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Archive for the ‘Resto Reviews’ Category

This is my first negative review of a restaurant, and I feel sort of bad about giving bad publicity to any company. However, J and I were so disappointed with our dinner tonight, I felt like it’s a fair reason to write this post.

After a long day of walking around downtown in the cold, we rented some great foreign movies from Boite Noire and deciding on ordering in pizza for dinner. I have a long-standing devotion to Pizza Hut but sadly they don’t deliver to our neighbourhood, even though they insist on taunting me by sending flyers to our address every week. We also tried to order from Il Focolaio Pizza, near Square Phillips which I’ve heard many people swear makes some of the best pizza in town, but their phone number wasn’t working. Dodgy!

We ended up chosing Tomato: La boite à pizza, because we’ve walked by their terrasse on St. Denis a few times during the summer and it looked good, plus we had received their take-out menu in our mailbox.

I ordered a small Parmesan Reggiano-Anchois pizza with mushrooms, and J had the Mozzarelle fraîche-Champignons with fresh garlic. I wish I had taken pictures, because as soon as we opened our boxes we felt left-down. The crust was very thin, dry, a bit burnt, and tasted like cardboard, or like cheap toasted pita bread. The toppings were fine but not particularly abundant, with a very thin layer of cheese, and bland, averge tasting sauce. The pizzas themselves were also pretty small, and so after we finished eating we really didn’t feel satisfied. I think the main problem was the crust – it can really make or break a pizza, and this one not only broke the pizza, but our hearts. (Too cheesy?)

So needless to say, I don’t recommend this place, ever. Instead try anywhere else! My personal faves include Pizza Hut, Dominoe’s, Altos, Il Focolaio, or any cheap neighbourhood place.

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A frigid, -30 night (typical Montreal?) brought us to Bistro Cocagne on a recent Friday evening, in search of a warm atmosphere and delicious, nourishing food, and we were certainly not disappointed.

This intimate, attractive restaurant is located on St. Denis street, in the former location of renowned Montreal institution Toque. The space has been tranformed into a warm, elegant space with modern red walls, hard wood floors and accents, and soft lighting which creative an inviting mood, perfect for a romantic diner or an evening out with friends.

We chose the the $42 table d’hote menu which included an appetizer, main course and desert, all of which were delicious. As we often do, we both started with the same appetizer: Gnocchi de ricotta, escargots, purée de Sweet Mama, jus à la fleur d’ail. It was amazing – plenty of escargots, perfectly cooked gnocchi with just the right hint of cheese flavour, and a deliciously light sauce that was perfect for bread dipping.

For our entrees, I chose the special of the day which was seared scallops (6 medium sized ones, just the right amount for a satisfying portion), with bok choy, grilled mushrooms and a cauliflower mash. Outstanding. J ordered the Pièce d’agneau braisé, risotto de courge et épinard, jus de braisage, and it was equally good. The lamb was actually a very large portion (something I never complain about!) and extremely tender, while the risotto was cooked to perfection – not too mushy or heavy, and with a sauce that didn’t overpower the flavours.

For desert J had a dark chocolate creme brulee, and I had a daily special, which was a chocolate mousse with a light cake center and caramel sauce. Both were scrumptious.

The service was very friendly and attentive at the beginning of our meal, but became slow and ultimately a bit frustrating by the end of our evening, which was the only dark note in an otherwise perfect experience. Their sommelier suggested a fantastic white wine which we both enjoyed, and in general the staff was knowledgeable about the menu.

Overall I would highly recommend this restaurant. Fudgie likes a lot! 🙂

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I think I’ve found one of my new favorite restaurants in Montreal (existing ones include Lemeac, Chez Leveque, L’Express, and Gibby’s): Cuisine Dependence.

Located on the cusp of Mile End, on St. Laurent just below St. Joseph, this fantastic French restaurant has a cozy and inviting yet modern and sophisticated atmosphere, with outstanding service and some of the best tasting food I’ve had at a Montreal restaurant in years.

