Everyone is talking about Daft Punk’s newly released album, Random Access Memories, which came out just three days ago. I still have not gotten around to listening to the new album but I did read snippets of press about the band and their current initiatives, including this interesting article from The New York Times last week. (The Parisian duo own a home in California and speak accent-less English?) What was also in recent news was that the singer of the above classic, One More Time, Romanthony, who was an influential house producer and singer in his right, passed away at the young age of 45 earlier this month. I love this song and even though it is from Daft Punk’s early work, their second album in 2001, Discovery, I consider it a quintessential Daft Punk song — pounding house beats, glamorous upbeat vocals, and 80′s nostalgia. And of course, the awesome animated video makes this video worth revisiting. This will definitely tide me over until I finally get a listen to their new album.
Welcome to Part Two of recommended restaurants for bachelor and bachelorette party planning here in Montréal. Part One, the previous post on bachelor/bachelorette party planning in the city, recommended high-end and moderately priced restaurants, which you can access by clicking here. Today’s post lists wine bars, apportez votre vin (bring your own wine) restaurants, vegetarian-friendly establishments, and cheap alternatives for those on a budget.
This list is also applicable for both visitors and locals to the city who are planning a festive group dinner event. However, as I wrote in the previous post, the kinds of restaurants that I am recommending is really geared towards visitors to the city. I field a lot of questions from friends, family and acquaintances who are visiting Montréal about where to go and what to eat, and also about pre-wedding party planning. I often steer the visitors toward the kinds of places that are unique to Québec; that is, restaurants and foods that are hard to find in Toronto, New York City, or other places of origin.
Montréal does food very well, and in my opinion as Toronto transplant who has lived here for several years, the city excels at French, Québécois, and certain European and Arab cuisines. Also, I will emphasize this again, but Montréal is not vegetarian friendly. Most menus are in English, but download a Google Translate app into your smartphone before getting here as many specials of the day, charted on the chalkboard on the wall, may not be in English. And a final and important note: Reserve early. Especially if you are vying for the more high-end and popular restaurants, such as those posted in Part One of this restaurant guide. The restaurants I am suggesting in this series all take reservations unless otherwise stated, and hence are appropriate for booking group dinners. So in addition to the high-end and moderately-priced restaurants in Part One, here are more dinner spot recommendations for the last of this Restaurant series.
BU is a classy wine bar located in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montréal, the very hipster anglophone location in town. However, BU is not very hipster nor anglophone; it is sleek and formal without being stuffy, while taking their wine very seriously. Here, you can sample various wines provided in a sampler menu with your tapas and small-plate dishes that do have a few vegetarian options. BU is definitely a great place for your wine-loving friend and groups that love sharing several small plates.
It has been a while since I last went to Les Trois Petits Bouchons but the restaurant makes great food and serves carefully selected wines for your meal. This Plateau restaurant makes rich, French/Québécois (i.e. not vegetarian friendly) dishes in an atmosphere that is serious about food and wine, but less concerned about formality. Think of BU as wearing a tie and Les Trois Petits Bouchons as going tie-less. Both restaurants are fun with excellent food and wine, but with a different approach.
On the other hand, Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins is another wine bar located in the Mile End that specializes in charcuteries (preserved, including smoked, meats) while also providing at least one vegetarian-friendly appetizer and one main dish. I like to think of it as being a hip francophone restaurant striking a stylishly languid pose in an anglophone neighbourhood. In fact, this is one of my favourite restaurants in the city, and in 2011 enRoute magazine agreed it was one of the top restaurants in Canada. However, the space is smaller than the other two wine bars so make sure you book in advance for a large group.
APPORTEZ VOTRE VIN/BRING YOUR OWN WINE
La Raclette is also located in the Plateau but on a residential side street above the busier strip of Mont Royal. I reviewed this restaurant in a previous post and loved the restaurant, both for its excellent food as well as being enamoured by its chic atmosphere. A lot of restaurants in the Plateau verge on being a bit too hip and young, but La Raclette is very classic which explains why it has been in business since 1985. The fondue and raclette dishes are meant to be shared by two or more diners, and can be a fun way of sharing a meal for a large group. And if you are visiting on a seasonably nice evening you can sit on their patio with a nice view of the Plateau neighbourhood. Do not forget to bring your bottles of wine to have with your dinner, which will not be charged a corkage fee. Dinners are set meals with three to four course menus from $27 to $42. And if you miss dinner at the restaurant, La Raclette is finally serving brunch during the weekends.
Les Héritiers is another apportez votre vin restaurant in the Plateau. It also serves a set five course menu ranging from $42 to $53, or the dishes can be ordered à la carte. We ordered the set menu consisting of soup, appetizer, le trou Normand (like an amuse bouche), main course, and dessert, and we were absolutely stuffed beyond belief. I found the set course to be too much in quantity for a short female like myself, but from prices starting at $42 it is a great deal. Additionally, all of our dishes were excellent though the restaurant is not the most vegetarian friendly.
Le P’tit Plateau is a small family-owned venture located just off of St-Denis in the Plateau. The restaurant has two seating times during the weekends, so call to check that your group can be accommodated at the prescribed seating times. The restaurant serves southwestern French cuisine with a Bordeaux native chef hemming the establishment. The atmosphere is homey, relaxed and the perfect place for uncorking your favourite wines. And like all the apportez votre vin restaurants, Le P’tit Plateau is not a vegetarian-friendly dining room.
First thing: Aux Vivres. I love this vegan restaurant and it is worth mentioning as a bachelor/bachelorette party dinner location even though it is a very casual restaurant that does not take reservations. I love Aux Vivres because the food is honestly sublime in addition to being very affordable. The line ups are not too long in my personal experience, but it is worth the short wait because I have yet to find such a good vegan restaurant anywhere really (Toronto included). I also reviewed this restaurant in a previous post, so for a mainly vegetarian or vegan group I highly recommend you drop by for a visit during your stay in the city, whether it is for dinner, lunch or weekend brunch.
ChuChai is another popular vegetarian restaurant that comes to mind, especially for vegetarians looking for a more formal dining experience. ChuChai has been around for as long as I remember, even before I moved to this city a few years ago, and serves vegetarian Thai fare. They do serve mock meats and dishes such as crispy “duck” so if you are not a fan of mock meats, ChuChai may not be your first choice. However, for groups that are looking for a formal, vegetarian-specific restaurants, this Plateau restaurant will definitely be on top of your list.
Le Nil Bleu is an Ethiopian restaurant located not too far from ChuChai but south on St-Denis and serves quite an array of vegetarian dishes and platters. I find Ethiopian restaurants are quite fun for dining with large groups as everyone can order various dishes which can be shared and served on a large platter of injera. The spicing at this restaurant is excellent and the injera not too soggy, a problem I have encountered in some other Ethiopian restaurants. So for an option that may be a fun and a new experience for some diners, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, Le Nil Bleu is an excellent choice.
Byblos le Petit Café is a cute and casual Persian restaurant located in the Plateau on avenue Laurier. The vegetarian-friendly restaurant is not as formal as some of my previous suggestions, but if you have the desire to tighten your purse strings Byblos offers great food for a decent price. The café offers sandwiches, salads, dips, and desserts in a loft-like space with high ceilings and large windows, great for people watching. The restaurant does not take reservations, but I have observed a steady inflow of customers at all times during the day and have never seen the space become super crowded. Therefore, I do not anticipate that a large group (though depending on how large you are) will not be accommodated, but it probably will not hurt to call ahead. And if your group cannot be accommodated, you are in the neighbourhood where there are many restaurants in the vicinity so other options will be available if Byblos does not pull through.
I normally tell visitors that the Indian and Pakistani cuisine in Montréal is subpar compared to Toronto and New York City, but one of the few Indian restaurants I recommend in the city is Bombay Mahal. Located in the rough and tumble area of Parc Ex, the casual restaurant is not especially close to the natural habitat of Montréal tourists but is very much accessible by metro (station Acadie on the Blue Line). The food at Bombay Mahal is excellent, well spiced (and not “dumbed down” to non-distinguishing taste buds), and priced at the affordable rates of $8.99 for the butter chicken and $9.99 for lamb biryani. It is also vegetarian friendly and an apportez votre vin, meaning you can bring a reasonable number of bottles of wine to have with your meal. Bombay Mahal is very economical and excellent, and if your party is looking for an adventure, the restaurant may be well worth the trek to Parc Ex.
The third frugal alternative that I am suggesting for a bachelor and bachelorette party dinner is a picnic in the park. Yes, people do picnic in the park here in Montréal quite often, and the ages and types of people partaking ranges from families with children to young hipsters in the neighbourhood. I wrote a previous blog post about Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier in the Plateau, but any of the parks in the city would suffice including Parc du Mont Royal (the park surrounding the Royal Mountain), and Parc Lafontaine. The City of Montréal legally allows the consumption of alcohol in parks during opening hours and with the consumption of a meal, so for those are both frugal and creative, you can pack a blanket for sitting, a picnic with food, drinks, and alcoholic beverages, and any light sports equipment or games to play in the grass. And keep in mind that, on a beautiful day, you will not be the only person who has planned an outdoor picnic in the park, so grab one of the limited number of picnic tables or mark your territory in the grass before it gets too late.
Other posts on bachelor and bachelorette party planning: Bars, fast food choices, events, brunch spots, and more.
It was around midnight when I saw The New York Times’ Twitter feed linked to an article on its opinion page about Angelina Jolie. It read: “Angelina Jolie on why she had a double mastectomy, and how it could save lives.” I clicked on the link.
Reading Jolie’s explanation of her recent decision to undergo a double mastectomy — as a preventative measure against breast cancer — was fuzzy late at night. I had been engrossed in my school work and holding late night vigils in the glow of my laptop, eyes at half mast but open from the effects of too much coffee. Jolie wrote about how, in 2007, her mother died of cancer after a ten-year battle. Jolie had then decided to become tested for the genetic mutation that substantially increases the risk of the carrier of developing breast cancer. The tests confirmed that she did indeed carry a gene mutation and in her case, she had approximately 87% chance of developing the disease. She completed her series of preventative medical procedures and surgeries in April.
Well, both myself and the rest of the world had not been privy to Jolie’s health circumstances until the publishing of her article. For a Hollywood actress and paparazzi magnet such as Jolie, her private life and medical decision had been very carefully under wraps. But she chose to write a public and very moving account of her medical counselling and surgery through her own words and terms. Her article is clear in that her motives are not to broadcast circumstances of her non-acting life to the world but to spark a discussion on women’s health, breast cancer, and cancer prevention.
Jolie’s article comes two days after Mother’s Day was celebrated here in Canada and many other nations abroad. I had sent a message to a friend now living in Hong Kong to wish her a happy first Mother’s Day, then enquired about whether Mother’s Day is actually celebrated in that part of the world. It was, in fact, and her husband took her and their infant son to Hong Kong Disneyland. I laughed at the photo she sent to me of her and her family posing with Mickey Mouse.
On Sunday I was and still am away from my family in Toronto, and spent the day here in Montréal with my head in my books. But I thought about my mother who passed away when I was twenty years old after battling cancer for eleven years. It also happened that I saw a breast cancer surgeon a few days earlier because, as I explained to my boyfriend, it was time again to have old doctor hands feel my boobs in ways no one else has ever felt my boobs.
My mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age forty-one. We had been living in a Toronto suburb for about five years after moving from Seoul, South Korea. She had felt a hard lump in her breast but my dad was convinced that it was not cancer. At the time my dad mistakenly believed that only women with large breasts were susceptible of being diagnosed with such a disease, unlike my mother whose chest, like mine, was small if not completely flat.
When I was nine years old, my mom underwent a mastectomy to remove one of her breasts where the tumour was detected and came home with a large diagonal scar across her chest. I knew what “cancer” meant at that age because a few years earlier, my dad’s uncle, one of our only relatives here in Canada, had passed away from cancer. It was the first funeral that I remembered attending so I equated “cancer” with “death”, and became extremely fearful that my mom would die too. Well, I knew we would all die in time but her impending death was always imminent and the eventual cause already set in stone.
My dad worked a lot and often left the country for long periods due to his work, but during the time my mom first became ill he had quit his previous, high level corporate position to run a retail store closer to home. However, my mom was now bed-ridden and bald from the effects of chemotherapy. I became filled with fear, and I often tip-toed to where she was sleeping to place my hand below her nose to check that she was still breathing. As a child, I became obsessed with making life easier for my mom, which meant that I learned to suppress my own, insignificant needs, and do everything and anything to help my mom. In my young mind, I thought that by becoming the perfect child, I could lessen her levels of stress and hence somehow cure her cancer.
However, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer once again, this time in her other breast. I was a few years older now, and remember sitting in her bedroom floor, my mom explaining that she had another tumour and placing my hand on her chest to feel the small, hard lump attached to her body. She wanted my sister and I to know what a cancerous tumour felt like, but my sister seemed afraid of touching the tumour unlike myself. My mom soon underwent another surgery to remove the tumour as well as another mastectomy to remove all that she had left of her breast tissue. My dad rushed for us to take formal family portraits as the risk of my mom’s death became urgent once again.
Having cancer for eleven years meant that my mom was partially, if not completely, disabled most of the time. She could not work, she did not have energy to complete all household tasks, and was under constant pain. My mom was also in hospital on and off throughout the years, and the sterile medical environment became a familiar place. This experience really pushed the belief in me that being healthy was precious, but could be taken away so easily with drastic results. I became very health conscious myself, while my mother followed a naturopathic diet and regimen from the advice from a non-certified, non-medical quack who charged large sums of money for his so-called expertise. My mother, desperate for cures, believed in him and my father reluctantly shelled out thousands of dollars over to the fraud over the years.
Despite all my mother’s strange health rituals and visits to Catholic shrines and churches (including many here in Québec), the cancer spread beyond her breasts to her blood, then brain, then liver. She passed away while both my sister and I were completing our undergraduate studies in university.
As I had mentioned earlier, I knew that my mom would die, and I knew it would be sooner rather than later, and I knew it would be because of her cancer. But the reality was that now she was dead, and I had lived most of my life at that point waiting for this moment to happen. And when it finally came true, I felt lost without the backdrop of that constant fear of my mom dying.
However, the few things that I did know and did do at that point was to visit a genetics counsellor in the small Ontario city where I was attending university. After my mom died, my doctor recommended that I visit the clinic to see if I qualified for breast cancer screening through an expensive blood test that may be covered by Canadian health insurance. I already knew that, due to my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, both my sister and I should be careful and look for early signs of breast cancer. My mother was also diagnosed at a relatively early age with cancerous tumours developing in both her breasts, signs that pointed to a higher possibility that her breast cancer was genetic. She had also been convinced that the cause of her mother, my grandmother’s, death was also due to breast cancer but in post-war Korea a diagnosis could not be confirmed.
So I visited the breast cancer center with an appointment with a genetics counsellor nurse who went over my family health history and the details of my mom’s diagnosis. The nurse explained that, given the existence of certain risk factors, I would benefit from genetics testing to determine whether I carry the faulty genetic mutations that increases my chance of developing breast cancer. The circumstances of my mother’s cancer pointed to the possibility of a genetic cause, but because it could not be confirmed that her mother had breast cancer amongst other high risk factors (my mom’s two sisters have not been diagnosed with breast cancer as well), the nurse recommended that I do not undergo genetics testing. If she had, my provincial health insurance at the time (OHIP, or Ontario Health Insurance Program), would cover the costs of the testing. In the U.S., the cost is estimated to be about $3,000 USD.
Instead, the nurse recommended that when I reach the age of ten years prior to my mom’s initial cancer diagnosis, I start being followed by a breast cancer specialist and receive regular breast cancer screening. Additionally, the nurse provided me material about breast cancer, risk factors, and instructions on performing self-breast exams. As I am now in my 30′s, I have been followed by The Cedar Breast Clinic here in Montréal.
Last year was when I had my first breast ultrasound to provide a baseline snapshot of my breast tissue as it changes over the years. The surgeon explained that, because my boobs are small and dense (a backhanded compliment? Just kidding!), that mammograms may not be very effective in examining my breast tissue though he insisted that I subject myself to the ruthless mammogram machine by my mid-30′s. When I had my ultrasound, the technician was able to pinpoint that I currently have benign cysts in my breasts but they could only be detected through imaging as I honestly could not feel them myself. This was scary — what if I have malignant tumours and I cannot feel those either?
However, I do not feel much fear when it comes to my breasts. I do not think they are “ticking time bombs” as apparently some women like to label their breasts, but I do recognize that I need to be vigilant and make the right kinds of life choices to decrease my risk. Most breast cancer is not caused by the genetic mutations, so even if I were to not carry the gene mutation, I am still at risk because one in nine Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is still the most common type of cancer in Canadian women.
Hence, I try to educate myself and practice certain lifestyle choices, though of course it is impossible to control for all possible risk factors. This means that I exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and limit my alcohol consumption amongst other known and emerging factors that are being studied and established. Two conscious changes I made in the past few years was avoiding chemical sunscreens when possible and switching to non-hormone birth control options. Young women may not concern themselves that much to looming and possible health issues, but it is really at this time that individuals should set healthy patterns and decrease future risks of disease that may become apparent over the years. You can read about my lifestyle choices for decreasing my risk of breast cancer in this previous post, Pink Ribbons for Young Women.
In the future I may decide to undergo the genetic testing for the breast cancer mutations, either because I become covered by a health insurance that would cover part of the costs, or by paying for it entirely out of pocket. Unlike Jolie, I do not have children (yet) whom may prompt me to more aggressive risk mitigating behaviours, but I think about the last decade of my mom’s life and do not want to experience the years of disability and pain. And perhaps a double mastectomy as a preventative measure is in my future, something that I have always known may be a possibility in my lifetime. But not all women are educated about their risks of developing cancer and the choices that may be available depending on their personal circumstances. And it is for these people that Jolie penned the opinion piece, yet again using her celebrity status to bring awareness and education to social issues. And while I never really cared for her acting, movies or celebrity life, I applaud Jolie for using her privilege to bring attention to social causes and issues.
Was anyone else really sad when Adam Yauch died just over a year today in May 2012? I love The Beastie Boys and Adam Yauch (MCA) was my favourite as he was what I considered the most talented of the trio. Just last week, however, they renamed a park in Brooklyn, New York as Adam Yauch Park, located in the borough where Yauch grew up. To commemorate, here is the group’s 1994 video for Sabotage, directed by none other than the venerable director Spike Jonze. Sabotage is very much worth revisiting as it remains a classic music video and one I still love watching today. Plus, they all wear awesome moustaches.
This great Tumblr brings politics, fashion and humour together in one big Lenin sandwich. “Fun, fearless freedom from the oppression of capitalism:” www.cosmarxpolitan.tumblr.com
Well hello there, welcome back! This is the second of the multi-post series on bachelor and bachelorette party planning in this lovely city of Montréal. The first post provided some tips on lodging options, and this second post will go over restaurants suitable for a group dinner in establishments that are better than a run to McDonald’s. That is, these are restaurants I recommend for a nice sit-down dinner with your party group.
