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Posts Tagged ‘by the Peel metro’

We met a friend for afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. I was actually glad that they only had seatings left at 4:30pm, because that’s close enough to dinner time for me and I always found 2pm or so to be an odd time to eat such a large meal. Fortunately, the Palm Court, where they serve their tea, is straight ahead from the front entrance, so it was easy to find. It’s a surprisingly small space, so I’d imagine that during peak times it might be difficult to get a reservation for tea. The lounge area is decorated with sofas and luxury seats around coffee tables, which was nice. A fire burned in the fire place, light glittered off the chandeliers, and in addition to the palm fronds painted onto the high ceiling, there was indeed an actual little palm by the entrance. There was also a tray advertising the tea service, and I wondered at the fancy tea pot featured there, as we were served using serviceable plain white pots.

We selected our teas and received our own pots with our selected tea bags, which were refilled after a while with hot water. They did not have a decaf option. The tea refreshments were served on tiered dishes. I have to say that the scones – plain and cranberry – were the best so far I’ve experienced for afternoon tea. They were large, warm, light, and delicious. Perhaps we could have done with a little more of the jams, which included a delightful rose jam and current jam in addition to devonshire cream. Then came the tiny finger sandwiches, which while nicely seasoned and constructed, seemed to have been sitting around a little too long as the bread was a bit hardened and stale on top and a bit damp on the bottom…perhaps leftover from the first tea seating. My favourites were the tomato sandwich and the cucumber sandwich, though the egg salad sandwich and salmon sandwich were also good. The pastries, a selection of various things, could have been better, I think, but at that point in the meal we were all mostly full anyway. The carrot cupcake was dry and flavourless, the chocolate layer cake soaked in an orange liquor I didn’t care for, but the cream puffs were ok as was the round pound cake with the dome of cream and jelly. Odd that they did not provide us each with our own pastries, but instead had a selection so that we had to divvy them up ourselves or split them so that we could try each.

Overall, this was my second favourite afternoon tea experience in Montreal. The ambiance and decor were quite satisfying for the whole business of afternoon tea. The scones were the best, the finger sandwiches pretty good, and the pastries disappointing. The price was the most expensive thus far for afternoon tea, at $32/person before taxes and gratuity. It’s hard to find the number to call to make reservations – I found it by looking it up on a blog – and there’s virtually no information on it on the hotel website. Service was somewhat perfunctory, though I suppose with afternoon tea your main need is refilling the tea pot and cream pitcher.

1228 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest and Rue Drummond

metro: Peel

Bus: 24

tel: (514) 842-4210 ext. 1222

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This is a small, simple French bistro serving two prix-fixe menus – the special and the  table d’hote. The special is a simple butter lettuce salad with walnuts, thin steak with mustard sauce, frites; the other menu will give you the same plus a soup and profiteroles for an extra $6.95, though I’ve never had room for all of that. My favourite dessert is the peche melba, which is a tall sundae goblet of buttery vanilla ice cream topped with canned peach halves, whipped cream, and toasted almond slivers. The traditional profiteroles are also good. Diners can look out the windows at passers-by in the bustling downtown area, or can look at themselves in the wall mirrors. We’ve never needed reservations.

2022 Rue Peel at Blvd. de Maisonneuve O.

metro: Peel

See my Sept. 2009 review here.

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I’m upgrading my rating for the Law Café, Avvocato (get it? Anglophones, look up the French word for “lawyer” and you’ll get it), which is my new favourite eaterie on campus.

I’ve been increasingly getting lunch from the takeout law school café at McGill, located in the basement bowels of Chancellor Day Hall. Of course, there are several kinds of coffee – both Starbucks and free trade – and other beverages in the cooler, including plain, strawberry, and chocolate milk. It has a minimal selection of snacks, pastries, self-serve salads, prepackaged sushi, flatbread pizza, prepared sandwiches, and soups. I’ve come to notice the to-order pasta station with a selection of meat or tomato sauce and plain pasta or ravioli or tortellini for a reasonable price (a little over $4) and a slightly more expensive (~$8-$9) hot daily special. Some recent selections included braised sausage with onions, tender herb potato quarters, and corn; moist and tender roast beef, mashed potatoes, and tasty and crisp two-coloured green beans. I was well-pleased with both, in both portion and quality. During the summer and on Fridays in September, there was an outdoor barbecue grill with juicy hamburgers and hot dogs and a selection of condiments. I like that the head honcho of Avvocato is so enthusiastic and likes to try new things. The food offerings are good for on-campus fare, and I’m not eating it just because I have no where else to go. I actually like the food.

The only major drawback of this establishment, and why it does not receive a perfect A, is the routine bottle-necking by the cash register, which can mean a wait of several minutes even when there’s only one other person in line. The staff are friendly and like to chat, leaving one often standing with an increasingly hot and moist takeout container in their hands.

Not being even remotely affiliated with the law school, I’m not comfortable eating in the spacious dining area – besides, lawyers and future lawyers give me the willies. As with many on-campus dining options, the café mostly closes when the undergraduates leave. There’s a snack vending machine in the hallway, but not enough for lunch.

