2007, though, things are not so hot at Cao Thang. They may be under new management—it’s not clear. What is clear is that their banh mi are not what they used to be. The special sauce is non-apparent, the “spicy” ain’t all that spicy, the carrots aren’t marinated now, and the Japanese mayonnaise is not in effect. It’s hard to describe just how sad this makes us. $ (2007)

Caraïbe Delite, 4816 Park Ave., 274-4509 (Mile End)—This Guayanese restaurant has a reputation for being a carbon copy of Le Jardin du Cari (see below) and with good reason. There’s some kind of family connection between the two businesses and there’s a lot of overlap in terms of menu, atmosphere, and approach to cuisine, but Cuisine Caraïbe Delite offers a number of dishes that its forerunner on St-Viateur doesn’t, including a tropical fish roti that's a hit among devotee. $ (2007)

La Carreta, 350 St.-Zotique E., 278-5779 (Little Italy)—One of the most inviting Salvadoran restaurants in town. Good food, generous portions, friendly service, and a few vegetarian options, too. $-$$ (2009)

La Caverne, 5184A Côte-des-Neiges, 738-6555 (Côte-des-Neiges/U. de. M.)—Crazy Russian restaurant located in an odd, (you guessed it!) cavern-like basement location. Excellent Russian dumplings of all kinds, including lovely fruit ones like sour cherry for dessert. $-$$ (2009)

Chao Phraya, 50 Laurier Ave., 272-5339 (Plateau/Mile End)—We really haven’t been fair to Chao Phraya. Years ago, when I was still a vegetarian, I went to Chao Phraya a couple of times and found the veggie options limited and kind of boring. And that was it. Even though we’d long stopped being vegetarian, and even though friends of ours continued to swear by Chao Phraya, we never really gave them another shot. Maybe it was because it’s so close. When you live this close to a restaurant, it’s not really “going out” is it? In any case, we’ve finally gone back to Chao Phraya and not only do they now have a greatly expanded vegetarian menu, we’ve discovered that their meat and seafood dishes can be very good, especially their shrimp dishes. Not quite the homestyle Thai restaurant we’re desperately in search of, but… $$ (2007)

Charcuterie Hongroise, 3843 St Laurent Blvd., 844-6734 (Plateau)—Top-notch Hungarian sausages, smoked or otherwise, are the specialty here. Recommended: spicy Hungarian sausage with sauerkraut and spicy mustard served hot on a Portuguese bun. $ (2010) AEB

Cheskie, 359 Bernard W., 271-2253 (Mile End)—Outstanding Kosher bakery. Recommended: challah bread, spicy onion buns, babka, and the best potato knishes in the city.

Cheval Blanc, 809 Ontario E., 522-0211 (Quartier Latin/Village)—After all these years, still one of Montreal’s very best brewpubs. I’ve been going for just about 20 years now and I still love their décor and their great house blanche.

Chez Chili, 1050B Clark St., 904-1766 (Chinatown)--First off:  if you're looking for Chili's, you'll have to look elsewhere.  Secondly:  if you're looking for Chez Chili on Clark, you'll have to look for them on de la Gauchetière instead, because that's where their entrance is.  Not one, not two, but three Chinese cuisines are on offer here:  Sichuan, Hunan, and Dongbei (Manchurian).  The menu is fairly extensive, and I've yet to explore it thoroughly, but so far my survey has turned up one exceptional dish (Sichuan lamb with onions and cumin), one very good one (a mushroom casserole that hailed from Hunan, I believe), and a few good ones (spicy chicken knuckes, twice-cooked pork, dry-fried green beans), but also a couple of duds (fried chicken strips and Dongbei-style noodles with cabbage).  Is Chez Chili the Next Big Thing for Montreal's chili-heads?  It's too early to tell, but there's promise. $-$$ (2013)

Chez Doval, 150, Marie-Anne E., 843-3390 (Plateau)—Yet another classic Portuguese restaurant and eatery featuring a wickedly good array of grilled dishes. Highlights include grilled calmari that just might be the very best in town and grilled fish specials like a whole striped bass for $14.95. No-nonsense atmosphere, good prices, excellent food. $-$$ (2009)

Chez José, 173 Duluth E., 845-8693 (Plateau)—Quintessentially funky Duluth café, specializing in empanadas, soups (including a tasty seafood stew and an outstanding gazpacho), coffee, and desserts. Recommended: all of the above, plus their smoothies and their homemade chipotle-laced hot sauce. $ (2012)

Chez Louis, 222 Place du Marché-du-Nord, 277-4670—One of the city’s very finest greengrocers, Chez Louis is not only a treasure trove, it’s also an education. You really never know what kind of exotic fruits and vegetables (including a phenomenal selection of fungi) you might find.

Chez Nino, 192 Place-du-Marché-du-Nord, 277-8902—Right next door to Chez Louis, on the south edge of Jean-Talon Market, Chez Nino is another top-notch greengrocer. Together, they make for a stunning 1-2 combination punch. AEB

Chez Nouri, 10 Ave. de Pins W., 823-9441—Certainly the quirkiest of the restos to get the nod in Gourmet’s March issue on Montreal, Chez Nouri amounts to no more than a tiny counter tucked away in one of the strange, decrepit office buildings typical of that part of the Main (one of the ones that hasn’t been given a trendy facelift in recent years). There you’ll find a small assortment of ostensibly Iranian dishes, including a falafel-like chickpea patty sandwich that may very well be the best non-falafel falafel sandwich in a city otherwise overrun by abysmal falafel. (2006)

Chez Vito, 5180 Rue Saint-Urbain, 277-1981—Our local butcher and one of the finest (and friendliest) Italian butchers in town. Not only do they offer the very best in meat at an honest price, but if you ask nicely they might even let you buy a bottle of their house reserve olive oil, direct from some relative of theirs back in the mother country. Now that’s amoreAEB

La Chilenita, 64 Marie-Anne W., 982-9212, and 152 Napoleon E., 286-6075 (Plateau)—The city’s Chilean empanada specialist. Recommended: empanadas, burritos, Chilean-style sandwiches, and their homemade salsa. $ (2007)

Les Chocolats de Chloé, 546 Duluth E., 849-5550 (Plateau)—Beautiful handcrafted chocolates by the star of the Montreal chocolate scene, now in fancy new digs on Duluth, and now with an expanded line of chocolates and, just in time for the summer of 2009, truly awesome ice cream sandwiches (!). AEB

La Chronique, 104 Laurier W., 271-3095 (Mile End/Outremont)—Although it’s one of the city’s most celebrated and most expensive restaurants, it’s got a small, cozy, and understated dining room with a relaxed feel to it and chef Marc de Canck now offers a $25 prix fixe lunch menu that offers a great opportunity to experience his revered cuisine on a budget. Highlights: quite possibly the best steak tartare in the city; fantastic soupe au poisson; succulent braised beef cheeks. Note:  they moved across the street to a new location.  $$-$$$$ (2007)

Chu Chai and Chuch, 4088 St. Denis, 843-4194 (Plateau)—Montreal is not exactly a Mecca when it comes to vegetarian restaurants of any stripe, especially Asian ones. It’s no Vancouver, it’s no New York, it’s no Toronto in that department. Chu Chai has been the premium Asian (in this case, Thai) vegetarian restaurant in Montreal for some time. Chuch is their informal café/take-out operation next door. My tolerance for these places has really waned over the years--the most recent meal I had there was passable at best. $-$$ (2009)

MOVED! Au Cinquième Péché, 4475 St. Denis., 286-0123 (Plateau)—We still have yet to visit Au Cinquième Péché for dinner, but their lunch specials were once one of the steals of the century. Check it out. Lunch menu items included a roquette salad with toasted walnuts, grapes, and shaved Parmesan; a creamy Jerusalem artichoke potage; a roasted salmon dish with a tangy gremolata and a luscious polenta; and a tender, tasty roasted guinea hen suprême with braised endives and sauteed rapini. $-$$-$$$ (2010)

Club Chasse et Pêche, 423 rue St. Claude, 861-1112 (Old Montreal)—Club Chasse et Pêche is a fine dining establishment with prices to match, but if you go there for lunch you’ll find what amounts to a great deal, considering the caliber of the cuisine. On most days, you can get an entrée and a main for lunch for under $20. Not bad for a swish Old Montreal location and an ambience (dark and richly appointed) that makes you feel you ought to be puffing on a huge cigar and sipping cognac. The real attraction though is the cuisine. On a recent visit everything—from the pan-seared scallops, to the gnocchi with white truffle (quite a bit extra, but worth every penny), to the roast duck with linguini—was fantastic. The sole exception? Our dessert, which was rather disappointing (apparently the dessert menu at night is excellent though). $$-$$$ (2005)

Club Social, 180 St-Viateur W., 495-0114 (Mile End)—One of the better coffee houses in town and an excellent place to catch World Cup and European Cup soccer action, plus their lattes still only set you back $1.50. Pretty much impossible to beat. No wonder so many people have decamped from Open Da Night over the years.

Coco Rico, 3907 St Laurent Blvd., 849-5550 (Plateau)—Reliably tasty Portuguese rotisserie. Recommended: all things chicken, pasteis de nata, corn bread. $ (2009)

Le Coin du Mexique, 2489 Jean-Talon E., 374-7448 (Rosemont)—Fresh, hearty and very authentic Mexican fare. See “Enfin! Notre Coin Mexicain!” $ (2006)

Le Comptoir, 4807 St-Laurent, (514) 844-8467 (Mile End)--It's official: Mile End/St-Louis, in the span of just a few short years, has become a true wine-lover's paradise (at least by Montreal standards). The neighborhood has yet another quality wine bar: Le Comptoir. This time the concept is minimal: a simple, tasteful interior; a relatively short menu that places the emphasis on snacks and smaller, informal dishes (like a house recipe BLT, made with house-cured ventrèche), but also includes some more elaborate fare (including a killer côte de porc for two); and a well-curated selection of wines, that focuses on natural, biodynamic wines. Le Comptoir prides itself on its charcuterie, all of it made on premises, and they have good reason to--their selection of saucissons secs, guanciale, coppa, and other cured meats ranks among the city's best.  In many ways, the concept is very close to Buvette Chez Simone.  Both have paired a smart, appealing, and affordable menu with a smart, appealing, and affordable wine list (wines by the glass are all under $10).  Buvette has done gangbusters business pretty much from Day 1.  Le Comptoir appears to be poised to do the same.   One final note: if Kazu was kind of a runaway for our 2010 Montreal restaurant of the year, Le Comptoir was certainly in the top three. $$ (2010)

Coralli, 8955 Meilleur St., 381-5623 (Ahuntsic)—Quite possibly the best fish market in Montreal, Coralli is certainly the best we’ve found in the wholesale/retail category. Great selection, superior quality, excellent prices. Their deals on lobster and oysters in particular are unbeatable. Well worth the trip. (2007)

