My husband and I needed to collect our college freshman from Burlington Saturday, so we decided to head to Montreal the Wednesday prior. We arrived late Wed, staying at the Hôtel Château de L’Argoat on on Rue Sherbrooke. It was very nice, near the Metro and the Latin Quarter, the Village, and the Plateau. Request a room in the back should you stay there. We were on the street side and it was a little loud around 2:30 am when the bars closed.
The first night, we had reservations at Restaurant L’Express on St. Denis. The restaurant was exactly what we expected and wanted for dinner. A busy, kind of loud french bistro, all kinds of folks eating, drinking, talking. Waiters were very nice and helpful. Service was excellent.
We started with the vegetable soup and a shrimp cocktail. Both were fine.
I had the grilled chicken breast, pan sauce, potato gratin and a really nice arugula, pea and green bean salad. The sauce was so good, I wanted more of it.
My husband has the radicchio risotto which was a special, I managed a small bite before he set up his defenses. It was very nice, very fresh.
We finished off with the maple profiteroles, which I was afraid would be too maple-y for me. But they weren’t. 3 pastries with vanilla ice cream, in a maple cream sauce. Very well done.
Thursday morning we set off for the old town and water front in search of a good coffee/latte/espresso.
We found one at Olive & Gourmando on Rue St. Paul.
Very good latte and elixir tea, 2 croissants and a chia pudding-mango-granola-banana-coconut bowl, which should be shared. The brioche items looked pretty good too, but we had no room.
We wandered around, checked out the tourist shops, the waterfront and went through the Centre d’Histoire de Montréal, which had a really good exhibit on the Scandals of Montreal: the red light districts, gambling, mob connections, all very interesting.
Lunch was a late one, at O’thym on Boulevard de Maisonneuve.
It is a prix fixe menu at lunch, we both had the parsnip/turnip ginger soup and it was very good, it had a nice ginger bite to it, I had the haddock over a kale puree with roasted Brussels sprouts, purple carrots, fresh tomatoes and kale. I enjoyed it very much, especially the kale puree. And I wasn’t thinking I would!.
I had a bite of my husbands duck confit over a fresh celery remoulade and that was also very good.
Coffees and a little pumpkin cake finished out the meal.
We weren’t starved at dinner, but ended up at L’Gros Luxe in the Plateau. A couple of nice cocktails, fish tacos and beet salad were perfect. We sat at the bar, and the service was great. Nice neighborhood place, very busy, loud, comfortable. We didn’t have one, but we did learn about les ceasars, made with clamato juice or the new high-end Quebec version from Walters.
A couple went by garnished with grilled cheese and burgers.
Friday we ended back at Restaurant L’Express for breakfast, eggs, toast and lattes, We wandered through the Jean-Talon market and wished we could come back through customs with fruits and vegetables.
We planned on dinner in Little Italy, so we headed downtown.
Looking for a pick-me-up, we ended up on St. Denis by the Univ. of Quebec at Montreal…lots of kids out and about enjoying the sunshine. We settled on Juliette et Chocolat. A milkshake for me and a crepe with chocolate, meringue, ice cream and whipped cream for him. It was fine, nothing special but the service was spotty and that may of colored things for us.
We had reservations at Gema Pizzeria in little Italy for dinner Friday night. Its related to Impasto, which gets high marks but Gema is just pizza, with a nice selection of appetizers. We were early for our reservation, but the staff was great, sat us at the bar and offered up their cocktail specials. We sat and sipped for a bit before ordering dinner.
We had salads from Jean-Talon market and a (homemade) pepperoni pizza to split. Excellent. The wine list is also very good, All the pizzas that went by looked so good You will need reservations, it’s not a big place. By 6:00 pm, it was an hour + wait for a table for 2.
We set out early Saturday morning for Burlington…we knew the farmer’s market was open…but we’re already planning our next trip!