Au Pied de Cochon – The soul of Montreal: French country cooking anchored by Quebec’s first-rate ingredients. Martin Picard’s hearty menu focuses on pork, duck, foie gras, game and beef – vegetarians need not apply. All of this unfolds in a boisterous bistro in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood.
Le Club Chasse et Peche – Since it opened almost four years ago, in Old Montreal, this has been the city’s upscale It restaurant. Claude Pelletier’s menu brings a refined spin to first-rate ingredients, in a classy atmosphere that recalls a sophisticated hunting-lodge vibe. Semi-private room, seating 30, available as a business meeting venue.
Milos – The best, freshest seafood, flown in from around the world, but focusing on the Mediterranean. Steep prices, so clear plenty of room on your Visa. Enhancing the experience is an airy room, done in a modern Greek mode. Groups of up to 60 accommodated in the main dining room; semi-private room, seating 30, also available for special events.
Les 400 Coups – On the eastern edge of Old Montreal, this stylish, upscale bistro features friendly service and a creative, sophisticated menu executed with finesse. Don’t miss the blood-sausage croquette with silky celery root puree; the sweetbreads with maitake mushrooms in raisin-cumin sauce; and at dessert, a dazzling layering of apples, olive oil, pistachios and white-chocolate yogurt.
Jun I – Considered one of Montreal’s top sushi restaurants, Jun I produces some first-rate Japanese fare, infused with global influences, in a low-key, minimalist room realized in soothing earth tones. Desserts (say, apricot-chocolate gingerbread) raise the (Japanese-resto) bar considerably. From Monday to Wednesday, the dining room, seating 45, can be rented out to groups as a corporate meeting and event venue.
Laloux – A Montreal institution for 23 years, Laloux boasts a classic bistro look (hardwood floors, tall mirrors, high ceiling). But the fare is bistro, modernized (say, braised beef cheeks topped with crab on a bed of fork-mashed cauliflower). No private room, but adjacent POP! Lounge available for business events and corporate meetings.
L’Express – This bustling, Paris-style bistro on fashionable and food-mad rue St-Denis dishes up the sort of rib-sticking fare everybody craves: steak frites, pot au feu and other classics of the French kitchen. A touch of the Left Bank in the heart of Montreal.
Raza – Bare-bones room on Laurier West, but Mario Navarrete Jr. puts forth a novel cuisine: Nuevo Latino, with a French accent. Along those lines are such fusion classics as a foie-gras empanada, Navarrete Jr.’s signature dish. Multi-course tasting menus also available.
Toqué – Chef/owner Normand Laprise has mentored an entire generation of Montreal chefs. Curiously, the room has a bit of a bland, nondescript feel, but his creative, generally successful cuisine makes up for a lot. Semi-private room, seating 24, available Tuesday to Thursday for business meetings.
L’Oeufrier – Gargantuan breakfasts served at nine restaurants (four in Montreal and five in the surrounding area). Rooms are as bright ‘n’ cheery as the service staff. Some locations (such as the Westmount restaurant, on Sherbrooke Street West), offer a private room for business meetings.