La Cornetteria, 6528 St-Laurent, (514) 277-8030 (Little Italy)—Formerly a wholesale-only operation that supplied some of the city’s better cafés with their fresh cornetti and other Italian sweets, La Cornetteria transformed itself into a retail establishment serving pastries, coffees, and paninis a couple of years ago. This has been great news for pastry lovers. It's also been great news for a stretch of St-Laurent that’s otherwise a little moribund. Recommended: their namesake cornetti and what are surely the city’s best zeppole di San Giuseppe (produced and sold during Lent only) because they’re deep-fried, they’re stuffed with a truly fantastic whipped ricotta filling, they have a touch of lemon to them, and somehow, miraculously, they’re light. San Giuseppe, I’m sure, is smiling. We certainly are. (2011)

UPDATED!  Cosmo, 5843 Sherbrooke W., 486-3814 (NDG)—In our estimation, the classic Montreal greasy spoon, which means it’s the one we’re most excited to run out to every time we have a chance. See “Two Montreal Classics in Two Days, Pt. 1: Cosmo”. Highlights include the Mish-Mash, an ungodly combination of eggs, potatoes, and charcuterie of all sorts that’s become a Montreal institution, and the Creation, which is most definitely the very best breakfast sandwich in town (there’s not much competition in this department, but with eggs, bacon, fried bologna, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise combined into one package, the Creation is a keeper).  Unfortunately, tragedy struck earlier this year.  See our report here.  What's going on now?  We're not exactly sure--we haven't had the nerve to check in a while.  $ (2013) AEB

Côte St-Luc BBQ, 5403 Côte St-Luc Blvd. W., 488-4011 (CSL)—Another one of the city’s classic rotisserie chicken establishments, along with Rotisserie Laurier, Rotisserie Portugalia, Romados, and the like. Whereas Rotisserie Laurier’s sauce barbecue (more of a gravy than anything someone from Texas, Tennessee, or the Carolinas would recognize as barbecue sauce) has a cinnamon finish to it, Côte St-Luc BBQ’s sauce has a clove finish, and like its Outremont counterpart, its birds are juicy and flavorful, with wonderfully crispy skins. What’s more, their fries are very good and their prices are excellent. In fact, their lunch specials have got to be one of Montreal’s best lunch deals. $ (2007)

Le Couteau, 4627 rue St-Denis,  940-0444 (Plateau)--As opposed to many other new wave cafés in town, Le Couteau is not only beautifully designed, it's also spacious.  More importantly, their coffee service is meticulous--among the best in town.  Le Couteau has an espresso bar, of course, but they're among those cafés that are placing an emphasis on one-cup-at-a-time drip (right on!).  Not sure what the significance of the name is, but it makes for some awfully attractive business cards. $ (2012)

Decarie Hot Dog/s, 953 Décarie Boul., 748-7213 (Décarie)--If Montreal is a steamies town, and it most certainly is, than Decarie Hot Dog/s is definitely one of its greatest shrines. There are a lot of other places that serve Lester's hot dogs in town. There are also a lot of places that serve fries and poutine. But how many of them have the old-school charm of Decarie Hot Dog/s? $ (2010)

Dépanneur Le Pick Up, 7032 Waverly St., 271-8011 (Little Italy)--Le Pick Up is home to one of our favorite Montreal sandwiches, their grilled halloumi cheese special, and has countless other charms. A true Montreal haunt. Need more reasons to check it out? Check this out. $ (2012)

La Dépense, 7070 Henri-Julien, 273-1118, Jean-Talon Market (Little Italy)—The De Vienne family continues to branch out. First there was Philippe de Vienne’s catering operation, then there was Olive et Épices, the Jean-Talon Market shop that carries the full line of De Vienne’s phenomenal line of épices de cru, and now there’s La Dépense. Here you can find all the specialty food items, condiments, and accessories you need to complement your épices de cru-inspired adventures in international cuisine. AEB

Dic Ann’s, 10910 Pie IX, (Montreal North)—An institution. A legend even. No one makes a burger like they do. Featuring an ultra-flat patty that’s adorned only with their secret sauce, they haven’t changed much since the ‘50s. Neither have their prices. It doesn't get much more old-school than this and we wouldn't have it any other way. $ (2012) AEB

Dominion, 1243 Metcalfe, 564-5056 (Downtown)--The Dominion Tavern was one of the last vestiges of Montreal's former drinking culture, a place that was still serving Export and pickled eggs in a beer hall setting and without any sense of irony well into the early 21st century. Well, those days are gone, the Dominion Tavern has been reincarnated as Dominion (a.k.a. The Dominion Square Tavern/Taverne Square Dominion), but I'm happy to report that the restoration was loving (if sometimes a wee bit cutesy) and that Downtown has gained another much-needed quality establishment. You can still just slip in for a frosty one, but Dominion is for all intents and purposes a full-fledged restaurant in a beer hall/brasserie/tavern setting (complete with a long, lovely bar, high, high ceilings, and ornate plaques for each of the provinces that made up the Dominion of Canada, hence the name). Our knowledge of the menu has been limited to lunches so far, but we can report that Dominion is serving a very respectable moules frites with bacon and apple cider, as well as extremely tasty pan-seared salmon fillet that comes with asparagus and mushrooms. We were also happy to note that they offer a Ploughman's Lunch, though we've yet to give it a go. $$-$$$ (2010)

Dong-Que, 1210 Rosemont Blvd., 490-0770 (Rosemont)—Tasty Vietnamese food of the phô (noodle soup) and bun (vermicelli noodle dishes) variety. See “Three Recent Mini-Reviews” . $ (2006)

Duc de Lorraine, 5002 Côte-des-Neiges, 731-4128 (Côte des Neiges/Université de Montréal)—This was one of our favorite confiseries/patisseries/boulangeries in town. What happened? The last time we went all the pastries were terrible. I used to love the sunroom, filled with elderly ladies having tea. Not worth a visit any more. Sad. $

l’Entrecote St.-Jean, 2022 Peel, 281-6492 (Downtown)—The perfect place to go when you just don’t want to be faced with a big decision. The only decision here is, “Do I get the soup and the profiteroles, or not?” The only other things on the menu are their steaks frites and their house salad. $$ (2008)

Euro-Deli Batory, 115 St Viateur W., 948-2161 (Mile End)—If I'm totally honest, and calculate this according to the following formula NUMBER OF VISITS x AMOUNT OF PLEASURE PER VISIT, Euro-Deli Batory is my favorite restaurant in the entire city. No other restaurant even comes close. I told someone behind the counter this one time and he blushed and ran back into the kitchen. Recommended: potato-cheese perogies, kielbasa, bigos, Ukrainian borscht, spring borscht (in the spring and summer). $ (2013) AEB

Fairmount Bagel, 74 Fairmount Ave. W., 272-0667 (Mile End)—We’re lucky enough to live within a 10-minute walk of three 24-hour bagel shops. All three of them are good, but Fairmount is easily our favorite. They might have all kinds of novelty bagels (I once watched, aghast, as a woman in front of me ordered a cream cheese and lox sandwich to go, on a flax bagel), but their “whites” (sesame) and “blacks” (poppy) are the best in town. See this post for more on Fairmount Bagel. AEB

Le Falco, 5605 de Gaspé, 272-7766 (Mile End)--Le Falco is one of the latest additions to Mile End's ever-expanding and apparently unstoppable restaurant/café scene. Tucked out of the way in the Garment District, this is definitely something new for Montreal: it's got a designer feel, the menu combines sandwiches with rice balls and other Japanese snacks, and the coffee (Kickapoo fair trade organic, when we visited) is prepared strictly in Japanese siphons and served in Japanese ceramic cups. M. noted that it felt like we were in Vancouver, or maybe Toronto, and I knew what she meant. On Saturdays, they offer a Japanese brunch, featuring a rice bowl with braised chicken or tofu, du puy lentils, sprouts, grated carrots, and pickled daikon, plus miso soup, coffee, juice, and a muffin (!). Good deal, and fairly tasty too, but I wish the rice bowl had less of a hippy vibe. A lot less. Maybe I just wish that it had been prepared by Kazu or David Chang. God knows we could all use more Japanese brunch. $ (2012)

Farhat, 5595 A-B Côte des Neiges, 739-4045 (store), 738-4999 (restaurant) (Côte des Neiges)—Consisting of a halal butcher shop and grocery store upstairs and a restaurant downstairs, Farhat is a full-service establishment. Farhat’s downstairs grill is one of the city’s better purveyors of Lebanese-style grilled meat sandwiches, including kafta, filet mignon, lamb, chicken, and sausage, and they’re open late. $

Le Figaro, 5200 Hutchison, 278-6567 (Outremont)—The food is okay, but the real attraction here is the charming atmosphere, not to mention perhaps the nicest street-side terrace in the city. There’s no better place to have a Pernod on a hot, lazy summer evening. $-$$ (2007)

FoodLab, 1201 St-Laurent Boul. (Downtown)—Michelle and co-chef Seth Gabrielse's new joint (since October 2011) is situated on the 3rd floor of the Sociéte des arts technologiques, near the corner of St-Laurent and Ste-Catherine, and this time they have complete control.  Part restaurant, part event space, and featuring a terrasse that is poised to be the city's go-to spot for the summer of 2012, the FoodLab has already turned heads with its inventive menus, its DIY attitude, its ambition, its excellent selection of natural wines, and its phenomenal value (many plates go for $6; glasses of wine range from $6 to $12).  In just a few short months, they've put together a wide range of stellar menus (Vienna, French Winter, Smörgåsbord, Izakaya, Russian Orthodox Easter), they've started what will surely be a series of cooking classes, and they've hosted a wide range of events--who knows where things will go next?  $-$$ (2013) AEB

Le Fouvrac, 1451 Laurier E., 522-9993 (Plateau East)—It’s cursed with a silly name, but this is one of our favorite gourmet specialty stores in the city.

Fromagerie Hamel, 220 Jean-Talon E., 272-1161 (Little Italy)—One of the best selections of cheese in the city, including an excellent selection of artisanal cheeses from Quebec and lait cru cheeses from Quebec, France, and elsewhere. AEB

Le Fromentier, 1375 Laurier E., 527-3327 (Plateau East)—The first artisanal bakery in town. Their breads tend to be hippie-ish, and have gone downhill in the past few years. Too sour. Too samey. Note: only open Tuesday through Sunday.

Fu Kam Wah, 1180 Décarie, 337-2262 (Ville St-Laurent)—This local Ville St-Laurent favorite might not look like much from the outside, but step inside and convince the owners/wait staff that you’re deserving of/adventurous enough for their off-menu specials and you’ll be treated to Hunan and Cantonese specialties like beef with bitter melon, oven-roasted razor clams, steamed salty chicken with pickled jellyfish, and maybe even some clay-pot duck. $$. (2007)

Furco, 425 Mayor, 764-3588, (Downtown)—Brought to you by the super busy Buvette Chez Simone crew, this new wine bar is housed in a defunct fur showroom. I knew the room back in its fur days, and I can tell you the renovations were masterfully done. Meet a friend, have an afternoon drink, you will feel like you've left the city for a few hours. Plus, if you're hungry, they have a very good kitchen serving a short but sweet menu of appetizers and mains, including some romantic dishes for two. $$ (2012)

Garde Manger, 408 Saint François Xavier, 678-5044 (Old Montreal)—Talk about a Jekyll & Hyde story. Here's what we had to say about GM then: "Boisterous atmosphere and excellent eats at this new-ish and much-needed Old Montreal hot spot. Highlights included a truly fantastic steak frites, fish ‘n’ chips-style fried calamari that were among the best we’d ever had, a delectable wild mushroom sauté, and a wickedly good homemade pecan pie (literally: it was made by the chef’s mom). Remember, if it’s too loud, you’re too old. That said, on the night we went there, Garde Manger had a great mix of people and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially the girls behind us who were snapping away wildly with their digital camera." One month later, we went back and got burned. Some of the reasons for this were mundane (suddenly inflated prices, lackluster food, poor service), but topping the list of missteps was an attempt to pass off a supermarket pecan pie as the homemade pecan pie raved about above (and which we’d made a point of ordering in advance for a special occasion). What can you say about a place where one night you might get a pecan pie lovingly made by the chef's mom, the next night you get a pie lovingly made by Loblaw's ? And I'd written such a glowing review about them for the Mirror just weeks earlier, too. $$-$$$ (2006)

Gibeau Orange Julep, 7700 Décarie, 738-7486 (Décarie)—That big orange globe has been a Montreal landmark since the 1940s and their secret orange julep formula lives up to the hype. See Never Mind the Biosphere, Here’s the Gibeau Orange Julep! for more on this roadside classic. $ (2007)

Le Gourmet Burger, 1433-B Bishop, 435-3535 (Downtown)—What happened? This place was respectable, if boring, a few years ago but on my last visit was so completely awful I vow never to go back. There is a need for good burgers in MTL. $ (2012)

Gourmet Laurier, 1042 Laurier W., 274-5601 (Outremont)—Our local gourmet specialty store, and probably our favorite in the whole city. Excellent selection, good service, fair prices. This is where we most frequently get our tea, coffee, preserves, crackers, chocolate, and a whole host of other treats.

Graziella, 116 McGill St., 876-0116 (Old Montreal)—Graziella Batista's upscale Old Montreal ristorante can be pricey, but her lightness of touch with everything from her pasta to her sausages instantly won us over. One of our favorite restaurants of the year. Curious? Try the lunch special. $$-$$$ (2008)

Halal 786, 768 Jean-Talon W., 270-0786 (Park Extension)--Quality Pakistani fare. See “Halal 786”. Recommended: Lahori Chargha, Lahori Fry Fish, channa masala, karsoon sag, dal mash. $ (2006)

Havre aux Glaces, 7070 Henri Julien, 278-8696 (Little Italy)—This artisanal ice cream shop at Jean-Talon Market is one the city’s very best. We’re especially fond of their sorbets and right now it’s their citrus flavors that are killing us. AEB

Holder, 407 rue McGill, 849-0333 (Old Montreal)—A large brasserie bringing warmth to a sometimes eerily deserted part of town. Holder has an extensive wine list, a massive bar, which I’m happy to report serves Pimm’s (!—the first I’ve seen in Montreal), and an inviting menu. Sit yourself down, indulge in a cocktail, and have yourself some French comfort food made right. $$ (2006)

NEW! Hotel Herman, 5171 St. Laurent, 278-7000 (Mile End)—A new venture opened by one of our favourite hosts in town, Dominic Goyet, formerly of Salle à Manger. The chef, Marc-Alexandre Mercier, is young and talented, a great addition to the MTL scene. His barely set goat cheese with mushrooms, crosnes and onion will live on in our memories for a very long time.  Other hits include a remarkable tartare and a lovely medley of duck.  All that plus a killer wine list, a staff who knows their wine, and a beautifully appointed room. Need I say more? Since opening, HH has become a true go-to place for us.  $$ (2013) AEB

Hwang Kum, 5908 Sherbrooke W., 487-1712 (NDG)—[Insert appropriate Wang Chung-related joke here.] Hwang Kum is presently our undisputed champ among Montreal Korean restaurants. On a recent visit (02/2007) there wasn’t a single dish that disappointed—from the bulgogi to the cold noodles with mixed vegetables to the bbq beef ribs to the seafood pancake to the bbq chicken to the sizzling bibimbap to the spicy cod soup—but those first four were especially excellent. Great Korean condiments, too, and bonus points for serving the kimchi with a pair of scissors. Very good, very affordable. $-$$ (2008)

NEW!  Impasto, 48 rue Dante, 508-6508 (Little Italy)--Talk about a supergroup!  Combining the savvy, charm, and celebrity of Stefano Faita ("In the Kitchen With Stefano Faita," Entre Cuisine et quincaillerie, etc.), and the good nature and prodigious talents of Michele Forgione (formerly of Venti), along with the backing and spiritual guidance of Elena Faita (of Quincaillerie Dante and École de Cuisine Mezza-Luna fame), Impasto is surely the most anticipated opening of the year, and they're already off to the races.  We've already been twice, and both visits were impressive, from their appetizers and antipasti (do not miss their charcuterie platter), to their pasta dishes (a specialty of the Faitas, and a course Forgione absolutely excels at), to their mains and desserts.  Highlights so far have included:  their pistachio mortadella & their mousse de foie de volaille on their charcuterie platter;  corzetti with pesto, new potatoes, and green beans & heaven-sent gnocchi with tomato sauce, among their primi piatti; and a buttery, beautiful, and bodacious Florentine bistecca (easily 2 inches thick), which was said to feed 4-6, but easily fed 7, among their secondi.  An instant favourite!  $$-$$$ (2013)  AEB

Jano, 3883 St Laurent Blvd., 849-0646 (Plateau)—Dependable Portuguese restaurant specializing in grilled meat, poultry, and seafood. $$ (2010)

Le Jardin du Cari, 5554 St-Laurent, 495-0565 (Mile End)—Guayanese curry house that is famous for its rotis and its homemade scotch bonnet pepper hot sauce. Recommended: Potato-Chickpea Roti with Pumpkin, fried plantains, potato croquettes, dal soup. Formerly located on St-Viateur, Le Jardin moved just around the corner on St-Laurent to make room for Comptoir 21. $ (2009)

Jean-Talon Market, 7075 Casgrain Ave. (Little Italy)—Our very favorite market in Montreal and it just keeps getting better and better. In fact, it’s so good, it’s been known to make out-of-towners cry.

Joe Beef, 2491 rue Notre-Dame W., 935-6504 (Little Burgundy)—Joe Beef has a certain magic to it that’s only getting better with age. The franchise now includes Liverpool House and McKiernan (all three on the same stretch of Notre-Dame), but the flagship is still the first place to go if you’ve yet to have the pleasure. A 2009 visit included an absolutely mind-blowing os à la moelle that looked as though it had come off a brontosaurus. If there’s a better version of this French classic in Montreal, we’ve yet to encounter it. A January 2010 visit was even better (hard as that may be to believe): JB's Lièvre à la Royale was simply stunning, one of the most memorable dishes that we've had anywhere in the last 5 years; the chef's special smoked suckling pig with mashed potatoes, cranberries, and apple purée was the pinnacle of comfort food, and exactly what we were looking for; and both were washed down with a truly remarkable biodynamic Riesling from Alsace (wine lovers take note: Gerard Schueller, Bildstoeckle, 2007). Be forewarned: portions are huge, so don’t be afraid to order strategically. We’ve found that our ideal combo is one main and two appetizers for the two of us, but sometimes temptation gets the better of us.  $$-$$$ (2013) AEB

NEW!  Joe la Croûte, 7024 Casgrain, 272-9704 (Jean-Talon Market)--The finest new addition to Montreal's bread bakery scene is located just off Montreal's finest market, where they're going toe-to-toe with Première Moisson.  Their nuage instantly became our favourite store-bought loaf in town, and we love the fact that you can buy many of their loaves by weight. Sometimes you only want just a small hunk; sometimes you want a lot.  (2013)

DEFUNCT! Le Jolifou, 1840 Beaubien E., 722-2175--Chef David Ferguson's new concept is "roadhouse," according to a recent review in the Gazette. This means two things: you'll find a lot of items that fall under the "casual" (or, more appropriately, the "upscale casual") category, and you'll find a menu that's enamored with aspects of American regional cuisine, especially that of Texas and the American Southwest. But Ferguson first made a name for himself by fusing Mexican and French cuisine, and his most recent menu continues to display a curious predilection for "Frenchifying" (not to be confused with "Frenchifrying") just about everything. Thus, you'll find tender smoked brisket on the menu, but Ferguson serves it with a red wine and veal jus reduction. You'll also find a Southwestern "cassoulet" composed of romano and navy beans, duck, smoked lamb, hominy, and poblano, which holds the potential for teasing out the affinities between a French cassoulet and the bean- and meat-based stews of the Southwest, while cleverly playing on the fact that cassoulet is a classic of the south-west of France (get it?). But instead of taking the cassoulet and pushing it the direction of, say, New Mexico, Ferguson takes ingredients typical of New Mexican cuisine (hominy, poblano peppers) and pushes them in the direction of France. So much so, that his Southwestern cassoulet tastes more like a French cassoulet than anything one would find in the American Southwest. The hominy was overwhelmed, the poblanos were barely present, and there were no traces of chili, or cumin, or any one of a number of other ingredients that might have provided a real taste of the Southwest. This is a shame--there's no shortage of traditional French cassoulets in Montreal, while the cuisine of the American Southwest is virtually non-existent, and the dish holds a lot of potential. Perplexing. $$-$$$ (2011)

Jun-I, 156 Laurier W., 276-5864 (Mile End)—Our pick for Montreal's best sushi. Stick to the sushi/sashimi offerings, since they’re chef/owner Junichi Ikematsu’s forte. Pleasant surprises include fresh shiso leaves, yuzu/miso sauce, and rice krispies, but the real highlight is the most amazingly fresh fish you’ve ever tasted (not to mention a number of varieties we’ve never seen anywhere else in Montreal). Musts include the sashimi sampler, the spicy scallop rolls, and the absolutely to-die-for BBQ eel dynamite roll (which just might be the very best piece of sushi either of us has ever tasted). Top honors. $$-$$$ (2009)

KanBai, 1813 Ste-Catherine W., 933-6699 (Concordia Ghetto/Downtown)--Since the decline of both Niu Kee and Tapioca Thé, both of whom burned so boldly and so brightly with their szechuan chili- and szechuan peppercorn-laced menus (for years in the case of the former, but for just a matter of months in the case of the latter), we've been on the lookout for another top-notch fiery Chinese supernova of a restaurant, and it looks as though we've found it.  Michelle started raving about KanBai months ago when I was out of town--her reports were so enthusiastic, I couldn't wait to get back to town to give their menu a try.  My experience of KanBai has not been nearly as hallucinatory as my first meals at Niu Kee, but, god, has it been tasty.  Michelle was right:  this heat is on!  Recommended:  stir-fried cabbage with chilies, stir-fried szechuan-style green beans, lamb with cumin, ma po tofu, and a crazy cold noodle salad with a peanut sauce and cilantro (listed with the wall specials). $-$$ (2012)

Kaza Maza, 4629 avenue du Parc, 844-6292 (Mile End)--Our first experience of Kaza Maza and its Syrian cuisine was very strong on the food end (fattet hummus!), but not so strong on the service end, but they were having a rough day and we recognized that. Recent experiences have been nothing but perfect (food and service both) and, along with Kazu, Kaza Maza has become one of our faves of 2010. Start with a selection of 3 or 5 of their phenomenal cold mezze, choose a fattet hummus from among the hot mezze, and go from there. Outstanding. $-$$ (2012)

Kazu, 1862 Ste. Catherine W., 937-2333 (Concordia Ghetto/Downtown)--Believe the hype! We've been waiting for a real izakaya to set up shop here in Montreal for years, and finally our prayers have been answered. Not only do they offer great lunch specials, but they have an extensive dinner menu that includes some of the rice bowls served at lunch, a few specials (grilled salmon, bbq pork neck, etc.), and such highlights as chicken & pork bbq brochettes, a Japanese omelet stuffed with mashed potatoes (!) and caponata (!!), a homemade kimchi and soft tofu salad, top-notch gyoza, and a highly respectable sushi plate. In short, this joint is brimming with a certain something that Blonde Redhead once referred to as "kazuality." Be careful--it's habit-forming. It's also our 2010 Montreal restaurant of the year! $-$$ (2013) AEB

Kem CoBa, 60 Fairmount W., 419-1699 (Mile End)--Montreal's latest ice cream sensation, and they're fully deserving of the attention (and the huge line-ups).  Our absolute favourite is their sour cherry & almond milk twist soft serve (100% homemade!), but other game changers include salted butter & crème fraîche. Soft serve flavours change every 1-2 weeks. Very good prices, too.  (2013) AEB

Kitchen Galerie, 60 Jean-Talon E., 315-8994 (Little Italy)—The freshest restaurant concept we’ve encountered here in Montreal in quite some time, and not just because Kitchen Galerie happens to be about 50 ft. from Jean-Talon Market. Want more details? You can find a proper review here. Recommended: foie gras à la lave-vaiselle with muscat jelly, seared tuna with lardons, roasted salsify, a poached egg, and sauce bourguignonne, lobster-stuffed ravioli with asparagus. (2008)

Lahmadjoune Beyrouth-Yerevan (a.k.a. Chez Apo), 420 Faillon, 270-1076 (Villeray)—The Villeray district is blessed in a number of different ways, but certainly one of its greatest blessings is that it’s home to some of the city’s best lahmadjoune bakeries, and Lahmadjoune Beyrouth-Yerevan—whose name is a reflection of their Lebanese-Armenian approach to baked goods—may very well be the granddaddy of ‘em all. Two things separate Lahmadjoune Beyrouth-Yerevan: their delicate, absolutely delicious dough, and the fact that they cook their flatbreads and savory pastries in a wood-burning oven. Recommended: their classic lahmadjoune with its flavorful ground beef topping; their spinach pies and flatbreads. $ (2013)

Laloux, 250 avenue des Pins E., 287-9127 (Plateau)—Michelle has moved on from Laloux (to FoodLab [see above]), but Laloux remains one of the city's classic dining rooms, as well as one of its most talented kitchens.  $$-$$$ (2010)

Lawrence, 5201 St-Laurent, 503-1070 (Mile End)--A sparrow takes flight. That's right, as you may have heard, Chef Marc Cohen and a few of his colleagues have parted ways with Sparrow, their former haunt, and struck out on their own. No bad blood, no hard feelings--just an amicable split--and it means that the short stretch of St-Laurent between Fairmount and St-Viateur now has an even deeper roster. It also means that Cohen has an opportunity to show off his chops a little more, and that's exactly what he's done. His menu is short and sweet, but it still manages to have scope, and it's loaded with tempting options (especially if you're open to all things offal). Standouts included succulent morsels of squid with samphire, skewered duck hearts with a celeriac remoulade (which may very well be the best appetizer in the city, at the moment), a hefty pork chop au jus with wilted radicchio and sautéed apples, and an offal "salad" (including kidneys, tongue, and some lovely pickled walnuts), and the steak with horseradish cream and watercress was a crowd-pleaser. All that plus a top-notch service team, a charming, extremely knowledgeable sommelière, and a positively killer wine list (including a whole slew of selections from a couple of our favorite private importers: Oenopole and la QV), and it's no wonder Lawrence has got people buzzing. $$-$$$ (2013) AEB

Leméac, 1045 Laurier W., 270-0999 (Outremont)—Posh, stylish Outremont restaurant that offers a wonderful weekend brunch, as well as a phenomenal (and remarkable) $20 after-10 P.M. menu (entrée + main). Recommended: blini with poached eggs, smoked salmon (smoked on premises), Hollandaise sauce, and caviar; salmon pot-au-feu; hanger steak and frites. $$-$$$ (2009)

Lezvos West, 4235 Décarie, 484-0400 (NDG)—The ambience is a bit stiffer and more formal than the original on Mont-Royal (which was our favorite Greek restaurant in Montreal for years), but the service is still very friendly and all that really matters is that the food is the same quality we came to expect at their flagship restaurant. Recommended: saganaki, grilled octopus salad, grilled whole fish, grilled jumbo prawns, and lots of lots of gigantes. $$-$$$ (2006)

Liverpool House, 2501 Notre-Dame W., 313-6049 (Little Burgundy)—The latest from the dynamic duo who brought you Joe Beef is another friendly, thoroughly unpretentious, and tastefully appointed gem just two doors down the road. As in the case of its predecessor, Liverpool House’s name alludes to a once-famous but now-forgotten Montreal grog house, and once again the atmosphere is built on good cheer and generous portions. When Liverpool House first opened it was billed as "Joe Beef Goes to Italy!," and on our very first visit, that's exactly what was going on: a full-on Italian menu, reinterpreted by the JBs. By the time of our next visit, things had changed drastically--there were still some Italian dishes on the menu, but really no more than you might find at Joe Beef (where the lobster spaghetti remains the signature dish). Although the folks at Joe Beef and Liverpool House continued to insist that there was a significant difference between the two restaurants, we couldn't see it anymore. No matter. Joe Beef never really could contain the throngs anyway. And the menu at Liverpool House isn't identical, it's just very much in the same (quality) vein. On a recent visit, the star of the show was an utterly luxurious rabbit tagliatelle, but everything we had was pretty great, from the immense bacon cheeseburger with pulled pork (!), to the insanely generous winter salad, to the oyster sampler, to the wine service. The only misstep were the half-assed potato wedges that came with the burger. $$-$$$ (2011)

M sur Masson, 2876 Masson, 678-2999 (Rosemont)—This tiny bistro in the heart of the Promenade Masson absolutely charmed us back in 2006. Michelle had been back for dinner, but I'd never returned since, for some strange reason. A recent visit found that M sur Masson had doubled in size, and that their brunches were still good, but not nearly as outstanding as earlier (is there any excuse for burnt toast?), and, unfortunately, the experience was marred further by some pushy, irritating service. We're hoping we just caught them on an off day. For a full review from a few years back, when we were brimming with enthusiasm, click here. $$ (2010)

Madre, 2931 Masson, 315-7932 (Rosemont) — Just a block up the street from M sur Masson is this latest restaurant from Raza’s owner and chef Mario Navarrete Jr. The table d’hote is the best deal at 3 services for $35. See this review. $$-$$$ (2007)

Maiko Sushi, 387 Bernard W., 490-1225 (Mile End)—Cut-rate, informal sushi spots have been mushrooming all over Montreal over the last few years, but this is still a city where sushi tends to be upscale. Maiko is a case in point. It has a kind of garish, ‘80s aesthetic and the sushi is priced to match. Not the most exhilarating sushi in the world, but at least it’s dependable. $$-$$$ (2006)

The Main, 3864 Boul. St-Laurent, 843-8126 (Plateau)—Schwartz’s will always be my #1 go-to spot for smoked meat, but The Main sure comes in handy sometimes. Their smoked meat may not have the spicy complexity or the juiciness of Schwartz’s, but it still packs a wallop. They’re one of only a few places in the city where you can get varenyky. They’ve got that great ‘60s-‘70s style that reminds me of Dunn’s heyday when it was still a 24-hour deli emporium at the corner of McGill College and Ste-Catherine. And they’re open till at least 3 or 4 a.m. every night, which means that sometime after the witching hour of every night they become the city’s hands-down, #1 smoked meat champion for a few hours. $-$$ (2007)

Maïs, 5439 Boul. St-Laurent, 507-7740 (Mile End)--Clearly this town is still very, very hungry for the Mexican New Wave.  Sure-fire signs?  Well, this new-school Mexican joint, specializing in tacos and cocktails, is not even two months old yet, but already they're the anointed ones in town, with two glowing reviews from the Gazette and La Presse appearing on the very same weekend, plus a CultMontreal review that appeared nearly two weeks earlier.  It used to be the traditional media gave a restaurant a few months to settle in and find their bearings before reviewing them.  Not any longer.  The social media have brought about a rush to judgment, and even dusty old newspapers are scrambling to keep up.  Anyway, if the verdict is glowing (as it has been for Maïs), this can be great news for a new establishment, although it runs to risk of generating too much hype at a time when the restaurant in question is still not capable of keeping up.  Which may have been what we experienced on our first visit to Maïs.  We went on that very same weekend as the Gazette and La Presse, the place was packed, and it seemed to us like the restaurant was struggling to keep up.  The service was friendly and attentive, but the food was extremely slow to come out.  The bartender was so overwhelmed with drink orders from the tables that he was unable to tend to the actual bar.  More importantly, while a couple of the tacos we ordered were excellent (truly!), including their classic carnitas taco and a squash, pumpkin seeds, and fresh cheese number, there were also some missteps:  an otherwise tasty pork flank taco that was undermined by some severely undercooked black beans (beyond toothsome), and an unusual arctic char taco (featuring a pan-fried filet you could find in probably a dozen "French" restaurants across town) that came in a cold, un-griddled tortilla (all the rest of our tortillas had been properly griddled first).  Are these damning mistakes?  Not at all.  The space has a great deal of charm, the kitchen's got talent, the energy in the room is addictive, the prices are very affordable, they make a killer homemade hot sauce, their cocktail of the day (a rum punch with blood orange juice) was a total hit, and we feel quite certain that Maïs will soon iron out any and all glitches and hit its stride.  Just give them a little time. $-$$ (2013)

Maison du Roti, 1969 Mont-Royal E., 521-2448 (Plateau East)—La Maison du Roti is a full-service épicerie/charcuterie that includes a cheese counter, a bread counter, and a coffee counter, along with a prepared foods counter and what might very well be the best butcher counter in the city. These guys are professionals and everything they offer is top-quality. Their selection of beef is simply breathtaking.

La Maison Kam Fung, 1071 & 1111 Saint-Urbain, 2nd floor, 878-2888 (Chinatown)—While Kam Fung isn’t about to dethrone San Francisco’s Ton Kiang as our #1 dim sum establishment, it’s the best that we’ve yet encountered in Montreal. Full cart service on weekends. Note: way more fun when you're in the presence of a kung fu great. $-$$ (2010)

Maisonneuve Market, 4375 Ontario E. (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve)—Not nearly as extensive or impressive as either Atwater or Jean-Talon, but still worth a visit if you haven’t been. Among other things, the market hall’s another beaut.

Malhi Sweets, 880 Jarry W., 273-0407 (Park Extension)—Easily our favorite Indian restaurant in town. I mean, if it’s good enough for Catherine Deneuve it’s good enough for us. Recommended: pakoras, channa samosa, lentil soup, malai kofta, vegetable korma, dal makhni, channa, baigan bharta, garlic nan. Fantastic. That said, we’ve never been fond of their saag, even though it’s apparently one of their most popular dishes, but that’s the only misstep we’ve ever encountered there. $ (2013) AEB

Mamie Clafoutis, 1291 Van Horne, 750-7245 (Outremont)--Mamie Clafoutis isn't exactly "new," but it's new to this list. MC has a full selection of pastries, breads, and desserts, including fruit clafoutis, but their real strength is in the Viennoiseries Dept. We recommend their chaussons aux pommes and their pains aux raisins. (2010)

Mammmm Bolduc, 4351 de Lorimier, 527-3884 (Plateau East)—MB used to be one of our very favorite places for a classic Québécois déj. As of March 2007, we’re not so sure anymore. The classic diner-style potatoes have been replaced with potatoes smothered in sauce BBQ spice mix, and where you used to get an excellent baguette that was griddle-toasted, you now get an anemic Provigo-style panini that’s been poorly toasted. $ (2007)

Marguerita Pizza, 6505 Clark, 276-6126—The city may not be the best city in the world for pizza, but it does have a good selection of pizza/focaccia bakeries and our favorite of the moment is Marguerita. They’ve been around since 1910, they still use their original recipes and proof their dough the old-fashioned way in their big, beautiful proofing cabinets, and they’ve still got their original brick oven on premises (although these days it only gets fired up as a back-up for their conventional ovens)—best yet, you can taste the tradition in their lovely pizzas. Open Monday-Saturday. $ (2009)

Marilou, 4675 St. Laurent, 849-4447 (Plateau)—Grilled food typical of the Azores and Madeira. See SA & Fils & Marilou for more details. Recommended: grilled calamari, grilled chicken. $$ (2006)

Mas Cuisine, 3779 Wellington, 544-3779 (Verdun)--Opened late in 2008, Mas Cuisine quickly became one of the brightest lights in the Montreal fine dining scene. It was so good, in fact, that we named it our Montreal Restaurant of the Year. Highlights from one dinner at the time included a seared giant scallop + tempura-fried squash blossom entremets that came graced with a phenomenal tomato-based, vanilla-laced foam; and a seared fillet of cod with Gaspé shrimp and orange zest, French string beans, wilted spinach, potato purée, and jus. Mas Cuisine has changed its schedule since those days--they no longer serve lunch, and they're no longer open on weekends: they're strictly Monday-Friday--but we're happy to report that Chef Michel Ross's cuisine (which we've admired since his days at La Brunoise) is just as note-perfect as ever. Highlights from our most recent visit included an elegant cold corn chowder with rock shrimp, red pepper, and herbs; a succulent grilled octopus salad with citrus and marcona almonds; and big, beautiful pan-seared scallops with fava beans. Great service, a small, but well-chosen selection of wines, and a soundtrack that leans towards rock & soul. One of our very favorites. $$-$$$ (2011)

DEFUNCT! McKiernan, 2485 Notre-Dame W., 759-6677 (Little Burgundy)—The latest from the folks who brought you Joe Beef and Liverpool House is another hit. McKiernan (named after Charles McKiernan, a.k.a. “Joe Beef”) is a diminutive luncheonette & bar à vins and they’ve got two specialties at the moment: deluxe sandwiches, including chicken tikka with two chutneys (mint and mango), the Ari Baikowitz “All-Beef Special” (a clever riff on the legendary Wilensky Special), and a roast pork number with cheese curds and caramelized onions; and lovely appetizers, including one of the city’s very best charcuterie plates (all of it made in-house) and some very reasonably priced oysters. You can find a full report here. Oh, yeah: they also offer a special brunch on Saturdays only that is one of the city’s best. Don’t believe me? Try the deluxe sautéed shrimp, poached egg, biscuit, and gravy combo, or the smoked brisket on a homemade English muffin with eggs. $-$$ (2010)

La Mer, 1840 René-Lévesque E., 522-3003 (Village)—In the past we had great things to say about La Mer, but after our last visit we’ve decided that Montreal is just cursed when it comes to seafood, regardless of what people might say. You see, Michelle went to La Mer to buy some live Dungeness crab and she couldn’t help but noticed that all of the crabs in the tank were dead. As the guy started to bag my purchase, she mentioned that they were dead (and therefore wouldn’t be buying them, thanks)… The guy just dumped them back in the tank and walked away.

Milano, 6862 St. Laurent, 273-8558 (Little Italy)—Definitely the biggest and quite possibly the best of the city’s full-service Italian delicatessens. An excellent source for everything from Arborio rice, Italian canned tuna, olive oil, panforte, pasta, truffles, and every other Italian food item you can possibly imagine.

Milos, 5357 Ave. du Parc, 272-3522 (Mile End)—One of Montreal’s most famous seafood restaurant. Huge selection of the freshest seafood in town, all grilled to perfection. Don’t leave without having some of their Greek spoon sweets for dessert. You might as well go all the way, right? Very high-calibre, with prices to match. $$$ (2010)

Mister Spicee, a.k.a. Spicee's, a.k.a. Boulangerie Spicee, 6889 Victoria (Côte des Neiges)—Our favorite Trini, hole-in-the-wall, take-out hot spot. Homemade patties and ridiculously good doubles are the highlights here. Make sure to request the house hot sauce or tamarind sauce—or, better yet, both—with your doubles. The chicken and chickpeas double—fresh, shredded chicken curried with chickpeas, served between a couple of steaming hot, tasty flatbreads, and slathered with the two house sauces—is particularly spectacular. Plus, who can argue with a place called Mister Spicee? And why would you even want to? Because they’re really friendly, too. $ (2012) AEB

Moishe's, 3961 St-Laurent, 845-3509 (Plateau/The Main)--This venerable steakhouse, with its doorman, its stately entryway, its airport billboards, and its famously prohibitive prices, has opened its doors to a whole new clientele by instituting a very reasonable "After 9" special Thursdays through Saturdays--which is why poor schmucks like us have finally been able to crash the gates. What, exactly, is the "After 9" special, you ask? Well, it's basically a $25 prix fixe menu that includes a starter and a main, plus copious amounts of Moishe's famous dill pickles and coleslaw, and coffee and tea at the end of your meal ("It's your right," our waiter told us). And the folks at Moishe's ain't skimping on the menu either--you get your choice of about 12 options including a rib steak, a filet mignon, a kobe beef burger, a lobster roll, and the ever tantalizing "shish k baby." You get the same number of choices in the starter department, too. All in all, a very good deal, and an easy way to justify a long-overdue visit to one of the legends of the Main. But, remember, it only lasts from 9:00 PM to midnight, at which point the prices magically convert back into regular Moishe's prices (read: expensive). Now, they just need to work on that wine list of theirs... $$-$$$ (2011)

Momesso, 5562 Upper Lachine Rd., 484-0005 (NDG)—Lured to this NDG institution by its associations with Sergio Momesso and by rumors of a meatball sub, I discovered that, in fact, there is no meatball sub at Momesso, but that they make up for this in spades with the rest of their lineup of hot Italian subs. Fave of the moment: spicy Italian sausage sub. $ (2011)

DEFUNCT! La Montée de Lait, 5171 St-Laurent, (Plateau/Mile End)—This is getting confusing. Years ago, back when it was located on Villeneuve East, La Montée de Lait was just about our favorite restaurant in town. Then they closed up shop, relocated to Centre-Ville, and renamed themselves La Montée. We thought it was a bad move at the time (we could see the dark clouds of recession on the horizon) and we lost interest. Well, sure enough, La Montée has now been shuttered, the La Montée team has staged a takeover of Bouchonné, their former wine bar, and they've renamed this newest venture (you guessed it!) La Montée de Lait. Plus ça change... Will we give them another shot? We're going to wait until the dust settles first. (2010)

Moti Mehal, 1024 Jean-Talon W., 315–8801 (Park Ex)--Moti Mehal has gotten a number of excellent reviews, including this one, but thus far the flocks of people who come to this strip of Jean-Talon in search of exotic South Asian fare don't seem to have discovered Moti Mehal. Every time we've been, the place has been more or less deserted. I hope that changes because Moti Mehal's kitchen turns out some very good food, including a Chicken Balti which, in my opinion, is the city's best. $ (2009)

Moulerie, 1249 Bernard W., 273-8132 (Outremont)—As the name suggests, Outremont’s specialist for moules frites. $$-$$$ (2005)

Mycoboutique, 820 Rachel E., 223-6977 (Plateau)—Montreal’s premiere mushroom specialist. You won’t find any magic mushrooms, but you will find about 40 other varieties, some fresh, some dried, others frozen. They also carry all kinds of other mushroom-related paraphernalia for all the mycophiles and/or aspiring mushroom hunters in your life.

Myriade, 1432 rue MacKay, 939-1717, www.cafemyriade.com  & 251 rue St-Viateur (Downtown; Mile End)--Hands down, easily, no questions about it: our favorite new-school Montreal espresso bar. Phenomenal beans (49th Parallel, for the most part), daily specials, nice equipment, great touch, weekly coffee tastings--hell, even their drip coffee is amazing (they only make small batches, and they only keep those small batches around for a maximum of 20 minutes!). These people know what they're doing, but, equally importantly, they've created a café space that's a pleasure to go to. Our favorite Montreal café.  And this just in:  they now have a tiny counter location inside one of our favourite Mile End boutiques:  Savoie Fils.  Next level! $ (2013) AEB

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Holy toledo! Shall I say it again? Holy toledo!!!

N

aj kinik said...

Just wait till you see the second half.

Anonymous said...

Say no more --- I'm already overwhelmed!

Cindy said...

I found this while I was doing research for my trip to Montreal. Not to be pushy, but I leave on Thursday -- any chance you'll get the second half up by then? (I go to Montreal fairly often, so I can easily save the last half of the alphabet for my next trip.)

I've just spent most of the morning reading your blog -- great stuff! It gave me a lot of ideas for my trip (I'm going with a foodie friend, and I'm pastry chef), and a lot of enjoyable reading.

Thanks!

aj kinik said...

I'm working on it.
Problem is, I've got another deadline I'm trying to meet.
I'll do my best.
Thanks for reading...

Daniel said...

And the additions make the list even better. We have been in Montreal for five months and I ahve found this to be a great reference. We just discovered Milano this weekend and I second the recommendation.

Bram said...

The comments that Schwartz's is the best smoked meat resto in town are so out of date and so incorrect that it's laughable. Schwartz's is resting on its laurels, having sunk to the point where all they serve is dry-as-a-bone fare... unless, of course, you add so much extra fat it's virtually uneatable. At this stage, I'd send someone to the West Island and Smoked Meat Pete's ("where you can't beat Pete's meat") if they want a good sandwich.

Schwartz's was worth the abuse when it offered great food... now you're better off heading across the street for The Main instead!

aj kinik said...

Hi Bram,
Finally, some dissent.

Sorry, but I thoroughly disagree. I've heard others issue similar complaints about Schwartz's but I've yet to have a dry smoked meat sandwich there. Is everyone ordering lean or something? Get a medium or, better yet, a regular/full-fat smoked meat sandwich and they're both plenty juicy and better spiced than any other smoked sandwich I've come across (although Snowdon makes a very fine smoked meat sandwich, too).

The Main is fine, but not nearly as spicy/interesting/complex. Excellent after hours, though.

I've yet to try Smoked Meat Pete's but someday I'll make the trek and check things out.

T.F.S.

Anonymous said...

We've been staying at an apartment hotel for five weeks on a business/vacation trip. We love to cook and prefer organic produce/products. We found an excellent store that delivers twice a week to our door, virtually everything we needed. Everything was first-rate -- the produce devine, a good variety of meats, lots of pantry items. Wonderful!

It's called The Real Green Grocer (www.therealgreengrocer.com), and you just go online and all the items are listed there. You just phone your order in (very simple, very fast), although I think they are planning online ordering soon too. But, we didn't need that -- just work your way down the on-screen list or print it out, then phone your order in.

For those who want first-rate organic products to cook with if you don't want to eat out every day (who does?), then check out The Real Green Grocer (514.486.2247 or www.therealgreengrocer.com).

A very happy customer, but a sad visitor as we are leaving tomorrow. Hopefully, it's au revoir,

Vancouver Islander

Adam B. said...

Great list. I'm a Vermonter but have been making increasingly frequent Montreal binges. Just curious, why no L'Express?

michelle said...

That's a good question. One that can be answered by the fact that I only went there for the first time about 2 months ago, and Anthony has never been. I will add it soon. The marrow was excellent. Everything else was a little underwhelming. (Especially the fries.) It's a good place to know about since it's open late and the wine is priced on the lower end of the mark-up scale. Hope you've enjoyed your Montreal visits.

Adam B. said...

Thanks, Michelle. Just went for the first time myself. I agree about the frites -- could be crispier -- but thought the wines, service, and general atmosphere made up for what seemed to me slight shortcomings in the food. Of course, two years in Burlington -- after NYC and SF -- has, sadly, lowered my culinary expectations somewhat.

Anonymous said...

I used to go to L'Express often. The fish-soup, one of their signature dishes, is a pale imitation of what it used to be. Now, they cheese is already melted on the toasts, and the rouille seems non-existent. Quelle horreur !

The bone-marrow appetizer is OK, and they're ones of the few to have it.

Anonymous said...

Hi it's Vancouver Islander back in town, and very happy to be here (visiting the city and your website), but I just had to alert everyone to the worst "fine dining" meal we've ever had.

Saturday night we went to Chez L'Epicier in Old Montreal, and decided to splurge on the "surprise" tasting menus, at $75 each. We can't decide whether the food or the service was worse.
The Zagat Guide just raved about it, and it seemed to be filled with lots of locals, so did we just get caught in the out-of-towner net, or what???

The tasting menu should have been called the tasteless menu, or the menu ordinaire. It started well enough but course three was a too-large portion of cold, greasy, leaden fois gras, followed by a nice, but unremarkable seared lamb. Then things just fell apart when the cheese course was served, a 1/4 inch thick slab of supermarket Gruyere topped by a scoop of vanilla ice cream (?!) with a Parmesan crisp on the side. At least we think it was Parmesan but it had virtually no taste, and the dish ingredients were not explained to us. Oh yes, it was served on a flat dish with no sides, the ice cream was already melting off the edge (then they took it back when they mumbling that there should be two (and brought the same one back (!) further melted, along with a different cheese course for my husband.

The next two courses also featured ice cream (!), one, supposedly fresh figs (not) on a biscuit (which we decided was like a Fig Newton without the flavour), and a deconstructed carrot cake, with -- yes, carrot ice cream. Again, no flavour, just deconstruction.

The service: a real melt-down here too. We must have had at least 8 or 9 different people serving us that evening, yet they never poured our expensive bottled water, never asked if we'd like coffee (had to ask, twice), brought the wrong cutlery for many courses (how do you eat a 3 inch long biscuit with semi-dried, candied figs covered in ice cream with two soup spoons?).

What could have been a serene or a festive ambience in the full restaurant (we'd take either) was marred by the place just buzzing with all the servers whizzing by bumping into one another, looking at our table and walking by, ignoring empty water glasses, and people sitting forlornly in front of food without utensils or liquids to assist them in enjoying the meal. Surreal.

And for all that manpower, we were served many courses where the server simply mumbled one ingredient and then "I don't know what the rest is ..." Actually admitting they had no idea what some of the courses were.

Noting that we'd been charged ($2.75) for a refill of our tiny coffee cups wasn't the end of the surprise "experience." No, as we fled the place, we were forced to run through a cloud of cigarette smoke as some of the kitchen staff were having a cigarette break -- right at the front entrance.

We resolved to laugh it off, even though it was a lot of money and we're not wealthy, just enjoy good food. We'll long remember Chez L'Epicier, for all the wrong reasons.

domestic goddess said...

Domestic Goddess Nat

Wow love the list... have a lot of places to check out thanks to you... I see that you don't really have that many Italian Restaurants that you've reviewed. But I would love to share with everyone a lovely Italian Resto, that is not your typical italian food, it has a large variety of game meats: duck, venison, bison, deer etc... great fresh fish, and lovely innovative pasta and risotto dishes... Check it out its truly a gem to montreal... RISTORANTE VINO ROSSO, located in Ville St Laurent, on Henri Bourassa, near the intersection of Marcel Laurin. Check out their homemade bread, foccacias, and palate pleasing entrees, main courses and desserts. Not to be missed!!!!

sugarpie said...

Hi - I just visited Montreal a few weeks ago and tried a few of the restaurants you suggested (La Paryse, L'Avenue du Plateau and Patati Patata) and all were just delicious. One question: I tried calling l'Anecdote to find out at what time they open (I tried several times) and there was no answer. Is this restaurant still open?

Anyhow, thank you so much for making my visit to Montreal so enjoyable. It would have been a far different vacation if I had to figure out where to eat on my own! Next time I go to Montreal I definitely want to try one of the Portugese places.

I live in Toronto which has many good restaurants, but I found Montreal to have much better lower-priced places than Toronto (and no tarte au sucre!). Sigh.

aj kinik said...

Wow, a veritable flurry of recent comments!

Vancouver Islander, now that's a comment! Very impressive. Too bad it was to report such a horrendous experience (although, thank god, it wasn't at one of our MFG recommendations). Anyway, I'm glad you had the moral courage to laugh off that meal. Sounded brutal. Can't say it's made us curious to investigate Chez l'Epicier. We'd heard rumors over the years, but I had no idea things had gotten that bad.

Domestic Goddess Nat, thanks for the feedback and the tip. Can't say we make out that way all too often, but we'll keep the suggestion in mind. As for Italian on the list: check out our blurbs for Via Dante, BU, and Trattoria Senza Nome. We've also listed a number of Italian cafes, bakeries, pizzerias, and specialty food shops. Next Italian restaurant on our list? Da Emma.

Sugarpie,
yeah, there's nothing quite like a tarte au sucre, or a pouding chomeur, for that matter. It's worth going to Au Pied de Cochon just for those two specialties alone. I'm glad the list came in handy. As you can tell, we're fond of the affordable restaurants too. That's one of the things we love about Montreal. Plus, for the price of eating at one of those big, awful "mid-range" chain restaurants (I always single out The Red Lobster, for some reason) you can eat at an absolutely top-notch restaurant here in Montreal. Our friends from New York in particular are always blown away by the steals to be had.

tri said...

Thank you so much for such a great list! Just got back from Montreal and visited many of the restaurants on your list and wanted to add my 2 cents.

Au Pied de Cochon – This may be my favorite restaurant anywhere. We ate there twice over three days. We had we the poutine, a foie gras tart with apple sauce, and the raw foie with salt cracker. All were excellent, and the highlight of the meals. The fries on the poutine were nice and crispy the gravy was flavorful, the cheese provided balance, and the foie just put if over the top. The tart was sweet and I would have it as a last course next time. The raw foie with salt cracker was probably my favorite item (just edging out the poutine). You can really taste the rich creamy foie in this dish and the bed of warm mashed potatoes warms the foie just enough and provides nice balance.

For entrees, we had the bison rib, duck in a can, and venison steak. The sauce on the rib was a tad sweet for our taste but still very good. The duck in a can was a bit over done for our taste but the flavors were excellent. The venison steak also had good flavors but a bit tough. I wish we had one more day, I would have came back and tried some more items from the foie gras menu.

Schwartz – I totally agree with you guys on this one. The spices makes their meat special. The Main makes a good sandwich, and I would love to have a place like this close to where I live, but Schwartz’s is worth the trip and wait.

La Banquise – Perhaps my expectations were out of whack after having my first ever poutine from APdC, but La Banquise was a real disappointment. The fries were not crispy, the gravy was salty, and the cheese was nothing like what was served at APdC.

Les Chocolats de Chloé was very good but wow, expensive! I also enjoyed the thick hot chocolate from Juliet and Chocolate. I thought Suite 88 Chocolatier’s shooters were beautiful and fun, but the quality of the chocolate was not as good as Les Chocolates.

Anonymous said...

Can you recommend a place for Christmas day lunch or dinner for tourists with teenagers (this means wow factor in ambience rather than food)

michelle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michelle said...

Tri, I am happy to hear that you enjoyed most of our recommendations. Au Pied du Cochon is a must for anyone who hasn't been. Same for Schwartz.
Les Chocolates de Chloe are on the higher end of the cost scale, but she uses Valrhona chocolate exclusively. If you've ever looked into buying a bag of it, you know why her costs are so high, but it is the world's best chocolate, and her bonbons are some of the best I've had.
Finally, I am sure the order in which you hit PDC and Banquise was not flattering to the latter and has a lot to do with your impression. La Banquise has saved many a drunken soul from an impending hangover (poutine is a known preventative), and has cured at least as many. The best time to go? Deep winter, 3:00 a.m., too drunk to feel the cold: "It's hot outside!". Take a cab home.

Hello anonymous, Christmas Day is a tough one, since most of the restaurants are closed. Perhaps those in Old Montreal will be open? Check GardeManger, I can't imagine a better place for teenagers. I have a feeling, though, that you might have to go with whatever is open. Good luck.

bensrose said...

Ate at Garde Manger (408 St. François Xavier) a week ago. Still salivating at the memories. Their seared foie gras with "peanut butter & jelly", invented by Hakim,one of the chefs, is, odd as it sounds, to die for. The short ribs melted in the mouth. Wine list was solid - we tried the Coppola merlot.

aj kinik said...

Hi bensrose,
Pb & j, huh? Cute. Thanks for the input, but GM will never see the likes of us again.

Lautreamax said...

Hi guys. I've been enjoying the pear-quince mostarda I got at Expozine. Haven't opened the oignons confits yet. Keeping those for a special occasion.

Last night, some friends and I decided to finally take you up on the recommendation for the "best sushi in town" and went to Jun-I. We were not disappointed! Wow, rice crispies in sushi!

Though you recommend sticking to the sushi and sashimi, we also tried several of their appetizers and were very happy with our choices. The beef tartar was amazing. But the number one hit of the evening was something they call the "mille feuilles", which is three layers of ris de veau, scallop and mushroom, served with reduced balsamic. It was so good we thought we were going to faint.

On top of everything else, the service was excellent and our waiter was able to suggest two bottles of excellent white wine. It was a lovely evening.

Thanks for the recommendation.

--Yan

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for constantly updating this list--as an Albany, NY resident (about 4 hrs away-sigh), I pretty much plan obsessively EVERY NIGHT in my head what I'm going to eat the next time I'm in Mtl. You are the queen of thoroughness and taste, and I am constantly amazed and delighted by your efforts. Am moving to Plattsburgh just to be closed to my fav. city!

Darwin said...

I've been going to a nice mexican restaurant that's been around for a few years in the centre-sud area, near the corner of ontario/iberville, called Guadeloupe Mexicaine. Good food, not too pricey, nice friendly atmosphere, owner often around to greet you personally. Definitely one of my favorite regular spots.

adam said...

You guys generally have great taste, so I trusted you -- but must disagree heartily about Au Petit Extra. Went there this weekend on your rec, and, wow -- bad! From the pathetic wine list padded with grocery-store plonk to the sloppy plating to the food that was like the worst kind of wedding banquet crap. I love classic, simple bistro food, and was terribly disappointed I hadn't gone with my heart and just gone to L'Express again, where they actually, like, care about things like food and service. Did we really go to the same place?

michelle said...

Adam, wow. I am sorry you had such a disappointing meal at Au Petit Extra. It's been at least a year since our last visit--maybe it has slipped? We've never had anything bad or sloppy there, especially when compared to L'Express--
But I hate wedding food with a passion so I feel for you. Don't tell me they piped the mashed potatoes with a star-tipped pastry bag. Horror. It is sad if it has gone downhill, it's such a great space. Why does Montreal have such mediocre bistros? Why?

adam said...

Thanks, Michelle. I know, it's a bummer. Maybe there were better menu items -- the foie gras app wasn't bad -- but the seriously overcooked pork chops, wrinkled haricots, and a piece of salmon sprinkled with what looked like canned black pepper and a round of plain white rice in the center of the plate were just sorry and depressing.

P.S. Way to go with finally adding Restaurant Daou. Unpretentious and excellent, excellent Lebanese! Their fatoosh salad is best I've had anywhere.

aj kinik said...

Hi Adam,
As Michelle mentioned, it's been a while since we've been to Au Petit Extra, but over the years we've been there at least 10 times with nothing but high, high marks to report, so, really, that was one of our strongest recommendations. We'll have to go back and see if there's something amiss. We've always found the wine list impressive, too (especially the extended, by-request-only one)--not the best in town, but still impressive. Au Petit Extra has imported many of their own wines for years and they've prided themselves on catering to connoisseurs (which is one of the ways they manage to keep their prices on their food so reasonable, I think). What exactly did you mean by grocery-store plonk? Did they have dep wines on their list? Anyway, we'll give it another look-see sometime soon.

adam said...

Thanks, AJ. You know, we could have ordered badly, but still, even the "wrong" things shouldn't be truly bad, which the main dishes really were. While there are some good wines on the list -- and I didn't know about the "secret" list -- I felt there was way too much undistinguished California stuff. What's a Forest Glen Merlot doing on a restaurant menu? I can get that at the gas station. One thing I liked about L'Express was the good variety of wine by the glass and half bottle, which is nice when there are just two people eating. Anyway ... you guys do a great job with the site. Thanks -- and let me know when you come to VT again and I'll show you a few places you missed and introduce you to some farmers!

aj kinik said...

No problem, Adam,
Have you visited BU or La Montée de Lait yet? Both have very interesting wine lists. I've also gotten some great selections at Au Pied de Cochon, especially the last couple of times, when I've thrown all caution to the wind and let our server make selections for me. We'd love to get some of your VT tips. How would we get in touch with you?

adam said...

Monte de Lait looks great, but haven't eaten there yet. APdC is next on my list. When you come to VT, email me -- can I send you that securely somehow?

Janet said...

Hi, guys. As a regular visitor to your "List" for new ideas, I thought I'd let you know that Maison du Roti on Mont-Royal burnt down on Mar. 5!!! I live right around the corner from it and shop there all the time. Turned up there a few days ago with my trusty MDR canvas bag only to find the place charred and covered up with plywood. However, on the up side, they will be renovating and re-opening (no date yet), better than ever, if that is at all possible.

aj kinik said...

Hi Adam,
Sorry for being slow in replying--got busy there. My gmail account is ajkinik@gmail.com
You can always contact me there.

Hi Janet,
Thanks for the comment. We, of course, have been mourning the loss of Maison du Roti for days and days--too busy mourning to update Maison du Roti's listing, apparently. Thanks for reminding us and giving us the latest. If you notice a reopening date before we do, let us know.

Brewnoser said...

Wow, oh wow. This is a great site and an amazing resource. Thanks for all the work it takes!

Eric said...

This Main/Schwartz/Pete battle leaves me perplex. Just go to the three.

Except for the cutting, Main and Pete are very similar to me. I would bet my next medium/fat they are both made by Quebec Salaison Smoked Meat (aka Charcuterie Nower) in Pointe St-Charles.

As for Schwartz Laurels, I remember not too long ago being greated by 'What do you want' and not even bothering to try to speak french (no sir, those knifes at the cutters counter are very long). Things change. They even put a new coat of paint (I hear they had no choice, the ceiling was going down).

Eric said...

I totally agree with you on Arouch. Looks to me they opened a much bigger place in Laval on St-Martin. Factory?

2 others excuses to go to Liège Street: Pâtisserie Mahrouse and the best souvlaki sticks in town at Boucherie Kydon (2 blocks from Arouch). You will never see butchers in basements the same way again. Pork sticks are 1$ and the chicken and lamb are 2$. Hey, bbq season is coming. OK after the second winter.

mwh said...

What about Bistro l'Entrepot (or l'Entrepont?) on Hotel de Ville just a wee bit north of Mont Royal on the west side? A sign on the door says that it's been around since '86, but I had never heard of it before..

aj kinik said...

hi brewnoser,
thanks for the kudos--hope it comes in handy

hi eric,
bad smoked meat certainly exists (in fact, it dominates), but you're not going to find it at any of those three nor at Snowdon Deli. And, yes, you're right, things certainly have changed at Schwartz's over the years, but, thankfully, much of the genius of the place is still intact. Thanks for the Little Belgium-related tips. We'd heard great things about Mahrouse, but didn't know anything about Boucherie Kydon (except for the fact that they were hauling in a whole lot of lamb as we passed by).

hi mwh,
We've been intrigued with l'Entrepont for a while. For one thing, there's that name. Then there's the contrast between it and that hideous office building across the street, which couldn't be starker. The Gazette gave it a favorable review not too long ago and the proprietor certainly is friendly--he came out to greet us one day when we were reading the menu/checking out the press clippings, said 'hello,' and gave us a couple of business cards. At the moment, that's all we know. We wish we had the budget to fully scour the city, but we don't.

paul said...

love the list, as a former montrealer this list whets my appetite something fierce.

a couple points:
-where is la croissentarie on fairmont? if not for food/cafe, the ambiance.
-watch out for the waitress at the main on late nights, she (perhaps justifiably) takes advantage of drunk patrons and will charge/take more money than listed. happened to myself and others on numerous occasions so watch your ruples.
-finally, since you both have extensive vancouver experience, any chance of producing a guide for out west (maybe nyc too?)

thanks for the work!
paul

aj kinik said...

hi paul,
glad you like the list...

la croissanterie is listed under le figaro, its other name

you'll find a growing series of tips for vancouver, a bunch of scattered new york tips, and tips for paris, the SF bay area, vermont, etc., in the "...an endless adventure" section of our sidebar

frankbb said...

Hi, first off let me thank you for this amazing list. I'm quite the foodie and I've been to about half the listed places, so I know I can rely on you guys. That being said, Bottega pizza is highly overrated. The high temperature oven they use is obviously not being used properly. I just returned from New York City where John's Pizza has a 900 degree coal fired oven and where they truly know how to make real Italian pizza. There is no comparison. First off Bottega's pizzas are too small to really take advantage of this type of oven. At John's pizza they serve either 15 inch or 17 inch pizzas which can be shared. I hope someone can finally open a good pizza joint in Montreal, they'll make a fortune! A few short notes, if you hanen't already, you should try the roast beef at Magnan's (onm Wellington), best in town (on the condition one orders the rare, but who would be silly enough to order well-done anyways eesh). Also try the grilled chicken at Nostos (Acadie Boulevard), simply the best I've had in any town. Nostos also has the best gyro-pitas I've ever eaten. Their gyro-pitas have marinated lamb and pork, truly amazing. I have many more suggestions, but will first try out some of your suggestions and then post again.

aj kinik said...

hi frankbb,
Thanks for the input. I've been to Magnan, but Michelle's never been. I've been meaning to take her for a meal and a brew. The original taverne section is definitely classic. Nostos is new to me. Sounds great. I'll go give it a look-see sometime soon.

I hear you on the issue of Bottega, but no one that I know of has been arguing that Bottega is better than Joe's, or Di Fara, or Franny's, or anyone of a number of other NY insitutions, not to mention dozens of places in Italy, a number in the south of France, etc. Is there a better pizza in Montreal (and environs)? That's the issue. Bottega's my favorite at the moment and it has been since last December when I went knowing next to nothing about the place other than "there's a new pizza place on St-Zotique." Is Bottega serving a world-class pizza? It's at least worthy of consideration, in my opinion. Is there room for improvement? Sure. Among other things, it'd be nice if there was some real competition. Have I had better pizzas elsewhere, outside of Montreal? Yes.

Feel free to send along any and all suggestions and tips. We love 'em.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Anonymous said...

I an traveling to mOntreal on 7-30 for 8 days w/ family and celebrating my twins 8th birthday while there. Staying in The Plateau by La Fontaine Park- any great places you could recommend for a great dessert- ? Read your article in Budget Travel and will be using it to see the city's hidden treasures!
Thanks,

aj kinik said...

Hi anonymous,
Well, you could always visit Michelle and Patrice at Laloux (250 Ave. des Pins W.). There's no question they're serving some of the city's best desserts. You should definitely visit Les Chocolats de Chloé on Roy too (as recommended in our article). More crowd-pleasers: cakes and cupcakes at Cocoa Locale (4807 Parc). Have fun exploring Montreal.

frankbb said...

Hi, it is difficult to find a good pizza in Montreal, but Bottega is is not just average pizza, it's very expensive average pizza. Just across the street from Bottega, one can get a better and less expensive pizza at the very popular Italian eatery Piatto Pienno. I also know of one nondescript takeout restaurant that makes better pizza than Bottega and at a far far cheaper price. Only reason I ever discovered this place is that it is situated near my mother-in-law's house. It's one of those greasy spoon takeout joints that you'd never give a second look to, but somehow they make great pizza. The place is called Casa Tony, situated at 6363 Henri Bourassa East. Best thing is to order a pizza and go pick it up. You won't find fancy designer pizzas here, with exotic ingredients, but it is very well cooked pizza and very tasty.

aj kinik said...

Hi frankbb,
Thanks for another couple of good tips. I've been meaning to check out Piatto for a while now. Looks promising. Casa Tony sounds like a real Montreal find. I'll make a point of visiting them both sometime soon. I have to admit that I was disappointed with Bottega when they promptly raised their prices about 4-6 weeks after opening--especially when it was clear they were doing booming business. Previous to that their prices were actually almost competitive, at least by Little Italy standards.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great site! If it helps anyone here's my own review of one of your recommendations:

One Saturday a couple of weeks ago, with great expectations, my partner and I ventured to La Montee de Lait. We chose the 7 plate tasting menu. These menu prices set it to be judged by the finest restaurants, and by those standards I'd have to say it was very good, but short of being excellent. First of all, one thing I was not prepared for was the ambiance. The acoustics of the small wood room achieve a decibel level second to none, and was filled in tight capacity with a remarkably rambunctious lot! We had some trouble sharing that excitement when it became impossible to converse without moving to each other's ears to speak. For this reason, a few claims that this place is "romantic" are rather off. I'd have had more fun with a group of friends, perhaps.

Even this would have been easier to endure were it not for the waits of 30 minutes between each small plate. My boyfriend was on the verge of his own personal "montee de lait" by the third hour!
As for the dishes themselves, I was a little disappointed to find that the cheese theme appeared to have been abandoned, as it was part of my interest in going. First dish was a delightful oyster served on a half shell above a mound of coarse grain sea salt. Second dish was a refreshing cool pea soup with pork wrapped scallop. I appreciated the innovation in presentation of dish 3: an Illy espresso cup appeared beside two seared shrimp, the tiny vessel of a scrumptious shrimp bisque. The next two savory dishes were unspectacular. Fried quail leg was well executed but uncomplicated. Next was cubed rabbit in aspic, which lacked any distinct flavor - nothing offended the palate, but nothing impressed it either. The cheese dish (#6) was disappointing. An ordinary camembert, brie that didn't seem any more singular than a supermarket variety, a reasonably good tomme. I had anticipated better from a one-time "cheese-bar". The long-awaited dessert - a pot du creme with fresh raspberries was a sadly sour end to our evening. The simple creme was an easy pleaser, but the black raspberries atop (so rich with their own flavor) were drown in an overwhelming dose of cider vinegar.
I will say the service was quite good and attentive, if the velocity is discounted. However, we couldn't wait by the end of our dining experience to escape the ceaseless cacophony of the place! The $200 bill at the night's close was a final touch.

Anonymous said...

This is an indispensable guide to Montreal dining. I'm headed there. Thank you for Pt. 1! Job well-done!

Ava

Anonymous said...

On a recent trip to Montreal, we took some of Endless Banquet's suggestions and went to the following: LaLoux, Pho Bang New York, Schwarz's, and Fairmont Bagel. Although all were delicious, our favorite meal was at Cafe Ferreira, which had excellent fresh fish, and vegetables so fresh, sweet and delicious, I thought that they had gotten them from the Green Market in Union Square in NYC.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any recommendations for vegetarian friendly places in or near the plateau that also serve meat (and are really good)? Thanks for the great lists.

aj kinik said...

Take 2:
The city's better restaurants will generally always have at least one vegetarian appetizer (usually more) and one vegetarian main, and many of them will fix up a vegetarian special upon request. But it's rare that one of these restaurants will be any more vegetarian-friendly than this. I'd probably recommend La Montée de Lait, which has a number of vegetarian options plus a great cheese selection, and their format (4 dishes for $40) allows you to mix and match any way you see fit. The city's ethnic eateries (everything from Italian to Lebanese to Indian) tend to be more vegetarian-friendly.

Ema said...

KOKOROCO Restaurant at 6620 Blvd. Les Galeries D'Anjou in St. Leonard has the BEST charcoal grilled chicken in town! A whole chicken plus fries, salad, garlic gravy and bread for $15. so tender and spiced just right. They also sell filet mignon, roast beef and many other dishes.
It's only a small restaurant in a little strip mall but you can also order out.
Try it! You won't be sorry. 514-493-9888

newtomontreal said...

Amazing long list! Bookmarked ;)

Justin said...

No Dieu du Ciel? Really?

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Dieu du Ciel? It's not on the list!

leimorgan said...

One of my latest discoveries of Montreal is... Le petit Alep (brother of the restaurant Alep just next door that is open at night). It's a syrian/armenian restaurant located near marché Jean-Talon (191 rue Jean-Talon).

It's really a popular place around so if you go for supper at Alep, you might have to wait, but for lunch at Le Petit Alep, it is a cute little bar-bistro that is just next to the restaurant with a cute tiny terasse. The price are really reasonable. They make their own cheese - kind of like a cheddar. Their soup that come with the "Menu du jour" is wonderful and you have to try one of their rose dessert (Hétalié and Metahalabié) or their crispy crepe with nuts and orange flower sirop (Atayef). For main course, I propose trying out their kebab khach-khach (it's made of spicy beef with a salad and a pita - for 6,75$ plus tax).

You have to try their orange-mango-mint juice :) And look out, it's closed on Sundays and Mondays!

If you're still hungry, go to marché Jean-Talon and try a donut at Polish Packsi (sp?) Wawel bakery/pastry http://www.wawelpatisserie.com/. The have wonderful German Berliner... I love the one with apricot - by the way usually I don't like donuts :)

aj kinik said...

hi ema,
we don't make it out to anjou all that often, but maybe we'll stop in a pay a visit to kokoroco next time we go out to buy canning jars. Thanks for the tip!

hi newtomontreal,
thanks for the shout-out and welcome to montreal!

hi justin,
we don't have too many micro-brasseurs on the list--we've tended to focus on the ones with exceptionally good food--but, yeah, we should probably add dieu du ciel!--among other reasons, it's right around the corner from us. Thanks for the comment.

hi leimorgan,
maybe you haven't seen the second half of the list, but Petit Alep and Wawel are mentioned there. We've been championing Wawel in particular for years. Petit Alep is a great tip for those wanting to make a day of Jean-Talon Market and Little Italy. Thanks for commenting.

jk@gmail.com said...

Can you recommend someplace near to Cirque de Soleil on Rue de la Commune for a pre-show dinner?

aj kinik said...

hi, jk,
Club Chasse et Pêche, DNA, and Graziella are all in the immediate vicinity, and all three are excellent. You can find links to longer reviews of DNA and Graziella on our sidebar and there's a mini-review of Club Chasse et Pêche in our A-Z. Have a nice time.

Rebeca said...

Abu Elias, my latest gastronomic discovery, is right on Cote-Vertu in Ville St-Laurent. Surrounded by Lebanese bakeries, other sandwich spots and an upscale restaurant or two, Abu Elias stands out – the food prepared there is fresh, fantastic and cheap. Tastebuds and wallet, rejoice!

Maureen said...

I was just reviewing the A-M list to check for new places and I notice that Anjou Quebec is listed as defunct. Last Saturday I was being driven along Notre Dame St. and saw that Anjou Quebec is open/will open there. If I recall correctly it was east of Guy St.

S Lloyd said...

Awesome listing of Montreal restaurants. Spot on evaluations! Now, although Montreal is undeniably gifted by great tables (XO, La Montée, Raza, Nuances, Jun I, Toque!, Le Club, La Porte, Le St-Urbain, Bistro Cocagne..etc), I think it is about time that a new level of gourmet creativity hits this city, or else (apart those very few I've just mentionned), most of our restaurants will carry the reputation of playing it safe. When I see restaurants like Geranium or Herman (Denmark), QuiQue Da Costa (Spain), Oud Sluis (NetherLands) ... then I turn around and look at most Montreal restaurants with the 100th way of prsenting a lamb shank or a duck magret...I feel a bit bitter. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but adding here and there some daring modern touches of creativity would be a fresh breeze, here!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I see that you're a former vegetarian, and I was wondering if you had some suggestions for veggie/veggie-friendly restaurants that it'd be a shame to leave Montreal without trying! I'm visiting from New York for a week, so am particularly excited to try local specialties or innovative restaurants.

We eat eggs/dairy, and are excited to try out Fairmount bagels, the local cheese selection at the fromagerie you mentioned above, brunch at Reservoir, sandwiches at Cafe Santropol, and perhaps dinner or lunch at Kitchenette. We're also staying at a b&b with a vegetarian breakfast, so mostly looking for lunch/dinner/snack options.

On messages boards people keep suggesting that most restaurants have vegetarian options on request, but are there any that you've found particularly good?

MANY thanks for any help you can provide!

aj kinik said...

hi, Anonymous,
here are a couple of places that strike us as being particularly good for vegetarian eats at the moment:
1. Kaza Maza on ave. du Parc serves fantastic Lebanese/Syrian specialties, and their list of vegetarian mezze is extensive
2. Dépanneur Le Pick-Up on Waverly in Little Italy goes out of its way to provide for its vegetarian and vegan patrons--we swear by their grilled halloumi cheese sandwich
finally, have you been to Jean-Talon Market yet (just minutes from Le Pick-Up)? Now's the time to go and between the fresh fruit and vegetables (much of it local), the stands, the cheese store, etc., you should find plenty to keep you busy--the bhajis at La Dépense are one of the best snacks in the city

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestions! We aren't there yet, but will let you know how it goes.

aj kinik said...

hi S. Lloyd,
sorry, just noticed this comment today for the first time

I agree--Montreal is a great food city, and there have been a number of bright lights who've done some exciting things here over the last 10+ years, but there's definitely room for more daring, more creativity--both high-end and low-

we haven't been to any of the restaurants you mentioned, but we've found a lot of inspiration in NYC and Northern California recently--some of the NYC material we've already reported on--the NoCal material will be appearing soon

Yan Basque said...

I'm really glad to see Kaza Maza on your list. Tried it yesterday and loved it. Looking forward to revisiting it and trying more dishes.

Was wondering if you guys tried Comptoir 21 on St-Viateur. They're in the spot Jardin du Cari used to be in. (They moved just around the corner on St-Laurent, so you might want to update the address in your listing.)

I haven't tried Comptoir 21 yet, but it's a simple-looking fish and chips place. I haven't had a lot of good fish and chips in Montreal, so it could be worth a visit.

aj kinik said...

Hi, Yan,
glad you too like Kaza Maza--we haven't tried Damas, their sister restaurant, but we've heard great things about it too

thanks for the reminder about Jardin du Cari

haven't tried Comptoir 21 yet, but really liked the fish 'n' chips at Brit 'n' Chips in Old Montreal

Laurance Chediac said...

MUST VISIT THIS LOCAL MILE END CAFÉ!
I am really surprised that `le Zigoto`café is not on this list! It is not only one of Mile End`s sweetest and coziest hang-outs, but serves one of the best Organic Lattés around! The menu is varied and consists of panini, grilled breakfast sandwiches, homemade Mediteranean style soups and salad and one of the most delicious breakfasts/brunches I have ever had!!!
The café has ongoing exhibits of local artists`works and the music sublime! Check out more here: www.lezigotocafe.blogspot.com

`le Zigoto`
5731 ave du Parc (corner of Bernard next to Rialto)
(438) 764-9005