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Montreal Restaurant Reviews

Instead of making you read through all of my blogs, here are my top restaurants so far in Montreal:

WEINSTEIN AND GAVINO'S

My mouth is still watering....
Wienstein and Gavino's is a fantastic Italian restaurant located at 1434 Crescent.

We ordered a bottle of Italian Cabernet Sauvignon...Banear, which was both fruity and dry. The waiter's assistant brought out a warm loaf of bread on a board and pored some oil and balsamic onto a plate.  The bread was soft on the inside, slightly crusty outside, and heavenly.

For an appetizer we shared a bruschetta al pomodoro. There were three pieces of toasted bread, covered with finely diced tomato, onion, and basil. It was served with freshly grated parmesan curls. For the salad course we both ordered the Insalata caprese...a mixture of halved cherry tomatoes and regular tomato slices, topped with bocconcini cheese. The salad was drizzed with a balsamic vinegar and oil, garnished with fresh basil leaves. It was huge, but we couldn't stop eating it. I knew I wouldn't finish my dinner.

When we were ordering our main course, our waiter suggested I try the Osso bucco. Here's how it's described on their menu: "Veal shank prepared in traditional Milanese fashion, topped with gremolata, served with buttered spaghetti." It isn't something I would normally order, but I was feeling adventurous. Jim had the Scalopine alla parmiginia...Veal Parmigiana au gratin, served with a spaghette in a basil pesto sauce. (Both were in the $20+ range).

The Osso bucco was MAGNIFICENT! When it was presented at the table, the aroma promised goodness. Our waiter brought over some parmesan and sprinkled it over our dinners. (He agreed to the photo below! He was very attentive and friendly. Our wine and water glasses were never less than half full.) But back to my dinner. Jim said, "Wow, I'll bet that is tender," when he saw my meal. I took my fork to the side...and it fell away. OH MY!!! It was simply divine. Fortunately, I had leftovers. Guess what I'm having for dinner tomorrow?

To close the meal I ordered raspberry sorbetti...our waiter asked if I would like to try the others as well, and brought out two spoons. Even though we were full, it was not filling. The sorbetti was light and a perfect ending to a wonderful meal on a hot evening.


Notice the extensive wine collection on the back wall.

Here is their web address:
http://www.wiensteinandgavinos.com/main.php?l=e


FROM 23 APRIL 2007 POSTING:
HOUSE OF JAZZ

Our surprise for the evening was to take the two of them to the House of Jazz. Steph and Kevin share a love of music...and it was music that brought them together. Kevin plays in a band, Daha, and is one of the most talented guitarists we've met.

http://www.houseofjazz.ca/v2/en/index.asp

HOUSE OF JAZZ
2050 Rue Aylmer

You have to make reservations in advance to get one of the good tables. When we called there was bar seating (first come, first served) and tables in the back. We chose to go early and get a good seat at the bar, which was closer to the action. We found a counter for three, and squeezed in four (good thing we like each other!). Instead of ordering a meal, since we'd had a late lunch, we each ordered salads and then a variety of appetizers to share. The cheese platter was a hit with all.
 
The band playing was Johnny Scott and Friends....the band leader must have known we loved him because he kept smiling and nodding in our direction all night. We were probably the only group in there that wasn't visiting...we were just appreciating their music. The room was filled with couples and intimate groups of friends. It wouldn't be a place to go for conversation, since it is small and the music (which is great) fills the room. We had a blast and kept thinking of which of our friends would love to go there with us. It was a special evening.


AUBERGE LES St. GABRIEL

I was so excited that Kate and Rich were coming today. The city was still slushy and cold from our snowstorm yesterday, but we will still have a blast. They are such fun and always good for a laugh. Both of them live life.

We bought a bottle of white wine for Kate and she raved over it (I'm getting her a bottle to bring to her the next time I'm in town.) Curvee Saint-Honore. It is a dry wine bottled here in Montreal.. (I had to go earlier to get wine glasses...we only had two. I went to the Dollar Store in the Complex Desjardin and bought four more. I also found some adorable little cordial glasses, so I got those, too.)

