Featured this month: Osco! Restaurant
Restaurant Happenings: BEVO Bar + Pizzeria!
If you were to ask the well-heeled Old Montreal business crowd to name their favorite establishment for a three-hour weekday lunch, many would choose Verses, located on historic Saint-Paul Street. It is popular with tourists as well. Their contemporary French cuisine is delectable, seamlessly blending traditional with new. Not surprising, since that combination reflects the very building in which Verses resides: the Nelligan Hotel. Old stone walls meet brick over a dark wood floor featuring spacious half-moon booths and intimate lighting. Read more...
Montreal Restaurants: Asian
Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent sushi or a delicious Sea Bass we have an Asian style restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our Asian style restaurants are casual elegance in a relaxed atmosphere. Plates are served with a the upmost of care, they are both a feast for the eyes and pallet.
Montreal Restaurants: Belgian
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Belgian restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous Belgian fries, mussels, specialty beers and of course waffles and chocolate. Go Montreal Living will have a Belgian restaurant to suit your pallet. Plates are served with the upmost of care.
Montreal Restaurants: Bistro
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Bistro restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous mussels, foie gras, good wine or great ambiance and cocktails Go Montreal Living will have a Bistro restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our Bistro restaurants are casual elegance in a relaxed atmosphere.
Montreal Restaurants: Brazilian
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Brazilian restaurants to choose from. Enjoy churrasco style of barbecuing beef, lamb, veal, ribs, etc. in the South of Brazil, it is common to cook the meat at good distance away from the fire. This makes it take longer to cook and pieces are cut from the outside and eaten as they get cooked or try Cavaguinha which are small lobsters native to brazil that are sweet and delicate. Montreal Living will have a Brazilian restaurant to suit your pallet. All of our Brazilian restaurants boast a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Montreal Restaurants: Breakfast
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Breakfast restaurants to choose from. Go Montreal Living will have a Breakfast restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our Breakfast restaurants up until 11 am. And sometimes later on the weekend. Plates are served with the upmost of care.
Montreal Restaurants: Bring Your Own Wine
Here you will find a vast selection of Montreal bring your own wine restaurants. Bring your own wine concept was introduced in the 1950’s for just that, bringing your own wine to a gathering. BYOW means "Bring Your Own Wine" and tells you a restaurant allows you to bring your own wine to their restaurant. Most Montréal restaurants charge you a corkage fee on the wine you bring. The corkage fee goes toward covering the cost of glasses, decanters, and of course the profit restaurant make on the wine. Many places also refer to BYOB as 'Bring Your Own Bottle'.
Montreal Restaurants: Cafes
Here you will find a good variety of Montréal cafes restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for that perfect coffee, croissant for lunch or that oversized cookie you have been dreaming of all morning our fabulous café section will fill your every need. Most of these café offer terraces in the summer months.
Montreal Restaurants: Cajun
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Cajun restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent dishes or great ambiance and cocktails Go Montreal Living will have a Cajun restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our Cajun restaurants are casual elegance in a relaxed atmosphere. Dishes are alive with color, texture and bursting with tastes.
Montreal Restaurants: Caribbean
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Caribbean restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent dishes or great ambiance and cocktails Go Montreal Living will have a Caribbean restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our Caribbean restaurants are tropical delights in relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy the tastes and fragrances of the islands!
Montreal Restaurants: Chicken 'N Ribs
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Chicken n Rib restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent dishes of baby back ribs or great roasted chicken and cocktails Go Montreal Living offers you a Chicken n Rib restaurant to suit your pallet. Included on the menu of most of these restaurants are succulent steaks, all dresses baked potatoes and delicious desserts like apple crumple and chocolate cake.
Montreal Restaurants: Creperie
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Creperie Restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent dishes of pancakes or Belgian waffles Go Montreal Living will have a Montréal Creperie Restaurants to suit your pallet.
Montreal Restaurants: Deli
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Deli restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent dishes or great ambiance and cocktails Go Montreal Living will have a Deli to suit your pallet. Most of our Deli restaurants are very casual in a relaxed atmosphere. Montreal is known for its smoked meat and it is no wonder! You can request your Montreal smoked meat lean, medium or fatty, all are delicious!
Montreal Restaurants: Fine Dining
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal fine dining restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous high end restaurants serving rack of lamb and seared foie gras or a trendy place for cocktails Go Montreal Living will have a fine dining restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our fine dining restaurants have an elegant dress attire.
Montreal Restaurants: Fine Pizza
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Pizza restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving traditional Pizza dishes or more of what we call designer Pizzas Go Montreal Living will have the spot to suit your needs. Most of our Pizza restaurants are casual attire in a relaxed atmosphere.
Montreal Restaurants: Fondue
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Fondue restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving cheese fondue and chocolate fondue or succulent veal dishes Go Montreal Living will have a Fondue restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our Fondue restaurants are casual elegance in a relaxed atmosphere.
Boucherie Fresh Cutz
11604 De Salaberry, Dollard-des-Ormeaux H9B 2R8
Bangerter of Switzerland
380 Bord du Lac, Dorval, H9S 2A6
Montreal Restaurants: French
Here you will find a vast selection of Montreal French restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous bavette or nouvelle cuisine we have a French restaurant to suit your pallet.
Montreal Restaurants: Fusion
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal fusion cuisine restaurants to choose from. Fusion cuisine is the combination of various forms of cookery, this is not limited to regional or the addition of various ingredients that mix ethnicities.
We have included for your enjoyment a brief history of Greek food, wine and culture. Greece is a country of a great interests and diverse cultures, influenced by its location, at the junction between the East and the West and by the many occupations endured by the Greek people throughout history. Our Greek restaurants offer a variety of specialties like, squid, Greek salads, fresh grilled fish, spanikopita or Saganaki which is kefalotyri or kasseri cheese (or pecorino romano) in flour then fried in olive oil and drizzled with lemon( if you have never tried it, it is a must. This dish takes its name from the pan in which it is made in.
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal grill restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous grill hot spot for succulent steak or a hip place to meet after work. Go Montreal Living will have a grill restaurant to suit your tastes.
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Indian restaurants to choose from. If you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent tandori roti, curry chicken and many more delicious dishes, then look no further we have them all!
Top of the morning to you and welcome to Go Montreal Living Irish pubs and restaurants section. The perfect spots to go for lunch, dinner or for a night of lively music. Most of our Irish pubs serve up traditional put fair like, meat pies, pickled eggs and of course a large selection of beers domestic and imported on draft. For those not so ambitious when it comes to the culinary exploration, there are always some more traditional dishes on the menu like chicken and burgers.
Here you will find a vast selection of Italian restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving succulent Osso Bucco or delicious Pasta we have an Italian style restaurant to suit your pallet. Most of our Italian restaurants are casual elegance in a relaxed atmosphere. Plates are served with a the utmost of care, they are both a feast for the eyes and pallet.
The Go Montreal Japanese restaurants section offers you the very best in Japanese cuisine Montreal has to serve up! Enjoy a large selection of exquisite sushi like California rolls, ebi maki and spicy salmon tartar or steak teriyaki and Kobe beef. Always delicious always fresh!
3343 des Sources, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, H9B 1Z8
Montreal Restaurants: Market Cuisine
Always fresh always fresh from the market! Welcome to the Montreal Market cuisine section. These restaurants will generally use regional products that you can pick up at the local market. These restaurants will surprise you with their extensive menu of local produce.
Mediterranean cuisine is characterized by its flexibility, its range of ingredients and its many regional variations i.e., Greece, Southern Italy. The cuisine has evolved over the years and shares common principals amongst regions. Some of these include grilled fish, meats, fresh produce, olive oil and cheese. How the Mediterranean restaurants in this section blend them together and serve them up is quite unique to each one.
This Montreal Mexican restaurants section offers restaurants with traditional dishes. Some of the dishes would include such varied ingredients as; chilies, herbs, beans, tomatoes, nopales, rice, beef, pork, chicken, garlic, fish, jicama, maize, avocado, sapote just to name a few and delicious dishes like Cerviche a Mexican coastal delicacy which is white fish marinated in lime juice and prepared with ripe tomatoes, onions and coriander.
Restaurant Shahi Palace
4773 des Sources, Dollard-Des-Ormeaux H8X 3C6
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Portuguese restaurants to choose from. If you are looking for a varied menu, Portuguese food varies from region to region like Mediterranean, and fresh fish and shellfish like lobsters, shrimp, oysters, and crabs. are found on virtually every menu.
The perfect spots to go for lunch, dinner or for a night of lively music. Most of our pubs serve up traditional put fair like, meat pies, pickled eggs and of course a large selection of beers domestic and imported on draft. For those not so ambitious when it comes to the culinary exploration, there are always some more traditional dishes on the menu like chicken and burgers.
1635 Ste-Catherine O. Montreal, Qc H3H 1L8
Russian cuisine is delicious and varied. Most Montreal Russian restaurants offer the more traditional dishes like Borcsh –a soup made of beet and meat, usually served with sour cream and very delicious. Many of the foods that are considered in the West to be traditionally Russian actually come from the Franco-Russian cuisine of the 18th and 19th centuries, and include such widespread dishes as Veal Orloff, Beef Stroganoff, and Chicken Kiev.
2171 Crescent, Montreal, Qc H3G 2C1
Montreal is definitely not lacking a great selection of Seafood restaurants to choose from. With all the great seafood suppliers in the city, importing it on a daily basis from the East Coast from Halifax to N.Y. it is no wonder it is always fresh, fresh, fresh! In addition Montreal seafood restaurants are very varied, you can buy it by the pound at some of our Greek restaurants, straight up with drawn butter from our Montreal seafood restaurants or surf and turf style at one of our fine dining or grill restaurants. No matter how you enjoy your seafood, smoked, steamed, grilled or fried you will find what you’re looking for in this seafood section.
Montreal is known for its fantastic steak house restaurants! Most restaurants also have an extensive wine list to enjoy with your meal. Dress code is mainly casual elegance and prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, depending on ambiance, atmosphere and extra’s offered. These steak house restaurants serve up grilled or broiled meats including, filet mignon, rib eye steak, sirloin steak, chops and even offer a good selection of fish and shell fish for those more interested in surf not turf! Montreal steak house restaurants are very popular for locals and tourists alike to we strongly advise you to reserve in advance!
The Go Montreal Living Sushi restaurants section offers you the very best in Sushi cuisine Montreal has to serve up! Enjoy a large selection of exquisite sushi like California rolls, ebi maki and spicy salmon tartar or shrimp tempura and Kobe beef. Always delicious always fresh!
Here you will find a vast selection of Montréal Swiss restaurants to choose from. Whether you are looking for fabulous restaurants serving cheese fondue and chocolate fondue or succulent veal dishes Go Montreal Living will have a Swiss restaurant to suit your pallet.
Drinking wine is ideal for a night out in Montreal with friends or equally on a date. However, while almost every Montreal bar and restaurant offers wine by the bottle or glass they may lack the necessary wine first atmosphere. The best Montreal wine bars combine atmosphere with an in-depth knowledge about wine. Below is our pick of the best Montréal wine bars to get you started. Be prepared to enjoy a rich menu to accompany your wine, tapas, mezze and good company.
5245 St-Laurent Montréal, Qc, H2T 1S4
12505 Côte de Liesse Dorval, Qc, H9P 1B7
The bar area is at once avant-garde yet warm, facing an impressive wall of wines selected by the house sommelier that are imported from private wineries and tasted by the two maîtres d’hôtel before being allotted a spot on the prestigious wall.
My dining companions and I ordered from the well-priced lunchtime table d’hôte ($20) and began with an array of appetizers: a deliciously fresh crab and celeriac rémoulade that wasn’t overly seasoned, with generous chunks of crab meat; a beautifully presented three-beet salad that was finely diced with onion and lightly tossed in a squash and caper sauce—it was perfectly textured with just the right amount of crunch before melting away; and a parsnip and potato soup-of-the-day that was creamy and rich, but featured pleasant bits of vegetable texture to add a hearty feel.
For the main courses, we enjoyed the bavette de boeuf and the wrapped salmon. Again, Verses proved the adage true that one “eats first with their eyes”; the grilled flank of beef was served, artistically presented on a bed of Swiss chard with a side of molten regional Oka cheese in which lay a fan of potato wedges. The beef was cooked to perfection as requested and the chef allowed the cut’s natural flavors to come through by keeping it simple without excessive saucing or seasoning. For the wine, our server suggested the red Barolo Fonatanafredda 2004, which rounded out the beef dish nicely. The salmon was enveloped in a crispy goat cheese phyllo wrap and served with honey butter-coated bok-choy and confit potatoes. It was one of the best flavor pairings I’d experienced in some time. As an accompaniment to the fish, the suggested wine was the white Sancerre Château de Sancerre 2008 Marnier Lapostolle, well-priced at $14/glass. It subtly enhanced the fish without being overpowering.
For dessert we ordered the crème brûlée, the molten chocolate cake with a sorbet-size scoop of banana ice cream, and the almond cake with honey ice cream. The crème brûlée was the perfect portion size, with a pleasingly crunchy caramelized crust that gave way to a creamy, silky cream below. The chocolate dessert …how to describe it? The cake was like a chocolate bar, only softer; one bite and it melts away, causing you to chase it with another forkful. The accompanying banana ice cream was a refreshingly light burst of flavor that balanced out the richness of the cake. Lastly, the almond cake was moist and flavorful, with the slight bitterness of the almond countered by the lightly sweet honey ice cream.
Not to be forgotten during the warmer months is the Verses Sky rooftop terrace, featuring spectacular views of Old Montreal on one side and the Vieux Port (Old Port) on the other. It’s the perfect place for a light lunch or dinner, or simply to relax with a drink at the end of a long day indoors.
Montreal restaurants ins and outs
To keep up with Montreal restaurant-goers fickle palettes and dining demands, the restaurant industry has had to continuously adapt to meet customer’s changing needs. As a result, new Montreal restaurant trends are constantly emerging and changing the dining landscape. Below are some trends that are emerging in 2009.
Speed is no longer for just fast-food restaurants. Customers want their orders ready five minutes ago! Many customers already call ahead to restaurants for pick-up to eliminate any waiting. Some Montreal restaurants are taking speed to the next level by enabling customers to place orders via text-messaging and web-enabled payment methods. Some table-service restaurants, not wanting to lose out because of speed, have started packaging orders and delivering it to their customers.
Niche Montreal restaurants focus on a particular food and develop different and unique ways of serving it while simultaneously creating a brand around the specific product. While some of the food might seem ordinary, how these restaurants differentiate the product is by reinventing it. Upcoming niche concepts include–
- Frozen yogurt –
- Cupcakes – decadent flavors and assorted icings
- Hot chocolate – infused with chilies or other spices
- Raw seafood bars – serving rare delicacies
- Cheese – specialty flavors from around the world paired with wines
- Beer – brewed in-house or internationally imported
- Healthy and Ethical Products
Government regulation and consumer advocacy are driving forces behind the shift in the industry towards healthy eating. Since this trend has emerged, changes already in progress include eliminating trans fats, artificial colors, excessive salt and anything ‘unnatural’ out of ingredient lists for both quick service and table service establishments. Some Montreal restaurants are also opting to use local and ethically sourced foods in menu items, favoring ingredients which are certified organic and touting this on menus. In addition, some Montreal restaurants are providing its patrons with biodegradable and recyclable products as part of the dining experience.
Restaurant kid menus
The push for healthy eating at Montreal restaurants is not just for adults. Parents want kid-sized portions of regular menu items available, instead of the current greasy options found on kids-menus. With more families dining out, offering a kid-sized option might determine which establishments will dominate the family dining segment of the industry.
One size doesn’t fit all
In addition to kids-sized portions, adults also want to choose their own portion size. Since not everyone has the same appetite, many Montreal restaurants are starting to offer entrees in a range of sizes – small, medium or large.
Chocolate with Your Fries?
With so many restaurants in the market, owners and chefs alike are looking to differentiate themselves and offer their patrons a unique eating experience. As a result, many restaurants are experiencing concept overhauls where chefs are redesigning their food and menu offering, pairing unlikely ingredients together like sweet and savory. How does foie gras and chocolate ice cream sound? Does chocolate infused duck wet your appetite?
The price and availability of prime real-estate is forcing many restaurant owners in the quick and table service industry to open shop outside the traditional venues of downtown or in tourist areas. Quick service restaurants are opening in unexpected locations like airports, campuses, or office buildings. Table-service restaurants are opening off the main streets and in developing neighborhoods. While traffic might be slower in these locations, owners can focus on developing the brand while saving on rent and having reduced competition.
Only time will tell how these emerging trends fair in the restaurant industry. One certainty is if customers don’t like anything, they’ll take their business and money elsewhere forcing restaurant owners to seek out new trends.
Pairing your wine with the perfect out door Montreal grill:
For the Montrealer, a holiday barbecue means it's beer time. Teetotalers stick with soda, lemonade, or iced tea. Maybe some margaritas; daiquiris don't hurt either. But few people seem to think of wine when they fire up the grill. What a shame! There's something about the outdoor setting, the atavistic pleasure of an open fire, and the masculine image of the grill that, for too many people, says this is no time to be putting on airs and fooling with wine glasses. But wine should never have become associated with pretense in the first place, and wine can be the perfect accompaniment to a Montreal barbecue and not so filling as beer, nor so potentially embarrassing as multiple margaritas.
