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Posts Tagged ‘by the Champ de Mars metro’

A comforting sign on the sidewalk bears the image of a cartoon sumo wrestler. Diners walk up a flight of stairs to the hole in a wall on the second floor. Multiple portable air conditioners and fans occupy every available window and at least one other one by the cash register, which displays a few Japanese snacks for sale, keeping the place reasonably cool during the summer. Diners sit at tables covered in plastic and peruse a menu with items ranging from the promised ramen (replete with helpful picture and labels), to edamame or eel appetizers and mochi ice cream dessert. I got #8, the beef ramen, the both times we’ve dined here. The large, satisfying bowl includes house-made ramen noodles (not the squiggly instant noodles, in case anyone was wondering), bean sprouts, half a medium-boiled egg, thinly sliced beef, corn, scallions, dried garlic stems. The miso broth was a tad salty and the soya broth less so. Prices are reasonable. The clientele seems to be mostly young people and families.

Metro: Place d’Armes

1007 Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Rue de la Gauchetiere Ouest

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It’s definitely the season for ice cream, and one of the best places to get it on the Old Port is a small ice cream shop and crepe cafe distinguishable by its wooden cut-out of an iconic blonde in a poofy little red and white checkered dress by the door. It’s one of four or five ice cream shops right next to each other, but it’s worth waiting until you get to this one because the others are low-quality compared to the simple and refreshing ice creams at this place. Choices range from vanilla and chocolate soft serve, various hard ice creams, and a couple of sorbets. Service is friendly and helpful – although sometimes more helpful than efficient, as I experienced one time when my ice cream cone was dunked no less than three times into the hot chocolate shell topping, causing it to melt immediately in my hands. I disprove of their use of gummies in lieu of marachino cherries, but that might be the only hitch. They accept Interac and some credit cards and during the summer are open “until there are no people left,” which is sometimes midnight. There are several tables inside and outside, though there are other nearby public benches and places to lean while you eat.

metro: Champ de Mars, Place d’Armes

31 rue de la Commune Est and Rue Saint-Gabriel and Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste

See my July 2011 review here.

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It’s definitely the season for ice cream, and one of the best places to get it on the Old Port is a small ice cream shop and crepe cafe distinguishable by its wooden cut-out of an iconic blonde in a poofy little red and white checkered dress by the door. It’s one of four or five ice cream shops right next to each other, but it’s worth waiting until you get to this one because the others are low-quality compared to the simple and refreshing ice creams at this place. Choices range from vanilla and chocolate soft serve, various hard ice creams, and a couple of sorbets. Service is friendly and helpful – although sometimes more helpful than efficient, as I experienced one time when my ice cream cone was dunked no less than three times into the hot chocolate shell topping, causing it to melt immediately in my hands. I disprove of their use of gummies in lieu of marachino cherries, but that might be the only hitch. They accept Interac and some credit cards. There are several tables inside and outside, though there are other nearby public benches and places to lean while you eat.

metro: Champ de Mars, Place d’Armes

31 rue de la Commune Est and Rue Saint-Gabriel and Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste

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This is one of the better steak houses in a touristy quarter that has many mediocre steak houses. While the food is tasty and well-presented for a steak house, demerits are taken for slow and haphazard service and noticeably greasy and smudged plates. My husband and a dinner companion noted that the tap water tasted funny, but I did not notice this myself.

I asked the server to replace my bread plate, but didn’t get it until the second bread basket arrived. Our second bread basket was steaming hot, but had probably been microwaved, as it immediately turned chewy when exposed to air. The spinach salad looked great. Portions are what you’d expect from a steak house. My juicy and tender prime rib arrived with tasty fried onions, barely garlicky garlic mashed potatoes, fresh horseradish, and jus. I didn’t quite have room for it, but attempted a very gluey slice of cheesecake, which probably should have been chilled a bit more, topped with cherries in syrup.

metro: Champ de Mars

25, rue Saint-Paul Est and rue Saint Jean Baptiste

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Charles Dickens supposedly wrote one of his lesser known novels in a back corner of this otherwise nondescript and forgettable resto. I cannot recommend this resto, unless you are a starving tourist in Old Montreal who values quantity over quality.

While my four lamb ribs were delicious, juicy, and well-seasoned, the pesto pasta they accompanied lacked all flavor, color, texture and volume – this is unfortunate coming from a restaurant named after pasta. Pesto is hardly a difficult sauce to pull off. My husband, who wasn’t hungry to begin with, made do with the limited salad bar option which came with my main course. If one considers the bread basket, salad bar, and main course together, than this is a “value” restaurant. The waitress, while friendly enough, was spacey and unresponsive.

Markedly out of place was a blackboard filled with a wine list of expensive boutique wines from all over the world, in odd contrast to the value food menu; neither the decor, the menu offerings, nor service seem to warrant such oenological grandeur.

metro: Champ de Mars

273 rue Saint-Paul Est and rue Saint-Claude

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The disclaimer here is that I have never before had Haitian food. That being said, I enjoyed my two experiences at Ibiscus, a relatively new contemporary Haitian resto in Old Montreal. Across the street from the Bonsecours Market, it is just far enough not to be bothered by the noisy tourist throng just a half block away. It was difficult to compete with the tourists to get a table during the summer, and harder still to remember that they are closed Monday and Tuesdays, but it seems a bit easier to get seated now that we’re midway through autumn. Servers are pleasant and professional.

My husband and I split the appetizer sampler, and enjoyed the selection of the appetizers offered, especially the fried kibby – though beware the clear sauce; it’s hot! For the main course, we had the fried sour orange pork, which was a little too dry for my taste, and  the goat tasso. I have to confess, I don’t much care for plantain, and theirs seemed particularly dry and starchy, but that’s just a matter of personal taste. Overall, I did think that the food was a bit dry and I would have liked a bit of a sauce for each course, though perhaps that’s merely a sign of my ignorance of Haitian food. Food presentation is also a bit clunky. I suspect that my willingness to come back is due more to the exotic appeal of eating unfamiliar food than anything else, though there is no serious flaw to be found within the resto itself.

One night, we were told that they were gearing up for live music, and would have to pay a cover charge if we lingered much longer. Some people might enjoy that sort of thing, but I usually find restaurant musicians to be too loud.

Metro: Champ de Mars

343 rue Saint-Paul Est and Rue Gosford

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Perhaps one of the nicest (and most expensive) restaurants in Old Montreal, this is a lovely, pretentious place to save for a special occasion – or for that special someone. The décor is marketplace chic, complete with fresh apples as table centerpeice, and has a small gift selection of spreads and spices. Service is smart and attentive, presentation is fantastic as well as the French contemporary food. Very detailed-oriented. Save room for dessert. Arriving early, we were able to dine and get out within 1 1/2 hours to catch a movie. ~$120 for two 3-course meals without drinks.

311 St. Paul E. at Rue St. Claude

metro: Champ de Mars

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