This particular series on bachelor/bachelorette party restaurant recommendations is divided into two parts. Part one of this restaurant series, below, explains the Montréal restaurant scene, basic tips, and high- and moderately-priced restaurant recommendations. Part two, in the next post of this series, will cover wine bars, Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW or “apportez votre vin”) restaurants, vegetarian selections, and frugal offerings. I will also be posting other tips and recommendations for bachelor and bachelorette party planning in this city on the topics of bars, events, and other related items. The first and previous post of this party planning series covered the general party environment in Montréal and hotel recommendations.
First thing about the Montréal dining scene: It is amazing. There are more restaurants per capita (744 according to a 2006 figure) than anywhere else in Canada. Plus, the Québécois do not accept crappy food. You will find there are many excellent restaurants in this city and pretty much all of them serve the most excellent bread. (Which is obviously not the center piece of your meal but a really nice extra touch and a personal obsession of mine.)
We also have apportez votre vin (“bring your own wine”/BYOW) restaurants, which allow you and your guests to bring a reasonable number of bottles of wine (or beer) to a restaurant to have with your meal. I have yet to encounter a restaurant here in Montréal that charges a corkage fee so all you have to do is bring your bottles and they will serve it with your meal. Keep in mind that these restaurants do not have a liquor license so they cannot refrigerate your bottles for you; they will instead bring a bucket with ice for your table, so keep this in mind if you are bringing a few white or dessert wines. Most of these BYOW restaurants are situated in the Plateau neighbourhood, home of many excellent restaurants in the city, and advertise their service as “apportez votre vin” on their websites and menus. I do have some favourite BYOW restaurants that I love, which I will mention in part two of this restaurants post.
Another point that is worth mentioning is that Montréal is not a vegetarian-friendly town. Depending on where you are coming from — especially a sizeable city like Toronto, Vancouver, or New York — you may be used to going to any restaurant in your home town and finding vegetarian options for your veggie friends. Montréal is not like one of those cities. The culture here is that of joie de vivre where French Canadians love their cheese, bread, wine, smoking, foie gras, and a pretty liberal sexual culture (that is why you are here, right?). Vegetarianism is seen as a form of asceticism not welcome by the Québécois still recovering from the fall out with the Catholic church in the late 1960′s, which ruled the province through its law and culture. Only 6% of the Québécois attend church weekly, the lowest in any western society. (Interestingly, most Québécois consider themselves Catholic.) Therefore, if you have vegetarian friends in your party you should double check the restaurant menus before committing. And do expect to get the “We have vegetarian — fish and lamb!” kind of responses as I have personally experienced.
I would say though that my biggest tip regarding restaurants in Montréal is to go for the kinds of restaurants that the city excels at. This means that, in comparison to other cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, and New York City, we suck at Asian cuisine. I am not trying to say that all Asian restaurants in this city stink — certainly not true as there are a few that I absolutely love. However, if you are from a big city with a sizeable Asian population, why come to Montréal to eat good quality sushi at an inflated price when you can get it at home for way cheaper and even higher quality? If you come visit this city in the lovely francophone province of Québec, steer towards the kinds of cuisines and restaurants where that you probably cannot get at home and that exemplify the best of the city. In my point of view, the best restaurants here are usually French, Québécois, central and mediterranean European, and Arab cuisines.
Additionally, you will want to try to find a restaurant that is large enough to accomodate your group and takes reservations. My restaurant suggestions below fit both these standards, but I should point out that if you are looking to book at some of the more popular restaurants you may need to call them months in advance. That is right, you are not going to get a table for six at Au Pied de Cochon in two weeks time, so forget about it. So this is my second biggest tip: book early. But keep in mind that if you do not score a reservation at your favourite restaurant of choice, there are many, many great restaurants in the city so planning a great meal for your friend will be done. And last but not least, I have included some alternative, frugal choices for the economical amongst us which you will find in part two. Below are some of my choices for high- and moderately-priced restaurants.
HIGH END AND SUPER POPULAR
Au Pied de Cochon gets mentioned in every Montréal tour book for a reason: Yes, it is very famous, but it is also very good. The restaurant also exemplifies Québécois cuisine in that you get duck, maple syrup, foie gras, poutine, and pig’s head. The place located in the Plateau is a carnivore’s dream come true that celebrates the bon vivant philosophy of French Canadians. The place is also loud and boisterous, and will have very slim pickings for vegetarians. Unless you book waaaaay in advance, good luck with getting reservations. And in that case, you may just have to console yourself with watching Anthony Bourdain eating to his death in an episode of No Reservations.
Another strong choice that is sometimes considered the anglophone version of Au Pied de Cochon is Joe Beef. Joe Beef is located in the gentrifying neighbourhood of Griffintown and, like Au Pied de Cochon, loves the highly controversial foie gras in the form of what they call the Double Down: Deep friend foie gras with bacon and cheddar cheese. If you are vegetarian-leaning like I am, it is a bit too much to watch someone eat this but for the duck lovers out there, this place is for you. Interestingly, Joe Beef will cater to vegetarians and are willing to prepare a vegetarian pasta off-menu, so this place can accomodate your vegetarian friends. However, just like Au Pied de Cochon, reservations must be booked very much in advance. And if you fail to snag a dinner date at the restaurant, console yourself with their award-winning cookbook, The Art of Living According to Joe Beef.
Le Garde Manger, of Chuck’s Day Off Food Network fame, is a Québécois and seafood specializing restaurant in the Old Port. Their famous lobster poutine is exactly what you can expect from this high quality establishment which comes complete with young, attractive servers and guests that are reaching across to other tables to hit on each other. The lights are dim and prices are high, and again this is another place that may be hard for vegetarians. Tables are in high demand so book way ahead by calling and leaving a message, and waiting patiently by the phone.
For mid-priced restaurants four come to mind, all which are located in the Plateau. (See a pattern here?) Restaurants listed are in random order. First choice: L’Express, which reminds you of a Parisian bistro with mirrored walls, wood panelling and a busy scene that looks like it is out of a Toulouse Lautrec painting. The restaurant is famous for its steak frites and quality wine list, as well as late weekend hours meaning you can book a great dinner for past midnight. However, L’Express does not serve any vegetarian main dishes.
Au Cinquième Péché, translated into “the fifth sin,” is another Montréal establishment that celebrates the hedonistic side of food. This restaurant is also one of the few in the city that serves baby seal (“phoque” in French) while also serving at least one vegetarian main dish. Imagine that — you can bring your anti-PETA friends and vegetarian friends together for one meal! You can also choose to submit yourself to the chef’s special five course meal ($60 to $70) if you are a serious foodie or would like a meal with elements of surprise.
A few blocks away is my third choice in this category. I love La Salle à Manger because the restaurant perfectly balances a youthful energy with formality of fine dining, very much exemplifying the Plateau neighbourhood where it resides. Located on Mont-Royal street, the restaurant opens up its front doors and windows in the summer where you and your friends can participate in some prime people watching. The menu changes regularly to reflect seasonal and locally sourced ingredients with quite a number of vegetarian offerings. Non-vegetarian offerings, however, are dominant and include their famous salmon tartare appetizer and main plates such as rabbit leg with stewed tomatoes and mushrooms.
Finally, if you are not in the mood for French and Québécois cuisine, I also recommend Casa Tapas for a Spanish tapas dinner. Tapas are definitely fun to share with a big group, so a Spanish tapas restaurant is very appropriate for a festive bachelor/bachelorette party dinner. Casa Tapas also boasts an exclusive wine collection of Spanish imports to go with your seafood- and meat-based dishes. Alas, you will not find many vegetarian-friendly dishes at this restaurant though with very limited offerings it is possible your vegetarian friend can manage if they are low volume eaters.
Click here for Part Two of flashbracket’s Montréal Bachelor(ette) Party Planning Guide: Restaurants.
The second part of this restaurant series recommends wine bars, bring your own wine (apportez votre vin), vegetarian, and frugal restaurant choices.
Other posts on bachelor and bachelorette party planning: Bars, fast food choices, events, brunch spots, and more.
The Montréal Bachelor(ette) Party Planning: Hotels