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Leméac is similar to the Montreal classic L’Expresse in that they are both French bistro type restaurants serving excellent fare for reasonable prices. Leméac is a little less stuffy in terms of atmosphere and just as classy. It also has a great terrasse that is open air in the summertime and equipped with heated lamps for the colder days of winter. We went for the after ten menu where you get an entrée and a main for $25 (such an amazing steal) and you would be surprised at how generous the offerings are and how much variety there is to choose from!
Walking into Joe Beef, one immediately senses a kind of warm intimacy few restaurants are able to successfully achieve in terms of both physical space, ambiance and decor. The space out front is quite small; tables are set one next to the other with only a few inches separating diners from one another – for those who sit on the inner banquettes, tables must be pulled out for them to exit gracefully. Even in such close quarters, fellow diners have been the most friendly and cordial I have ever met. The owners have recently closed their luncheonette next door (McKiernan’s) in favor of expanding Joe Beef, creating an oyster bar in its place while at the same time increasing its capacity for more people to stop by. Due to the popular demand for the restaurant’s exquisite food, the terrasse out back has been opened up as well. I had actually never been in the area before and our lovely waitress Vanya was nice enough to show me around. The garden where ingredients are freshly grown and harvested lines the terrasse; adjacent to this, a separate plot of land is sectioned off by a fence – here they house a large metal smoker where they treat some of their meats and fish.