Last updated 21 May 2006.
Tip: Find the text of this article too big or too small? From the Internet Explorer View menu, choose Text Size, then the size you'd prefer, from Smallest to Largest. In the Firefox browser, from the View menu, select Increase Text Size or Decrease Text Size.
Having garnered a bit of a reputation as foodies, we've been asked a few times to supply restaurant suggestions. So here a stab at that. We'll cover the categories we tend to frequent:
a) Fine dining. Best-quality food, excellent service, and higher prices to match.
b) Good, less expensive. A restaurant that provides very good food and service, but not at the very top end—no truffle toppings, not quite so many people tending to your table. And therefore lower priced.
c) Ethnic. We tend to favour the oriental—Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean—but have been known to try others, such as Indian, Indonesian, and Greek.
We visit Montreal regularly, and dining out there is always a highlight.
Recently voted the best restaurant in Canada, eating at Toqué is certainly an experience. While everything on their à la carte menu sounds amazing, we can never resist going for their menu surprise, in which you get a multi-course meal that the chef puts together, optionally with a matching wine for each course. Within this, you can choose whether to include foie gras or not—it costs more if you do.
It's hard to describe taste in words, but every bite you take there is like a little wonder. Plates look beautiful. Flavours are always amazingly balanced. Textures complement each other nicely. The taste is always interesting but never overwhelming. And you get to try wines that, well, many of them probably aren't even available at LCBO. (It took us a while to learn that just one of you could order the wine option, and they would actually split each glass between the two of you. Before then, we were leaving slightly inebriated. So there's a tip, that also is a money saver!)
Service is absolutely impeccable, with everything timed perfectly. I must say I do miss their old location on St-Denis, though. That was a very warm room, with a bright and unpretensious feel. Their new above-ground place near Old Montreal is bigger, but it also feels colder and more formal. We plan to try the new restaurant that has opened in their old location sometime.
I don't even know it's fair not to classify Laloux as a fine dining restaurant. It is a nice place in a lovely older building in downtown Montreal (Pine street); you do get many knowledgeable wait staff at your table (who are often a lot of fun); the food is really very good, with a lot of nice wine choices. I guess the thing about it is it's that much cheaper than Toqué (which is itself actually cheaper than fine dining restaurants in other cities, like Toronto). By choosing carefully from their table d'hôte menu, you could, for example, have an excellent three-course lunch for under $16, and dinner for under $20.
Of course, we always spend more than that, but the bill is still quite easy to take after such a fine experience. They handle busy nights well, but you'll get the best experience if you can go at an off-peak time: like a Sunday or Tuesday night, or late lunch—something like that.
Update: Laloux is getting more expensive. Though still cheaper than Toqué, it's not quite the bargain it once was. Still no complaints about the food quality and service, though.
Next time we hope to check out the restaurant that has moved into Toqué's old location, as it has the potential to be a good fit in this category.
Hmm. This restaurant in Chinatown (1115 rue Clark) is the place to go for dim sum, which they offer daily. It's a big bustling place, and they do the traditional bring the carts around and you choose approach. Best if you can find others to go with so you can try more things. Many options, and they do them all well. Prices are quite reasonable.
Copyright © 20012006 - Jean Lefebvre
and Catherine McNair
All Rights Reserved
Webmaster: Catherine McNair