My boyfriend started with the scallops in Bouillabase with Rouille sauce, and it was fantastic. The scallops were fresh and tender, and the sauce complimented the flavours well but was light enough to not overpower. I started with their salmon tartar garnished with a cabbage and spinach remoulade, and it was also delicious.

The main courses were what really shone. Again my boyfriend stuck with seafood, opting for the Cod. I ordered the veal cheeks which were served with root vegetables and potato mash, and it was honestly one of the best meat dishes I’ve tasted in years – the veal was so tender I didn’t need a knife at all.

For dessert we both ordered the terrine de chocolat – a slab of dense chocolate mousse, garnished with creme anglaise and rich caramel sauce – the perfect finish to our meal.

Service was exceptionally friendly and attentive – we were offered several wines to sample before ordering, and the food was served at a leisurely but not too slow pace, so we could take our time with each course and enjoy our conversation. The final bill was a bit high, starters run from $8-$12, main courses are in the $25-$30 range and dessert with coffee was $13 each, so combined with a bottle of wine and and extra cocktail and tip, we were above $200 but felt the meal and experience was well worth it.My only suggestion would be that they develop a table d’hote menu, so that diners could experience their cuisine at a more affordable price.

All in all I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for the ideal spot for a romantic dinner, a special celebration, or just a treat for your taste buds.

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Steak Frites St. Paul is a chain of moderately priced steak houses that have sprung up in Montreal over the past few years. The original location in old Montreal was so popular that it spawned carbon copies recently opened in Laval, St. Bruno, Ile des Soeurs and on St. Denis street. and Laurier avenue, the latter of which I’ve tried out twice. The concept is fairly simple and at first glance seems like a great idea: a simple menu featuring various cuts of steak, served with unlimited frites, salad and optional desserts, entrees and side dishes. I think their aim is to provide a good steak dinner option for people that don’t want to pay for an expensive restaurant.

The first time I went I had the filet mignon with mushroom sauce. The cut of the meat was fine but it was slightly overcooked and overall did not amaze me. The fries were delicious, lightly salted and crispy, served with lots of mayo, and the salad was certainly adequate – fresh with a yummy slightly creamy dressing.

The second time I returned, I ordered the grilled salmon, which again came with unlimited fries and the salad. The salmon was well-prepared, cooked just enough and lightly seasoned, and served with a nice selection of grilled vegetables. Again the salad was great, however this time I found the fries a little greasy and heavy, perhaps simply because fries don’t really go well with grilled salmon and veggies.

The prices are reasonable and in the mid-range for byow restaurants, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting with a classy and mildly sophisticated, urban vibe. The service was good, not too rushed yet helpful and accommodating. Overall I wouldn’t highly recommend this place as the food is just fine but not great, however it’s a decent choice if you’re looking for an affordable byow restaurant that will please large groups or diners who aren’t real foodies. Would I return? This would definitely not be my first choice and would come only if another more preferrable 5 options weren’t available.

On a final side note, their website is flash, and I strongly hate flash. Boo!

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As I’ve gotten older, I spend less money shopping and party, and much more money eating out and drinking good wine. Not sure whether it’s really an improvement, but it certainly gives me something to write about! Montreal has a huge variety of amazing restaurants so I’m always trying new ones and returning to favorites. Some of the best deals are BYOW (Bring your own wine/Bring your own beer) where the food is slightly pricey but you get to bring your own drinks. Like any type of restaurant, these can really be hit or miss, and I’m done with the “misses” that I used to frequent a lot as a student before I knew any better.

So, moving forward, along with sharing my baking and cooking recipes, I’ll also be writing reviews of Montreal restaurants, both BYOW and their counterparts. Details reviews are to come, but in the meantime here are a few standby’s that are always a sure bet:

La Colombe – my favorite to date – 554 Avenue Duluth Est, Montreal – (514) 849-8844

Les Infideles – 771 Rue Rachel Est – (514) 528-8555

Khyber Pass – 506 Avenue Duluth Est – (514) 849-1775

L’Academie (f0r their pasta only, their entries are just average) – 4051 Rue St-Denis, Montreal – (514) 849-2249

Feel free to share your favorites, and I’ll post full reviews of the good and the bad very soon!

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