Metro: Peel

3644 Rue Peel and Avenue Docteur-Penfield

See my April review here.

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The Montreal Fine Arts Museum has an extensive collection and makes effective use of their modern spaces. It’s best not to try to cram everything into one exhaustive visit, but to repeatedly go back to view specific sections (a tip which I routinely forget and remember again around the Napolean floor). Even one pavilion could take multiple trips. And why not? The majority of the museum is free of charge, including audioguides; usually only the special large-scale exhibitions have entrance fees. Large crowds can form at the ticket counter for new and especially popular exhibits like the Tiffany exhibit and the recent Jean Paul Gaultier fashion exhibit. The special exhibits are well thought out and worth the fee. The Miles Davis exhibit last year was enormous and included multiple listening stations to experience music from various periods of his career. The current special exhibition features iconic pop art by Tom Wesselmann.

There are four multilevel pavilions. The stairs in the contemporary glass pyramid-shaped Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion are frustratingly shallow and better suited to a cascading water display than for walking, but they look nice. This pavilion is the only entrance to the museum, despite being spread out across the street. Medieval art is on the top floor, working down to contemporary art in the basement level and special exhibition level in between. There is a pleasant café for lunch on the second level.

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion is across the street, which distinguished columns and stone steps proclaim that it is a Museum, although one may only enter through the building across the street. Figurines, pottery, masks, and statues from around the world are displayed in this more traditional set up. The Liliane and David M. Stewart houses furniture and design items – decorative arts that perhaps might be seen in someone’s home. The Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion has all of the Quebec and Canadian art. Paintings, sculptures, and Inuit sculptures can be found at this newest pavilion of the museum.

By the Guy-Concordia metro or the Peel metro

1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest and Rue Crescent

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We have dinner here regularly due to its close proximity to McGill. We don’t need reservations when we go early, but the restaurant fills up especially on weekends.

This ethnically authentic, upscale resto has perhaps the best East Indian food downtown. It caters to all audiences – families, groups, business associates, and intimate pairs will all enjoy themselves – and the ornately presented bilingual menu has a pleasing selection. Dishes are presented on gorgeous copperware and diners eat on Taj plates. Service is exceptional. Subtle music allows diners to speak at normal volume. Minimalist Indian decor includes an erotic print on the back of the wine list.

I sometimes start with a freshly made cup of chai. We often order the tightly rolled pappadum and enjoy the tasty condiments served with it. We tend to skip the appetizers, and order a couple of the entrees to share instead. Some of my favorite dishes include the moist and tender lamb tikka, the Bombay curry shrimp, and the butter chicken. The mixed rice and various freshly made naans offer a nice complement; portions are just right. Super nutty kulfi and warm, homey gulab jamun finish off the meal.

Taj also offers a tasty mostly vegetarian lunch buffet during the week for $16. While more than one might usually spend for lunch, the food is just as good at lunch as it is at dinner, and there’s even gulab jamun! Somewhat noisy and bustling, but what good place isn’t at lunch time?

2077 Rue Stanley at Rue Sherbrooke O.

Metro: Peel

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On occasion, I get lunch from the no-frills takeout law school café at McGill, located in the basement bowels of Chancellor Day Hall. It has a minimal selection of snacks, salads, two soups, and juicy roast chicken quarters. There might be sandwiches there, too, not to mention several kinds of coffee and other beverages in the cooler. Food quality is what you’d expect from on-campus dining; I usually get the chicken quarters and maybe a soup. Bottle-necking can occur at the cash register during peak times, but the staff are friendly for the most part. Not being even remotely affiliated with the law school, I’m not comfortable eating in the plentiful dining area – besides, lawyers and future lawyers give me the willies. As with many on-campus dining options, the café closes when the undergraduates leave.

Metro: Peel

3644 Rue Peel and Avenue Docteur-Penfield

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The new renovation might improve the kitchen’s efficiency, as it added a wine cellar, coffee station, and shifted the bar close to the new entrance area, however it slightly reduces the seating space and nudges the tables closer together. Some of the former sexy intimacy is lost with the stark whiteness and more generic-looking tables. Fortunately, the food remains the same, and we will continue to include this in our regular rotation.

This ethnically authentic, upscale resto has perhaps the best East Indian food downtown. It caters to all audiences – families, groups, business associates, and intimate pairs will all enjoy themselves – and the ornately presented bilingual menu has a pleasing selection. Dishes are presented on gorgeous copperware and diners eat on Taj plates. Service is exceptional. Subtle music allows diners to speak at normal volume. Minimalist Indian decor includes an erotic print on the back of the wine list.

I sometimes start with a freshly made cup of chai. We always order the tightly rolled pappadum and enjoy the tasty condiments served with it. We tend to skip the appetizers, and order a couple of the entrees to share instead. Some of my favorite dishes include the moist and tender lamb tikka, the Bombay curry shrimp, and the chicken xacuti. The mixed rice and various naans offer a nice complement; portions are just right. Super nutty kulfi and warm, homey gulab jamun finish off the meal.

2077 Rue Stanley at Rue Sherbrooke O.

Metro: Peel

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