Upon entering this atmospheric lounge (it’s too cool and timeless to be considered “trendy”), you’ll wonder whether you’ve stumbled into an ultra-hip eatery in a Parisian hotel. Welcome to Suite 701, located not in an arrondissement in Paris, but in the luxe Place d’Armes Hotel in the heart of Old Montreal. Both an indoor lounge and a seasonal rooftop terrace, it is the place to see and be seen…and enjoy forward-thinking adventures in food, drink, and ambiance. For the uninitiated, let this be your official introduction to “fooding”, a term coined by our Gallic counterparts that combines the terms “food” and “feeling”…in other words, it is the concept of food as a fashionable lifestyle choice, a concept that is as much about the restaurant’s style as the food. Featuring über-modern brasserie-style cuisine created by chefs Oliver de Volpi and Éric Kopp, inspired drinks conjured by on-site mixologists, and served with a side order of ultra-chill music from local DJs, Montreal’s answer to le fooding is a truly special experience.
The main lounge features sweeping swaths of sheer voile fabric framing the floor to ceiling arched windows that allow gently filtered light in the daytime, giving way to warmly seductive nighttime lighting, with candles flickering in beds of coffee beans atop the tables. The galley-style dining area features a welcoming mix of banquettes and tables, as well as an extra-long bar with an ambiance all its own. Food and beverage manager Valentin Van Beek discreetly oversees all facets of Suite 701’s operations, so to round out our own choices my dining partner and I asked for his recommendations on what to order. Our selections included tastings of fresh pasta and lobster Bolognaise, shrimp and chorizo brochettes, mushroom and truffle risotto, Energizer bunny “wings”, the “Kobe to Kamouraska” plate, and swordfish steak. In keeping with le fooding philosophy, the menu is changed frequently to keep ahead of the current. But while predictability is frowned upon at Suite 701, the one constant is that the flavours will be fresh and delicious. If what you had last time isn’t there on your next visit, rest assured that in its place is something equally succulent.
The fresh pasta and lobster Bolognaise replaced the usual beef-laden sauce with rich chunks of lobster, giving an innovative twist to an otherwise predictable pasta dish at other eateries. The freshly made pasta was perfectly al dente—a perfect palate for the succulent sauce. The shrimp and chorizo brochettes featured generously sized shrimps wrapped around an equally ample portion of chorizo sausage. It was a pretty dish—a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds—served with a deliciously smoky/lightly spicy chipotle hoisin mayonnaise. The flavors complemented each other beautifully. The mushroom and truffle risotto was both fresh and earthy, with the rice cooked to perfection and laced with truffle oil. The surprise of the day came with the Energizer bunny “wings”, which were in fact tender yet crispy rabbit legs (and not at all “gamey”) in an astonishing sauce of Red Bull (hence the “Energizer”) and maple syrup. My dining partner—initially hesitant—couldn’t stop eating them! The Kobe to Kamouraska plate served up culinary expedition that combined 3 mini Kobe beef burgers with Guinness cheese and a sweet onion marmalade with 3 mini Kamouraska lamb meatballs blended with Feta cheese and cumin, and served with homemade fries. Perfectly seasoned and interestingly concocted flavor pairings, this is the perfect sharing plate. Finally, the meaty swordfish steak was lightened with a not-too-sweet mango salsa and served with grilled vegetables and fresh coriander. Again, it was a lovely dish to behold, as well as eat, with pleasing colors and flavors. Also highly recommended: the shellfish emulsion crab cakes; a twist on a Quebec staple dish with the chef’s style poutine with beef steak, pepper, and cheese; their catch of the day fish & chips for a fantastic departure from the typical haddock; and their pan-seared fillet of salmon served on ratatouille with a fresh basil pesto. Not to be forgotten is Suite 701’s impressive and extensive wine list from their new, state-of-the art, on-site wine cellar. The increasingly popular concept of bottle service is also available for those who wish to order a full bottle of hard liquor for the evening.
On Wednesdays, enjoy the mesmerizing beat of a live Bossa Nova band. On this Brazilian-themed evening, enjoy exotic appetizers and cocktails and samba the night away. From 6:00 PM Thursdays and 10:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays, there is a live DJ setting just the right ambience for heading into the weekend. No pounding club sounds here—slick, sleek, and chic is the vibe at this lounge.
When the warmer weather arrives, Terrasse 701 comes to life. Featuring a Miami-style vibe, complete with white leather couches, cabanas, and low tables, it is the place to gather for an after-work cocktail. Divided into two floors (one is drinks only, while the other offers dining selections from the lounge menu), it is first-come, first served on Thursdays and Fridays—no reservations! It is available for private events for no additional fee, provided there is a minimum of 20 confirmed guests. A definite must-try: the sushi salad.
Suite 701 epitomizes the le fooding concept—it was a truly exceptional gastronomic and lifestyle experience from start to finish.
701 Côte de la Place d’Armes
Old Montreal, QC
Reservations recommended: 514.904.1201
VIP Room: Maximum 20 people, featuring breathtaking views of downtown, custom seating arrangements, and a plasma screen.
Breakfast: Daily, 6:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Urban Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Apéritivo Thursdays: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Wine & Cheese Happy Hour: Daily, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM