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.
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Other posts on bachelor and bachelorette party planning: Fast food choices, events, brunch spots, and more.
Published Posts in the Series:
The Montréal Bachelor(ette) Party Planning: Introduction and Hotels
The Montréal Bachelor(ette) Party Planning Guide: Restaurants, Part One
The Montréal Bachelor(ette) Party Planning Guide: Restaurants, Part Two
The Montréal Bachelor(ette) Party Planning Guide: Activities