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Posts Tagged ‘by the Square Victoria metro’

It’s been a while since I’ve done a restaurant review. My husband and I have started to notice that we might have been patronizing the more mediocre restos in the area. Uh-oh. More research required!

Fortunately, this one isn’t one of them and we’ve been here many times in the past several weeks.

Holder does a satisfying weekend brunch. My Eggs Benedict came with a cute cake of Potatoes Dauphinoise and a nice fruit salad. On another occasion, their fish and chips were very nice – served hot, not too oily, and very tender and juicy on the inside.

For dinner, it’s important to get reservations or be told there aren’t any tables until after 9pm. It’s a bustling place with a sort of masculine energy during the week, as at least 60%-70% of the evening diners are groups of businessmen and the volume level is quite loud despite the lack of music. The bar has prominently displayed bottles and is well-stocked, seeming to have just about every whiskey imaginable.

The vegetable soup is fairly good, with rustic hunks of vegetables nestled in a tomato soup, which my husband says is like a minestrone without the noodles. The French onion soup is also very good, with a crusty top and dark broth soup that’s mostly onion. Tender fried calamari with just enough breading are also a good bet. I can heartily recommend the shepherd’s pie, which is a sophisticated mold of a very rich dish. Also, the unusually thick piece of calves liver. You get the idea – Holder is a keeper. The chocolate crémeux, coffee ice cream, cocoa and coffee sauce for dessert didn’t hurt, either.

Service is fairly good, though it is a busy restaurant. Pricing is reasonable for what it is.

Metro: Square Victoria

407 Rue McGill, #100A and Rue Saint-Paul Ouest

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Osteria Venti – or is it Venti Osteria? – is a small bistro, with a small bar area with flat-screen TV and small dining area beyond. It’s located on the quiet side of Old Montreal, but the noise inside is rather loud and I left with a headache after having to shout through my dinner conversation. I’ve been trying to get reservations here for a while, and finally, while heading to another place, we stopped inside “just in case” and got seated at a table right away. But then we sat for an interminable time waiting for service. Service was extremely slow once we were seated, whether it was to bring us something to drink, to take our order, or to bring our food. Fortunately, the food is delicious and has that delightful Italian simplicity that many Italian restos lack.

We shared an enjoyable yet forgettable eggplant mush on toast and a delightful caprese salad, which consisted of various sizes and colours of tomatoes with just the right amount of basil, olive oil, and salt. After another long wait, my husband got delicate ravioli stuffed with radicchio and rabiola cheese tossed in chervil butter sauce and I got wonderfully fluffy little ricotta gnocchi which were like little clouds of ricotta in a simple tomato basil sauce. Both were half portions, and were just the right amount. All told, two appetizers, two half portion main courses, and one latte came to over $50. We drank tap water.

This could be a romantic restaurant if it weren’t so loud inside, and despite the difficulty with getting a table, terrible service, and expense, this would still be worth a repeat visit.

Metro: Place d’Armes and Square Victoria

372, Rue Saint-Paul Ouest and Rue Saint-Pierre

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This seafood restaurant sits at the edge of Old Montreal, away from the port area. It has air conditioning in the summer and subtle piquant decorating via chandeliers and an intriguing mural of fish and human figures. This is a simple place without frilly names on the menu.

We were gently pressed to order cocktails, but since we don’t ordinarily drink we declined. For starters, the garlicky and buttery escargots were good, served without shells. The dark, rich lobster bisque was also good. A shrimp puree amuse bouche in a small cornet was served in between the appetizer and entree. I got the bland Filet de doré – meunière with the “house fries” or frites. The Saumon d’Atlantique – hollandaise also looked very mild, served with steamed vegetables and uninspired rice. I got the choco-raspberry “Delmo” mousse for dessert.

There were few people when we dined there, though I had called ahead for reservations. Service was fine.

Metro: Square Victoria

275 Rue Notre Dame Ouest and Rue Saint Jean

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This is a busy bistro on the very edge of Old Montreal, just a stone throw’s distance from where the Occupy Montrealers had set up this fall. I usually go to this place when I forget where Boris Bistro is (a block down the street – they need a bigger sign). Neither is a bistro for which I would go out of my way, but if you’re stuck in the area, both are acceptable options.

The waitstaff are energetic and wear crisp orange aprons. The food is conventional bistro fare, with a couple soups, salads, tartars, and burgers. I’ve been sticking to the hamburger with cheddar, but the salmon tartar looks to be good, as well. These two dishes come with a large side salad in simple vinaigrette dressing and a generous portion of shoestring fries in a cup. The most memorable part about this bistro is the bit of wet maple sugar they serve with their tea and coffee.

Metro: Square Victoria

425 Rue McGill and Rue le Moyne

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On one hand, this cramped upscale mart/cafe/brunch bistro has identity issues, right down to the Rorschach-like artwork on the wall; on the other hand, it’s a youthful, pleasant place for brunch if you can get a seat and the food is reasonably priced for the quantity and quality.

Food first. Diners either sit at small tables along the wall, or at a long communal table down the middle of the narrow establishment. Service is friendly, but during peak times can be brusque. The energetic brunch ambiance seemed more conducive to dating couples rather than families. I spotted some of the diners enjoying their bacon and eggs straight out of a cast iron pan. My sizable brunch order came on a large plate. It included: a skewer of fresh fruit, a simple side salad, a mild cheddar-like cheese, scrambled egg on toast, a hot scoop of fried salmon and potato, and a ham and cheese croissant. It also came with a coffee and an amuse bouche, a small cube of what seemed like a cream cheese danish, both of which we got after the entrée after asking for them. My husband enjoyed his brunch atlantique, but was miffed that they refused to allow him to substitute bacon for eggs.

The tiny mini-mart section had a small selection of prepared foods and high-end olive oils, exotic salts and chocolates – the sort of gourmet items which could be put into a gourmet gift basket. And for those to whom this is important, they sell Illy coffee (as a non-coffee drinker this means nothing to me, but apparently some rate their eateries by the brands of coffee served).

Metro: Place Victoria

106, rue McGill and Rue Wellington

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Dominos delivered quickly after an online order, though perhaps the pizza could have been a little hotter. Quality is similar to what I sampled in RI. Thin crust is thin enough, though there wasn’t enough “normal” quantity sauce.

dominos.ca

634 Rue St. Jacques O. at Rue Gauvin

metro: Square Victoria

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