For red wine lovers of Montreal:
Anything coated in barbecue sauce, with its smoky, spicy, and typically sweet flavors, admittedly poses a challenge for wine pairings. A young, bold, fruity and spicy red wine, such as Zinfandel, American Syrah or Aussie Shiraz, or a French Côtes du Rhone should stand up to the barbecue flavors--Zinfandel, being from Montreal myself with the French influent maybe a St. Emillion, for Dollard des Arm day. Chianti and Barbera, with their higher acidity, will also handle tomato-based sauces
Grilled meats, like steak, can work with a wider range of reds, including young Cabernets. And hamburgers should be fine with just about any red wine--just pick your favorite (although I wouldn't suggest opening anything too old or complex--the wine's subtleties will probably be lost). Beaujolais, just slightly chilled, is a popular choice.
There's one hitch with red wines, though: come barbecue season, in most of the Canada, it's too hot. In hot weather, red wines lose their aromas, seem flabby on the palate, and aren't refreshing. Moreover, spicy foods cry out for a mouth-cooling beverage, which is one reason beer is so popular.
Two Montreal cool solutions:
Crisp, intensely aromatic high-acid white wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc, work very well with grilled flavors. Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes called Fumé Blanc) is great with grilled vegetables and shrimp, and is the best wine with tomatoes. Off-dry (slightly sweet) Rieslings and Gewurztraminers should pair nicely with spicier and sweeter barbecue flavors. Chardonnay, however, is probably not your best bet.
Or, try my current, all-purpose barbecue favorite: dry rosé, a summertime treat. Good rosés combine the crispness and refreshment of white wine (serve chilled) with unusual and intriguing flavors--some of the red fruits typical of red wine, but also notes of tea, orange rind, strawberries and--aptly--watermelon. Look for rosés from the southern Rhone, Languedoc, and Provence in France, Rioja in Spain, or such American examples as Bonny Doon's Vin Gris de Cigare or Zaca Mesa's Z Gris. Too long out of fashion because of their association with cheap, sweet blush wines, rosés are for me perfect summer wines.
As for those blush wines, if they are what you enjoy, don't let anyone stop you. Some say White Zinfandel is the ultimate wine for hot dogs!
Pairing what works for you?
Texture: Match “power with power;” light-textured food balances better with lighter-bodied wines, while heavier dishes demand fuller-bodied wine. It’s not just the amount of alcohol or kinds of flavors involved; mouthfeel plays an important role.
Cooking methods: Poaching, searing, grilling – each method changes the intensity of the dish and emphasizes different textures and flavors; knee-jerk pairings deserve reconsideration when a different cooking method comes into play.
Complement or Contrast: A contrasting wine – high-acid white with a richer dish – cleanses the palate and invigorates the appetite; a bigger wine which complements the richness makes for a meditation from one bite to the next.
Dominant Flavor: The protein is not always the dominant flavor in a dish; keep the sauce – especially traditional, high-in-fat sauces – in mind when you’re choosing the wine.
Keeping wine in order: Whether alone or with food, you’ll get the most out of your wine drinking if you keep some things in order; otherwise the wines may suffer in comparison of their predecessors. So:
- Dry wine before sweet wine
- Lower alcohol before higher alcohol
- Sparkling wines before still wines
- Younger wines before older wines
- Light wines before full-bodied wines
Finally, when you order a bottle of wine to go with a multi-course meal – or when everyone has ordered something different – keep an eye out for crossover wines – wines that can pair with two or three different dishes. New World Sauvignon Blanc, Indigenous Italian whites, California Pinot Noir, and Southern Italian reds are all good examples of versatility.
I hope this will help on your next culinary adventure!
Food for thought
put down the coffee and try a tea after dinner while dining out at a Montreal restaurants.
Tea is the most popular drink in the world. Tea comes from an evergreen shrub which grows in subtropical climates. The Chinese have been drinking ‘cha’ for more than 2000 years and was introduced into the UK in 1644 and followed there after to North America.
Most Montreal restaurants boast a good selection of teas from around the world,
And it is worth exploring the varies frangrances and tastes.
In the past few years, it has been said that drinking cups of tea was unhealthy. Now scientists believe that drinking four to six cups of tea could help protect our bodies from a host of illnesses.
They have discovered that tea has an abundance of phytonutrients, also found in fruit and vegetables, which are antioxidants that defend against cell damage that leads to ageing and diseases such as diabetes, cataracts, heart disease and cancer. The antioxidant activity of tea is more powerful than that found in most fruit and vegetables.
- The Ancient Greeks used tea to treat asthma, colds and bronchitis.
- In 19th century Russia, tea was prescribed to strengthen the digestive and nervous system, blood vessels and heart.
- In the 1940’s, American researchers discovered that tannin compounds in tea had antibacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Tea supplies almost half of an average person’s intake of mangaese, a mineral necessary for healthy joints.
- Teas are rich in fluorides which may help prevent tooth decay.
- A cup of tea after lunch could help digestion.
So get brewing!
Fabulous Montreal Restaurants (continued)
In addition, you can eat well at any price, from the local diner restaurant specializing in smoked meat to the upscale, fine eateries where feeling at home is always on the menu. Here are a few suggestions on everything from selecting your restaurant, ordering the wine, and deciding on the tip. We hope you enjoy your visit!
Beyond sampling and approving wine, asking for a description of a dish your uncertain of, asking for wine recommendations, knowing to work from the outside in with cutlery or tipping 15-20% there are little nuances to dining out in Montreal restaurants that can make an important occasion or meeting go more smoothly and enjoyably.
Always make reservations when going out to dine in Montreal restaurants, to name the number in your party and make any specific inquiries about menu, prices, special access or arrangements in advance. This will allow you to avoid disappointment and have some advance knowledge of the menu before you go to the restaurant. It might be important to you that the meal ends with port and a cheese selection. So, don't wait until the moment arrives only to find nothing of the sort is offered. Many of our reviews include samples of what is offered on the menu and you can always ask the restaurant to fax you a wine list or sample menu.
Montreal restaurant diners tend to find the pairing of wines with their food the most perplexing task when eating out. However, this part of dinner should prove simple armed with a bit of knowledge.
First you should remember that we are not all expected to be wine experts. A good Montreal restaurant will have waiters that understand the restaurant’s wine offerings and will often have the services of a sommelier (wine expert) at your disposal. Make use of these people! Experts love nothing more than to be asked for their advice and will usually provide it in spades, in a range of prices. If you have a particular price in mind you might point out an example on the wine list and ask if that seems like a good choice. The wait staff will immediately get your drift and find a selection in your range.
If you prefer to order on your own that's fine. Keep the following classical rules in mind: Dry white wines pair well with seafood and dry red wines are a standard accompaniment to meat dishes. Also, rich wines go with rich foods in either category and lighter wines pair best with lighter foods. So, for example, you are have ordered steak au poivre (steak with pepper sauce). You would want a rich red like a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you are having Shrimp Newburg (a richly sauced seafood dish) you would want a Chardonnay. In the whites a Sauvignon Blanc would match a simple poached fish dish and in the reds a Merlot would suit a simple veal dish.
Finally, a few more simple rules will make you comfortable in Montreal restaurants. Order with authority and confidence. Hence, even if it's a shot in the dark, you may have made a serendipitous choice and your partners will applaud your savvy. On the other hand, if the choice is less than perfect, your guests might assume they have yet to have acquired your superior taste! Secondly, don't order the most expensive wines on the list or the cheapest. In a good restaurant, the wines will all have been selected with care. You can assume that most of them will be decent. Price is never an assurance of quality. Thirdly, avoid Burgundy wine because of the great variability in quality from year to year and from one winery to the next. Cabernet Sauvignons are fairly consistent in quality and the Bordeaux's are good selections for a mature wine. American Pinot Noirs are almost foolproof choices.
Amongst the fortified and dessert wines you will find Vermouth, Sherry, Port, Marsal and Madeira. So, when would you order these? Vermouth on ice or blended with ice is most often an aperitif to go with an appetizer. A good selection here is Noilly Pratt. Sherry is an ideal wine for Tapas (Spanish), or any sort of appetizer. Sherry can also be served after dinner, like a Port, with cheese or just coffee. Port is classically served with Stilton cheese and walnuts and the end of a meal. Port is traditionally served with Stilton cheese. Stilton and other blue cheeses set up a counterpoint of complementary textures and flavors, but cheeses like Cheddar and Glouster are also good. In addition, walnuts, chestnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts help bring out the best in Port. Desserts based on strawberries, raspberries, cherries, currants or similarly full-flavored fruits, are a natural ally of Port. Marsala is a fortified Italian wine similar to Port and can be used in much the same way as can Madeira. Don't be afraid to experiment!
So you've wined and dined at Montreal’s best restaurant and now the bill arrives. How much should you tip? Quebec wait staff are taxed on their income from tips regardless of whether or not they actually receive them. Keeping that in mind, a regular tip is 15% of the bill before tax. Excellent or exceptional service can be tipped at 20%. A tip can be reduced by a few percentage points for a bill inflated by alcohol due to the fact that alcohol service does not represent a great deal of extra work for the wait staff. It is always unfair to avoid tipping or leaving just a token amount. If you are angry or upset with some aspect of the service you should speak to the staff. Never penalize wait staff for things that might have annoyed you but were not their fault.
Bon apetit & enjoy your stay!
Eating Well in Montreal (continued)
by Andrea Zanin
In 1642, French settlers, led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve with the help of Jeanne Mance, founded Ville Marie in the area now known as the Old Port of Montreal. The colony came under British rule in 1760. In the first half of the 19th century, waves of immigrants arrived from England , Scotland and Ireland , and Montreal enjoyed a brief stint as the capital of Canada . By 1870, our port city was a thriving centre for culture and industry, and this has continued ever since.
It’s hard to pinpoint when restaurants started to take their place as an integral part of Montreal culture. But some of the highlights are easy to trace, particularly since some of our most well loved places have been around for 80 years or more.
Montreal delicatessens got their start when Ben and Franny Kravitz opened Ben’s Delicatessen in 1908; it moved to its current retro-style digs on the corner of Maisonneuve and Metcalfe in the 1950s. In 1919, Isadore Shlafman opened Montreal ’s first bagel bakery, which moved from Saint-Laurent Boulevard to Fairmount Street in 1949. Today, Isadore’s grandchildren still make their famous bagels in the traditional wood stove at Fairmount Bagels in that same spot. In 1927, Myer Dunn founded Dunn’s Famous Restaurant, a Montreal institution known for sandwiches stacked high with smoked meat. His grandson Elliot Kligman still runs the place.
Though the city of Montreal certainly felt the Great Depression in 1929, legal drinking and a scintillating nightlife made Montreal a destination of choice throughout the American Prohibition from 1920 to 1933. (Quebec’s version of the Prohibition lasted just a year, from 1918 to 1919!) Montreal nightclubs enjoyed their heyday from 1925 to 1955, and restaurants played an integral part of the scene along with vaudeville acts and jazz music.
1933 saw the inauguration of two public markets, Atwater and Jean-Talon, which among others are still thriving today. Everyday shoppers and restaurant chefs alike surf there for fresh produce and treats du terroir, including Quebec ’s wide variety of specialty cheeses. Montrealers have come to expect our restaurants to serve only the freshest food; Alouette Steakhouse (1176 Ste-Catherine West, Montreal), for example, has been thriving since 1948 on its reputation for succulent steaks and delicious seafood.
In 1967, Montreal hosted Expo 67, a major world cultural fair that saw 50 million people flood the city over six months. This of course gave an enormous boost to the city’s restaurant industry, and some of the resulting establishments are still going strong today—among others, Alexandre et fils (1454 Peel, Montreal), a French restaurant created by Alain Creton, who became a chef at 19 and still greets customers at the door today.
Some of Montreal’s best food can be found in the small, single-location restaurants that line the Main and pepper the Plateau, not to mention nestling in every conceivable nook and cranny of every neighbourhood in the city.
Montreal has seen many influxes of immigrants over the past century, from Jewish war survivors in the 1940s and 50s to Chinese, African, Caribbean, Lebanese, Greek, Italian and Portuguese populations at various other times, to name just a few. Today, you can hear dozens of languages spoken on the streets, and the city is full of cultural institutions, bookstores, specialty food shops—and of course, restaurants—that both reflect and cater to the resulting cultural diversity. Enjoy delicious Greek on Prince Arthur Street , Italian in the North (such as Roberto’s on Bélanger), Japanese on the Plateau, Mexican in the Old Port , and Ethiopian and Afghani downtown, just for starters. The variety is mind-boggling—from steaming 99-cent pizza at street-corner dives to funky vegan eateries (check out Café Blue Monday in Verdun) to five-star dining at the Casino.
French cuisine is of course easy to find too, from lovely crêperies in the Old Port and Mile End (try Une Crêpe?) to delicious chocolateries all over the city to gourmet spots downtown (check out Le Paris at 1812 Ste-Catherine West, Montreal). The European tradition of open-air terrasses during the warmer months is alive and well, and some say that our current trendy gourmet coffee culture found its beginnings here also—not hard to believe given our huge number of artsy cafés and bistros.
Today’s Montreal restaurant scene is second only to New York City in number of restaurants per capita in North America . With a rich history and a flourishing present, our Montreal restaurant scene is well worth discovering for yourself!
Restaurants the beginning
The public dining room that came ultimately to be known as the restaurant originated in France, and the French have continued to make major contributions to the restaurant's development ever since.
It would at first seem that restaurants have been around since time in memorial. But not so. Although for 100's of years it is true that beverages were sold at inns and hostelries and guests staying overnight were often offered meals from whatever the host was dining on; from the host's table, not considered a restaurants in those days (from which we get the culinary term 'table d'hôte' menu). It was not until 1765 that restaurants as we know them came in being.
So what about all the famous chefs we learn about before that date, well they didn’t work in restaurants? They were under the employment of the rich, of royalty or of the landed gentry. Before the French Revolution, European aristocratic households maintained elaborate establishments, offering the best cuisine by employing the best of chefs: the richer the household the better the chefs. But when the Revolution reduced the number of private households offering employment, chefs and cooks had to find employment in other kitchens or looked to open their own eating establishments, thus the birth of the restaurant.
Also up to this point, many foods and even dishes were very strictly controlled by certain Guilds, who governed what, who and how these dishes could be served etc and even took part payment for the selling of these dishes. A system that may seem foreign to our modern way of culinary thinking, but this remember was another age, an era waiting for the next progression, the restaurant. Think of it as how music is governed and ruled by copyright these days.
The first true restaurant proprietor is believed to have been one Monsieur A.Boulanger; a soup vendor. Who in 1765 opened his restaurants business on the Rue Bailleul, in Paris. The sign above his door advertised restoratives, referring to the restaurants soups and broths available within, believed to be made from pigs or sheep's feet which would have been a cheap, nutritious food source. So what we now know as 'restaurants' took their name from that sign that was actually advertising what the restaurant was selling, not 'where' as it is today. The word or variation of it now denotes any public eating place (restaurant), whether it is in English, French, and Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Romanian and many other languages. Most countries use a version of the word; in Spanish and Portuguese the word becomes 'restaurante', in Italian it is 'ristorante', in Swedish it is 'restaurang', in Russian it becomes restoran and in Polish - 'restauracia'.
Boulanger's restaurants was probably the first public place where any diner might order a meal from a menu offering a choice of dishes. Boulanger operated a very modest establishment and the book 'Larousse Gastronomique' tells us that Members of the guilds were up in arms over this new restaurant and saw it as an infringement on their business and declared Boulanger was making a 'ragout' or stew in his restaurants which the 'Guild de Traiteurs' had the only legal right to produce. Boulanger's establishment was shut down and was taken to court. Monsieur Boulanger won his case in court, and so the modern restaurant concept was born, it is believed.
Monsieur Boulanger re-opened his restaurants, continued serving his ragout but also prepared other dishes on site and to order. The restaurant customer at the end of his meal now got a bill from him only with no payment required to the Guilds.
It was not until 1782 however, that the first true luxury restaurant was opened and by 1804 Paris had more than 500 restaurants, producing most of the great chefs of the time and of history, thus creating many famous dishes and a cuisine that ruled the world and are still served in many restaurants around the world still today.
That first true luxury restaurants was 'La Grande Taverne de Londres'; founded in Paris in 1782 the owner was one Antoine Beauvilliers. Beauvilliers was a leading culinary writer and gastronomic authority of the time, who later wrote what became a standard work on French cuisine: L'Art du Cuisinier (1814).
Beauvilliers achieved a reputation as an accomplished restaurateur and host. The famous French gastronomic chronicler Jean-Athelme Brillat-Savarin, a frequent guest, credited Beauvilliers with being the first to combine the three essentials of elegant restaurants: smart waiters, a great wine cellar and superior cooking. Brillat-Savarin also noted that Beauvilliers would point out a dish to be avoided, the one to be ordered and send at the same time for wine from the cellar, the key of which he produced from his own pocket. He had such a gracious and engaging tone, that all these extras and attention to detail made his restaurant very popular.
French restaurants of the 19th century
During the Napoleonic era the Palais-Royal, the tree-lined area adjacent to the Louvre, became the site of many of the finest restaurants in Paris. The menu of the Véry, a leading restaurant of the era listed:
**one dozen soups
**two dozen fish dishes
**fifteen beef entrées
**twenty mutton entrées, and scores of side dishes.
The novelist Honoré de Balzac often dined at the Véry, and is said to have consumed hugh amounts of oysters, fish, meat dishes, fruits, wines and liqueurs. It was also favorite haunt of gourmet-author Grimod de la Reynière, who considered it the finest restaurant in France. The Véry was absorbed in 1869 by the neighboring Le Grand Véfour; this restaurant was still in business in the mid-1990s and was still regarded as one of the finest restaurants in France.
Another outstanding Paris restaurant of the 19th century was the Café Foy, later re-named Chez Bignon, a favorite dining place of the English novelist William Makepeace - Thackeray and of the Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini, who lived in the same building.
The Café de Paris, on the Boulevard des Italiens, was the first of many restaurants in Paris and elsewhere that have operated under this name. Other favorite restaurants were:
** Restaurant Rocher de Cancale, on the rue Montorgueil, famous for its oysters and fish
**Restaurant Durand, at the corner of the Place de la Madeleine and the Rue de Royale, a favorite restaurant of politicians, artists, and writers, including the authors Anatole France and Émile Zola
The most illustrious of all 19th-century Paris restaurants was probably the Café Anglais, on the Boulevard des Italiens at the corner of the Rue Marivaux, where the chef was Adolphe Dugléré He created such classic dishes such as sole Dugléré (fillets poached with tomatoes and served with a cream sauce having a fish stock base) and the famous sorrel soup potage Germiny. On June 7, 1867, the Café Anglais served the now-famous "Three Emperors Dinner" for three royal guests visiting Paris to attend the Universal Exposition. The diners included Tsar Alexander II of Russia; his son the Tsarevich (later the tsar Alexander III); and King William I of Prussia, later the first emperor of Germany. The meal included
**soufflés with creamed chicken (à la reine)
**fillets of sole
**chicken à la Portugaise (cooked with tomatoes, onions, and garlic)
**lobster à la parisienne (round, flat medallions glazed with a gelatine-mayonnaise mixture and elaborately decorated)
**ducklings à la rouennaise (the carcasses stuffed with liver and pressed, presented on a platter with boned slices of the breast and the grilled legs and served with a red wine sauce containing pureed liver)
**ortolans (small game birds) on toast and eight different wines.
Although the restaurant Café Anglais closed in 1913, when the building was demolished the table setting for this restaurant was displayed at La Tour d'Argent, the oldest surviving restaurant in Paris.
Toward the end of the 19th century, in the gaudy and extravagant era known as 'la belle époque', the luxurious Maxim's, on the Rue de Royale, became the social and culinary centre of Paris. The restaurant temporarily declined after World War I, but recovered under new management, to become an outstanding gastronomic shrine
Of course during this time period, restaurants were now springing up all over Europe. Most were still only for the gentry, but time and natural evolution was to later see the development of restaurants, of eating establishments for the 'common man'.
France however was still the centre of fine cuisine and was to produce many of the world's finest chefs, including Georges-Auguste Escoffier, who organized the kitchens for the luxury hotels owned by César Ritz, developing what we now call the brigade de cuisine, or kitchen brigade; consisting of highly trained experts each with clearly defined duties. These teams included a chef, or gros bonnet, (large hat) in charge of the kitchen; a sauce chef (often the deputy or sous chef); an Entremetier; in charge of preparation of soups, vegetables, and sweet courses; a Rôtisseur to prepare roasts and fried or grilled meats; and the Gardemanger; in charge of all supplies and cold dishes. In Escoffier's time, the duties and responsibilities of each functionary were sharply defined, but now in modern times, rising labor costs and the need for faster service have broken down such rigidly defined duties. In the kitchens of even the leading modern restaurants, duties at the peak of the dinner-hour preparations are likely to overlap widely, with efficiency maintained amid seeming chaos and confusion.
French restaurants in the 20th century
In the 20th century, with the development of the automobile, country restaurants became popular in France, and a number of fine provincial restaurants were established. The Restaurant de la Pyramide, in Vienne, regarded by many as the world's finest restaurant, was founded by Fernand Point and after his death, in 1955, retained its high standing under the direction of his widow, Madame "Mado" Point. Other leading French provincial restaurants have included the Troisgros in Roanne; the Paul Bocuse Restaurant near Lyon; the Auberge de l'Ill in Illhaeusern, Alsace; and the hotel Côte d'Or, at Saulieu.
Originally, selected restaurants throughout France were evaluated annually by the Guide Michelin, a publication devoted to surveying eating establishments and hotels in more than 3,400 towns and cities. Awarding one, two or three stars, based upon quality. This has now grown to restaurants world wide.
French restaurants today are usually in one of three categories: the bistro or brasserie; a simple, informal and inexpensive establishment; the medium-priced restaurant and the more elegant grand restaurant, where the most intricate dishes are executed and served in luxurious surroundings.
Non French restaurants
Other nations have of course also made many significant contributions to the development of restaurants.
Restaurants of Italy
The botteghe (coffee shop) of Venice originated in the 16th century, at first serving coffee only, later adding snacks. The modern trattorie, or taverns, feature local specialties. The osterie, or hostelries, are informal restaurants offering home-style cooking. In Florence small restaurants below street level, known as the buca, serve whatever foods the host may choose to cook on a particular day.
Restaurants of Austria
Coffeehouses offer leisurely, complete meals, and the diner may linger to sip coffee, read a newspaper or even to write an article. Many Austrians frequent their own "steady restaurants," known as 'Stammbeissl'.
Restaurants of Hungary
The csárda, a country highway restaurant, offers menus usually limited to meat courses and fish stews.
Restaurants of Czechezlovakia
the beer halls of the Czech Republic, especially in Prague, are similar to coffeehouses elsewhere. Food is served, with beer replacing coffee.
Restaurants of Germany
The Weinstube is an informal restaurant featuring a large wine selection, and the Weinhaus, a food and wine shop where customers may also dine, offers a selection of foods ranging from delicatessen fare to full restaurant menus. The Schenke is an estate-tavern or cottage pub serving wine and food. In the cities a similar establishment is called the Stadtschenke.
Restaurants of Spain
The bars and cafés of Madrid offer widely varied appetizers, called tapas, including such items as shrimp cooked in olive oil with garlic, meatballs with gravy and peas, salt cod, eels, squid, mushrooms, and tuna fish. The tapas are taken with sherry, and it is a popular custom to go on a chateo, or tour of bars, consuming large quantities of tapas and sherry at each bar. Spain also features the marisco bar, or marisquería, a seafood bar; the asadoro, a Catalan rotisserie; and the tasca, or pub-wineshop.
Restaurants of Portugal
Cervejarias are popular beer parlors also offering shellfish. Fado taverns serve grilled sausages and wine, accompanied by the plaintive Portuguese songs called fados (meaning "fate").
Restaurants of Scandinavia
Sandwich shops offer open-faced, artfully garnished sandwiches called smørrebrød. Swedish restaurants feature the smörgåsbord, which literally means "bread and butter table" but actually is a lavish, beautifully arranged feast of herring, shrimp, pickles, meatballs, fish, salads, cold cuts, and hot dishes, served with aquavit or beer.
Restaurants of The Netherland's
Holland has sandwich shops, called broodjeswinkels, serving open-faced sandwiches, seafood’s, hot and cold dishes, and cheeses from a huge table.
Restaurants of England
English city and country pubs traditionally have three kinds of bars: the public bar, the saloon and the private bar. Everyone is welcome in the public bar or saloon, but the private bar is restricted to habitués of the pub. Pub food varies widely through England, ranging from sandwiches and soups to pork pies, veal and ham pies, steak and kidney pies, bangers (sausages) and a pint (beer), bangers and mash (potatoes), toad in the hole (sausage in a Yorkshire pudding crust), and Cornish pasties, or pies filled with meat and vegetables.
Restaurants of Japan
Characteristic of Japan are sushi bar restaurants that serve sashimi (raw fish slices) and sushi (fish or other ingredients with vinegared rice) at a counter. Other food bars serve such dishes as noodles and tempura (deep-fried shrimp and vegetables). Yudofu restaurants build their meals around varieties of tofu (bean curd), and the elegant tea houses serve formal Kaiseki table d'hôte meals.
Restaurants of China
Restaurants serving the local cuisine are found, and noodle shops offer a wide variety of noodles and soups. The dim-sum shops provide a never-ending supply of assorted steamed, stuffed dumplings and other steamed or fried delicacies.
A common sight in most parts of Asia is a kind of portable restaurant, operated by a single person or family from a wagon or litter, set up at a particular street location, where specialties are cooked on the spot. The yakiemo and yakieka(Baked potato and baked squid) peddlers that prowl the streets looking for custom can still be found in parts of Japan. Taiwan also has its share of peddlers selling anything from corn on the cob marinated in soy sauce through to fried tofu and chicken feet.
Middle Eastern restaurants
In the tavérnas of Greece, customers are served such beverages as retsina, a resinated wine, and ouzo, an aniseed-flavored aperitif, while they listen to the music of the bouzouki. Like other Mediterranean countries, Greece has the grocery-tavérna where one can buy food or eat.
The Turkish 'Iskembeci' is a restaurant featuring tripe soup and other tripe dishes; muhallebici shops serve boiled chicken and rice in a soup and milk pudding.
North American contributions:
The cafeteria, an American contribution to the restaurant's development, originated in San Francisco during the 1849 gold rush. Featuring self-service, it offers a wide variety of foods displayed on counters. The customer makes his selections, paying for each item as he chooses it or paying for the entire meal at the end of the line. Other types of quick-eating places originating in the United States are the drugstore counter, serving sandwiches or other snacks; the lunch counter, where the diner is served a limited quick-order menu at the counter; and the drive-in, "drive-thru," or drive-up restaurant, where patrons are served in their automobiles. So-called fast-food restaurants, usually operated in chains or as franchises and heavily advertised, offer limited menus-typically comprising hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, or pizza and their complements-and also offer speed, convenience, and familiarity to diners who may eat in the restaurant or take their food home. Among fast-food names that have become widely known are White Castle (one of the first, originating in Wichita, Kan., in 1921), McDonald's (which grew from one establishment in Des Plaines, Ill., in 1955 to more than 15,000 internationally within 50 years), Kentucky Fried Chicken (founded in 1956), and Pizza Hut (1958).
Many school, work, and institutional facilities provide space for coin-operated vending machines that offer snacks and beverages.
The specialty restaurant, serving one or two special kinds of food, such as seafood or steak, is another distinctive original North American establishment. The Pullman car diner, serving full-course meals to long distance railroad passengers, and the riverboat steamers, renowned as floating gourmet palaces, were original American conceptions. They belong to an earlier age, when dining out was a principal social diversion, and restaurants tended to become increasingly lavish in food preparation, decor, and service.
In many modern restaurants, customers now prefer informal but pleasant atmosphere and fast service. The number of dishes available, and the elaborateness of their preparation, has been increasingly curtailed as labor costs have risen and the availability of skilled labor decreased. The trend is toward such efficient operations as fast-food restaurants, snack bars, and coffee shops. The trend in elegant and expensive restaurants is toward smaller rooms and intimate atmosphere, with authentic, highly specialized and limited menus.
I hope this helps the next time you are out at a Montreal restaurant and someone asks you,”I wonder how this whole concept got started?” Enjoy our Go Montreal Living restaurant section if you have any questions or additions to our sections please contact us.
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