Tag Archives: Montreal

Montreal Stop Four – Juliette et Chocolat (bustling on St-Denis)

The last thing we did in Montreal was that we paid a quick visit to Juliette et Chocolat in the Latin Quarter, which had been highly recommended to us. Even though it was just past 8 pm, it was already quite the popular spot. We lined up for 15-20 minutes, but unfortunately for the group who was behind us, they were still waiting when our food started to arrive.

atmosphere

Do not be deceived – despite this shop being in a “basement”, it was very brightly lit. The space is long and narrow, with some prep action happening right at the front of the store. Also, the cafe was noticeably clad in red, white, and pink, but that might have been because it was close to Valentine’s Day (yes…this post is also long overdue).

As you walk in, you are hit with the smell of deliciousness (i.e. butter and flour). The place looks like it’s going for a local neighbourhood hangout feel for couples and groups. There was something a little bit off about the store, but we soon figured out that it was the lack of appropriate audible background music.

what we ordered

Juliette et Chocolat has a vast menu, with diverse options for chocolate drink, but also many other drinks (alcoholic coffees, smoothies, teas, beer). Generally this wouldn’t be a place I’d go for a full sit down dinner, what with the predominantly dessert-centered menu. They offer crepes (sweet, savoury, and flambe), fondue, ice cream, brownies, and other foods too!

M and I both got hot chocolates. Juliette et Chocolat offers two different types of consistency in their hot chocolate. Grandma style is thicker, whereas classic style is more liquid (the difference is in the amount of milk the drink has). Also, they arrive in this little personal pitcher that you pour into a bowl. We enjoyed that thoroughly.

I got the classic milk ($4.85), which was realllly nice and smooth, and M got the Grandma’s dark semi-sweet ($5.65), which could be likened to drinking delicious frothy chocolate. Both welcome changes to the usual thin hot chocolate you get when you’re on the go. If you let these hot chocolates sit in your cup, though, it solidifies almost into a pudding, which I found really awkward to drink.

The two men decided to kick some caffeine into their system, with guy C ordering a cappuccino ($?) and K getting a coffee ($?). Both had a good aroma to them, but you could taste some coffee grind. (Only the cappuccino is pictured above; the coffee just came in your typical mug)

In addition to the drinks, we also ordered two crepes.

This is the Normandy crepe ($7.85) with apples, ice cream, and chocolate of course. We were expecting some big “Opa!” Worthy flambe, but it actually is lit in a smallish pitcher and then poured over the fruit. You can see the blue flame run in a line across the crepe. Initially you can taste the flambe, but it wanes over time. I preferred this crepe to the following one.

This is the Antillaise crepe ($13.95). The bananas are hidden behind the pineapples in this picture, and this crepe also comes with ice cream. You might be able to tell from the picture, but the fruit in the crepes was mostly canned, with the exception of some of the chunks on the side. We could really taste and see the difference. The vanilla ice cream was really great and smooth, and the crepe was quite good too.

One last thing – perhaps we haven’t been to enough chocolate cafes, but we noticed a couple sitting at another table with fondue, and it wasn’t hot! Rather the two were served a plate of fruit with a small bowl (like what they use to hold creme brulee) full of chocolate. Just wanted to put that out there for any of you hoping to get a chocolate fountain when you order fondue.

overall

3.0 (out of 5) for food

3.0 (out of 5) for atmosphere

All in all, Juliette et Chocolat holds an interesting niche, but it still needs a little more quality for us to place it in the “must-visit” column. This place can’t be compared to the likes of Max Brenner, but it’s a cute little place you might want to visit. It doesn’t seem as if K and I will be back any time soon, but if you’re in the area you can pop by Juliette et Chocolat at 1615 St-Denis, Montréal or online at http://www.julietteetchocolat.com.

C

Juliette Et Chocolat on Urbanspoon

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  have 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.  The 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

Montreal Stop Two – La Banquise (poutines for all!)

No visit to Montreal is complete without a visit to La Banquise. This eatery is located in another hip area of Montreal (but honestly, what part of Montreal isn’t hip?), and it almost jumps out at you in an odd sort of way. The restaurant is seemingly housed in a very large building, and upon entering, you are most likely going to encounter some sort of line up.

atmosphere

Unlike our visit to Schwartz’s, we had to wait for around 10 minutes to get a table. The tables are colourful, the atmosphere is vibrant, and the collection of people is eclectic. Young families, students, and friends alike all gather at La Banquise for one thing: poutine. Sure you might hear orders for burgers or even salads (whaaaat??) But let’s be real, were here for the poutine.

what we ordered

On their delightfully yellow menu you’ll find an enormous variety of poutines. We made our way through three different ones: the classic, rachel, and one frighteningly named the t-rex (yeah, the carnivorous prehistoric predator). In general, the fries are a little sweet, and the curds have an awesome rubberiness to them.

C’s fave was the Classic ($ 5.80). Despite not really having an affinity for poutine, she loved it for the back to basics look and taste. Nothing like some good fries, curds, and gravy.

