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Despite it being one of the coldest days in Montreal to date this winter, excited Dishcrawl Montreal participants gathered together to begin a food adventure. For the uninitiated, DishCrawl is the culinary version of a pub crawl. Sounds more familiar doesn’t it? Basically, throughout the evening, diners move from restaurant to restaurant – all within a few moments walking distance – and sample a dish at each. On average, about four restaurants are visited per event. The dishes are made to match the order of patronage, so the first course at the first restaurant is lighter and more like an appetizer, the second and third restaurants are charged with making heavier, more robust dishes, and the last, focuses primarily on dessert.
Just across from the famous Olive & Gourmando, La Villette is sometimes overlooked as an equally delicious lunch spot. Going for a distinctly French look and feel, the restaurant has a rustic, comfortable interior equipped with big wooden tables and chairs, hanging charcuterie, vintage photographs, and a large counter where their sandwiches, salads, terrines, cheeses and pastries are proudly displayed.
Club Chasse et Peche gives off an air of exclusivity in the discreet nature of the establishment: to the regular passerby it would be easy to miss the place and walk right by, blissfully unaware of the culinary delights that take place inside. The only indication that it even exists on the middle of St. Claude street is a large stylized logo that is at once easily recognizable while being somewhat indistinguishable at the same time – the icon resembles an eagle spreadings its wings, showcasing a torso made of a coat of arms. I think it’s open to interpretation. There is a little bit of snobbery that comes off as you experience the Club for an evening but it totally works in their favor. It helps that we were knowingly greeting with a warm “Welcome to the Club”.
L’Orignal means “moose” in French. Based solely on the name, you would expect the food served here to be big, hearty and gamey. Actually, after spending over three hours eating here and sampling a good portion of the menu (we were a party of eight ordering a variety of dishes), we came to the conclusion that the portions here were just perfect (what I mean is not overwhelmingly large) and that the food was even better than any of us had anticipated. We first took notice of the restaurant at Oysterfest earlier this September. When we tried L’Orignal’s wild boar-lobster roll, we were hooked. We finally had the chance to come by and it did not disappoint.
Sunday, September 11th was a perfect day. For once, the weather cooperated. Shooting rays of sunshine and warmth all over the city, Montreal’s annual Oysterfest event was a complete blowout success – starting around 2 in the afternoon and lasting all the way until 9 pm, the lineup was long even at the start. Tickets at the door went quickly and were totally sold out about an hour after the event started. With over two dozen restaurants present providing food in exchange for coupon tickets, the place was teeming with excited and eager foodies itching to try everything all at once.
I finally got a chance to go to Toqué for my birthday dinner. After having heard so much about the gourmet eatery in the Old Port, I can say that the restaurant went above and beyond in every respect, including the hype surrounding it. I was completely blown away by the impeccable service, the great food and the amazing ambiance. Walking in, the atmosphere of ‘high class sophistication’ is apparent from the get go.
Le Bremner is one of Montreal’s newest and most popular restaurants – not only has it been all over the Urbanspoon talk of the town, but it has been quite successful in getting a fair amount of attention just through word of mouth. This buzz may mostly be because of its celebrity chef owner, Chuck Hughes. With a sweet spot on St. Paul street in the Old Port and one of the most beautiful terraces I’ve seen in a while, the back part of the restaurant is an absolute gem. Weather permitting (fall and colder weather fast approaching), make sure to request for a spot out there. Surrounded by rustic chic decor and leafy greens, paneled/embossed ceilings and great big wooden tables, Le Bremner has its look nailed. The lack of signage makes it very possible for people to miss Le Bremner – the word “Restaurant” is written in simple red lettering above steps leading to a basement level giving it a more underground, exclusive feel.
Due to its location in the Old Port, it is no wonder that Osteria Venti attracts an older, more sophisticated crowd. As we waited to be seated, a foursome of seniors pushed past us, completely foregoing the line while quickly beckoning at their friends outside, grabbing the two remaining barstools. The hostess who was away at the moment immediately noticed and notified them that reservations were necessary and recommended Philemon as the next closest bar, if a drink was all they wanted. I thought that was a particularly humorous start to the evening.
In search for something sweet after eating at Muvbox, we went down McGill street to Pizzaiolle for dessert. The clean cut restaurant setting with the semi open kitchen concept was quite nice. We got there just in time to get a spot – a few minutes after we sat down, the restaurant filled up quite quickly with tourists and fans of the Grand Prix; uniformed members of the British racing team sat next to us.
Made from an old shipping container and equipped with solar panels, Muvbox is meant to be self-sustainable and an easy to set up pop up restaurant. Situated between the old Farine Five Roses factory and the De La Commune Park by the water, Muvbox is a small, compact “fast food” restaurant serving gourmet lobster rolls and clam chowder.