We set out a nicely aged Canadian cheddar and a smooth brie. We visited a while before heading to dinner. Jim and I are hitching a ride back with them, so we loaded our luggage into the car down in the parking garage.

AUBERGE les ST. GABRIEL
426 St. Gabriel Street

This restaurant was originally an Inn (or auberge). It is the oldest in North America...started in 1754. It is filled with old world charms...from its hand-hewn massive beams to the twin stone fireplaces. The rustic native-stone walls seemed over a foot thick. We made reservations for the first seating at six-thirty. Montrealers eats much later than we do back home, with some of them dining at eight or nine pm. The tables were covered with white linens and the chairs were ladder-back.

The field green salad with balsamic vinegrette dressing was fantastic. The dressing was not overpowering, the the balsamic was distinct. Kate, Rich, and Jim all had the cream of asparagus soup...they all raved over it. Jim called it "Cream of Deliciousness Soup" and said it was the best soup he'd had in his life.

For the main course, Jim and I had the chateaubriand pour deux. The medium rare meat was perfectly pink, very rare..but not too. The flavor was mellow, but memorable..as it practically melted on the tongue. Rich order lamb and Kate had veal chops. They tried our meal, too...and one another's. Rich raved about how every dinner was distinct, yet superb.

The creme brulee for dessert was the best I'd had....better than Jim's! (Shhh...don't tell him, he gets upset!)

We had a lovely evening visiting with two great friends, dining in a beautiful setting, eating incredible food.
http://www.auberge1754.com/

11 MAY 2007

Restaurant Le Piémontais

1145A rue De Bullion (2 streets East of Saint-Laurent on René-Lévesque) We can see this restaurant from our balcony!    Reservations (514) 861-8122

One of the Bombardier employees recommended this restaurant to Jim and are we glad he did! When I looked up reviews of it online, I discovered that it is a good spot to see celebrities and enjoy a good meal.

This Italian restaurant has white tablecloths, but a family feel. Indeed there was a large party of about fifteen seated nearby that included a few cute children. They all seemed right at home and we speculated that maybe they own the restaurant, or this is a favorite multi-generational hangout spot. We were a few tables away from the bar where the waiters picked up their drinks, so we could overhear them switching between Italian, French, and English.

We both ordered a veal dish...Jim had veal saltimbocca and I had a veal dish with a cream sauce. They were served with roasted potatoes and other vegetables, which were lightly seasoned and very tasty. The sauce on my dish was incredible. It was the type of sauce where you want to drag bread around on your plate, use a straw, or just lick it up off the plate.

I would highly recommend this place...it is very close to Places des Arts. You should make a reservation, though, or you will be disappointed. It isn't much to look at from the outside, but the service, clean interior, and great food more than makes up for that.

This is a photo from our balcony...see I told you it was close!
http://www.lepiemontais.com/en/le-piemontais.html

4 APRIL 2007


PHAYATHAI

Since Jim was STARVING (aka grumpy, haha) we decided to go out to dinner.  He called one of our favorite Montreal restaurants...Phayathai at 1235 Guy...and they still had a table. (It is small and fills up quickly.)

We had the front desk call us a cab...a splurge since we were tired & Jim was STARVING and didn't want to walk (our usual mode of transportation in Montreal). They told us to wait in the lobby...a little bit later, the cabbie came in to get us, "Cab for Mr. Jim!" We chatted about the city with him on our ride across town. He told us the location of the nearest IGA (grocery store) and SAQ (liquor store). So we're all set!

Our meal was incredible as always...Lemon grass soup, flash-fried spinach, shrimp appetizers in paper, Peanut Chicken with Sticky Rice, and Chicken with Chili Sauce. The spinach is literally melt-in-your-mouth goodness. It is bright green, with a touch of sugar, and dissolves quickly on the tongue. My friends Kate & Tom introduced us to this place, and we are grateful. The service is impeccable and everything we've ordered in the past has been fantastic (green curry chicken, beef with basil...you can't go wrong here).

We made a toast to Montreal, our temporary new home.

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