The food is phenomenal. It's BYOB, no corking fee. The ambiance is lively, almost entirely French, often very loud - but in an amiable way. And it's so affordable, it's ridiculous.
Of course, getting a reservation (or a walk-in table) is somewhat tricky, so you have to think ahead unless you're in it for a late weekday lunch. Happily, on my last day in Montreal, after Scott, M and Nicole had headed back to TO (and I was waiting to catch that unforeseenly horrid flight to Philadelphia), I was able to avail myself of a truly fantastic meal:
That's chicken, cooked in the style of duck confit in an awesome reduction made with wild mushrooms. Even that cabbage in the foreground is absurdly delicious. And I loathe cabbage.
As you can see, I'm a fan of the puddings - sticky toffee everything for the win. This is pouding chomeur, the ironic ne plus ultra for the depression-era francophone on the dole.
I cannot begin to explain the perfect density of that white cake (cooked to order, so it was a bit of a wait, though so worth it). With this dessert, ice cream is a necessary complement a) because it's hotter than hell in Mtl in the summer (and many restos do not have AC) and b) that maple sauce is hella sweet! When ice cream levels the blood sugar, you know that's some good shit :-)
Yes I did bring my own demi of wine, but after this food and a bottle of sparkling water, the entire bill (including tax and a generous tip) came to - no freakin' joke - 35 bucks.
I caught the best of the day as I walked the 'hood (the weather did turn as I waited endlessly at Trudeau airport):
I cannot recommend Montreal enough. It's affordable, the food is awesome, the vistas elegant, the culture lively, the language novel (at least for some). The architecture is great, the style even better and these people know how to have fun. As I've said, many times, Toronto is a meh place to vacation but an awesome place to live. Montreal, on the other hand, is where a happening traveler goes for a visit she's sure to enjoy. Don't know that I'd want to live there, but then - living where I do (a 4 hour train ride from city centre to city centre) - I get the best of both worlds.
So, have you been to Montreal? If yes - what's your fave area / place / thing to do? And if you've been - and you really don't like it - feel free to chime in. It's endlessly fascinating to me how one person resonates with a place while another simply does not.