Tag Archives: casual fine dining

Montreal Stop Three – Holder Restaurant (Value in Old Montreal)

After a few leisurely rounds of snow tubing at Mont Royal and a lovely stroll along the ports of Old Montreal, we were eager to visit our third stop on this Montreal food whirlwind. Though we had made reservations for 6:30, we found ourselves at the restaurant well before then, but they were still able to seat us right away. There is no shortage of fantastic restaurants in the Old Montreal area, but we chose to check out Holder because their menu looked great, the reviews were pretty consistent, and the prices were very reasonable.

atmosphere

When you first enter the building that Holder is in, it feels very much like an office building, with a store on the right and Holder on the left. That was a little bit weird, but once you enter the restaurant, you will find that it has a very nice ambiance, with appropriate lighting and separate bar and dining areas. As we were really early, there weren’t very many people in the room.

Service was great at the start. The server was very affirming of our selections and made great recommendations. However, as the restaurant filled up, service started to suffer, and by the end of our evening, we were waiting a ridiculously long time for the server to come around to our table.

what we ordered

Just to put it out there, Holder has a GREAT menu. We literally spent 20 minutes trying to decide what to eat, and we had to ask the server for more time because we just couldn’t decide. The food won us over right from the beginning…even with the bread basket. The portion sizes were great, and the flavour very palpable.

I am not usually a wine drinker but M and guy C thought it would be nice to get something so we got a bottle of 2009 Riesling white wine. I will withhold my comment on the wine, because I really don’t know how to appreciate it, and I don’t want to give an uninformed decision when it comes to this.

Despite changing my mind multiple times when it came to what dish I should get as my appetizer, I finally decided to get the french onion soup ($9.25) to start. A very large soup, It was deliciously subtle, staying true to its flavour without being super salty or cheesy. One of the better french onion soups that I’ve had in my lifetime.

K had the beef tartare ($10.25). I’ve never had beef tartare before, but I ┬áhave always wanted to try it. K thought that the appetizer presented itself as a pleasant surprise – the texture was perfect and the use of onions to punctuate the dish was a welcome touch. The taste was nice with an almost sour and spicy ending. After having some myself, I personally wouldn’t order it on my own, but definitely as a sharing appetizer.

On to the main course. I went with one of the evening specials – the Filet Mignon (I believe it was $32). It came with sweet potato puree and asparagus and a horseradish-esque sauce. ┬áThe meat was so very tender, cooked medium rare instead of medium like I asked, but still so good. The sauce paired really well with the meat, and needless to say, I was in beef heaven.

K got the regular grilled steak ($19. 75) with shallots and house fries. You can see that they really loaded those fries on. Unfortunately, K had actually asked for the fries to be switched to green beans and they forgot about, but as a consolation, they gave the beans to him on the house. The meat wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was filling.

overall

4.0 (out of 5) for food

4.0 (out of 5) for atmosphere

Holder has a really nice and lively atmosphere without being snooty. The prices are very reasonable, and we will definitely be coming here again. There are so many appetizers that we still want to try! Definitely worth a visit, visit Holder at 407, McGill Street in Montreal or take a look at their website (http://www.restaurantholder.com).

C

Holder on Urbanspoon

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Windmills – Casual Fine Dining

Today, after a busy morning at church, K and I decided to head to Windmills for some lunch. Though we’ve been here before, we haven’t visited in quite a while. Interesting side note: Windmills was the first restaurant I ate in when I arrived in Kingston after I got my acceptance to Queen’s. I was in town with my family for SOAR, and we decided to come here for a quick bite.

atmosphere

Despite being close to 2 pm, the place was still bustling. Windmills has a very lively atmosphere in general. It’s a nice place for lunch or brunch, but we haven’t been for dinner because it always seems uncharacteristically expensive for what you’re really getting. For those of you who need (or just enjoy) alternative eating options, Windmills is a very accommodating place. There are vegetarian and gluten-free options. In fact, back in September when K and I decided to try out a holistic diet stint, we definitely contemplated stopping in for some gluten-free pasta.

The restaurant itself is somewhat awkwardly arranged, with bankettes, regular tables, booths, bar stools, and a whole assortment of seating options. It is also nice that they put up local art, which they do change every so often. I asked K if he thought anyone actually bought the art, and he said he would if he had $350 lying around. Unfortunately, we do not, so the pieces continue to hang artistically on the walls.

Also, for those of you who are interested, Windmills has a different deal every day. K and I aren’t really the wine-drinking types, so many of these deals don’t have much of a draw for us, but it’s worth a look!

what we ordered

In the past, we’ve given their breakfasts a try. They are generally quite tasty, though a little pricy for what you’re getting. The burgers also are not bad. Today, K got the Curried Chicken Wrap (9.95) and I opted for the Cajun Chicken Wrap (9.75). Both come with either a soup, salad, or fries. A solid deal for a filling meal.

This is the Cajun Chicken Wrap. The soup of the day was a cream soup with potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and some other veggies. It was nice and hot, with lots in it, but it fell flat in flavour. The wrap, on the other hand, was quite flavourful. However, as someone who eats her wraps by biting one side, then the other, I found it awkward to alternate between wet and dry sides of the wrap. I would definitely recommend trying to get a whole bite of the wrap to lessen the strange oscillation in texture.

This is K’s Curried Chicken Wrap. The flavour was good, but it lacked a bit of chicken. The fruit in the wrap (particularly the grapes and the apples) added a nice crispness to the wrap, which K really liked. I tried a bit of it, but my bias still leaned towards the delicious curried chicken wrap at Aquaterra. The two really are not comparable. The fries were alright, and we appreciated that they retained their potato-y goodness despite being fried.

overall

3 (out of 5) for food

3.5 (out of 5) for atmosphere

Windmills isn’t somewhere we would go regularly, but it isn’t all that bad either. We gave the joint a 3 for food, taking into consideration what we know of the place from our visits in the past. Try it out for yourselves when you get a chance. Windmills is located at the corner of Montreal and Princess (184 Princess Street).

Windmills Cafe on Urbanspoon