The Rachel ($ 6.95) was our veggie option, and the others really liked it. It was the classic, but with mushrooms, onions, and green peppers on it as well. You still don’t feel particularly healthy eating it, but the flavour is good.

Last but not least, this was the T-rex ($ 8.55). Despite being so meat-heavy, it was not too salty! Loaded with a smorgasbord of meat, including pepperoni, ground beef, bacon, and sausage, this came in at a close second for C.

overall

3.5 (out of 5) for food

3.0 (out of 5) for atmosphere

The portions are really large here (and we only got the regular), and we warn that you will most likely have trouble finishing a whole one on your own if you mean for it to be a snack. However, this was a great place for a Montreal favourite, and it really brought us back to our memories of heart poutine at the chalet after a whole day of tiring skiing. Check it out for yourself at 994, Rachel Est, Montréal (http://www.restolabanquise.com).

C and K

Resto la Banquise on Urbanspoon

Montreal Stop One – Schwartz’s (but really, who doesn’t stop here?)

Yes! You read that right! We review restaurants in other cities too, make sure you keep an eye out for Vancouver in the future ;)

Over the weekend a small group of our friends decided to mosey on over to Montreal for the day to have some fun and eat some delicious food. Several of our friends have discovered our secret restaurant blog, so during our trip C and I were excited to incorporate a lot of their opinions and thoughts into our Montreal posts. So along with mine and C’s dishes you also get to see M, J, and guy-C’s!

atmosphere

Out of our group (and in our relationship haha) C is the events-planner…this girl loves to plan, so she organized a food-filled itinerary for us and off we went on Saturday morning. Our first stop? Schwartz’s for some delicious (oh my word how delicious) world-famous smoked meat. Now this is where we knew it was going to be an amazing trip. We rolled into Montreal just before 12 and we were able to park ridiculously close to the deli AND we beat the lunch rush (I wish I had taken a picture of the line into the deli after we ate…it was INSANE). We were seated promptly and just as promptly identified as foreigners from the far land of Ontario. One more thing to note is that we were going on a relatively cold winter day and when we opened the door to the deli and that warm, yummy, smoked meaty air wafted into our nostrils we knew that we were in for a good snack.

Our attention was drawn to the simple menu as well as the eclectic group of patrons that Schwartz serves. They seat everyone canteen style meaning that you might be just trying to get your sandwich fix on, but you just might make a new friend while discussing current events and the deliciousity of the sandwiches. I think one of the greatest things about this place is the way that Montrealers talk about it. EVERYONE and their grandmothers knows about Schwartz’s and I think it’s neat for a really great food product to be a unifying thing for a city.

what we got

Anyways. Between the five of us we decided to only get three sandwiches ($5.90/sandwich), since we had plans to go to another restaurant for more food right after eating at Schwartz’s. Beware though! They make it a rule to charge an extra $1.50/person for those patrons who decide to share their wares. When you order their smoked meat you have the option of different cuts: lean, medium, or fatty. We ordered two mediums and one fatty (pffft lean). The medium cut is pictured below.

Now, I have to be incredibly insistent on this guys. Get the FATTY. Please. Just trust me. C is normally anti-fatty meats and she actually enjoyed it much more than the medium cut. M, J, and guy-C also thought that the fatty was the better of the cuts too! Now they all taste the same, but the texture and juiciness and succulentness of the fatty cut is just almost other worldly. It really does make the difference in this sandwich.

Another thing with these sandwiches is you’ll notice the bread:meat ratio is almost borderline impossibly ridiculous. Don’t worry. The actual flavour of the meat is really full and the mustard that they serve is the perfect way to cut into that fullness of the meat. I’m not normally a mustard guy but Schwartz’s has been in business for over 80 years, so I’d trust them on this one.

Schwartz’s also sells blocks of their smoked brisket to be steamed at home right next door, which is exactly where we strolled on over to after our meal. Guy-C and myself couldn’t resist bringing some back with us so that we could both have delicious smoked brisket sandwiches at our leisure (go figure that the only guys on the trip would be ultra-excited about buying massive hunks of smoked brisket haha). Their smoked meat is sold at a unit price of $11.99/lb so buying it can definitely get pricy…but this delicious ambrosia in meat-form is definitely worth it. My only complaint is that I wasn’t able to find any fatty cuts so I had to settle for a medium cut.

overall

4.0 (out of 5) for food

3.0 (out of 5) for atmosphere

I know those scores seem a bit high for a small and cramped place like Schwartz’s but you have to take these scores as representations of the restaurants themselves. While Schwartz’s was very much a deli, being loud and cramped…it was quaint and a nice unifying point for the community of Montreal. It is a deli after all, right?

C and I will definitely be back to visit Schwartz’s and if we can’t manage to get a seat then we will have to get it to go or just buy gigantic blocks of it to bring back home. Speaking of which, we are making what’s left of my block for dinner tonight. Hm, I wonder if they can ship some to Kingston…

Stay tuned for more posts from Montreal ;)

K

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon