Hi all, I appreciated the posts of other folks on this board before my recent trip, so I thought I'd add my own.
We ate three fine dinners in three nights: My flight was late, so I missed my reservations the first night at Le Colombe. But my hotelier (Auberge de La Fontaine, excellent place and a huge help, link below) made reservations for us at Au P'tit Lyonnais. (1279 rue Marie-Anne Est). It turns out we were VERY lucky to get them. This sweet place turned out to be the food-highlight of the trip. Wonderful, magical tiny cafe, in a nice little neighborhod, just down the street from our hotel. The staff was very kind, efficient and accommodating. They turned a duce in to a table for three, and gave us gratis port to sip while we waited outside for our table to clear. The food was great (I had a pork loin that was just perfect), and beautifully presented, the cost was very reasonable. Go there and enjoy food as good as you will eat anywhere, and the underlying joy of the place.
The next night we went to L'Express, and it was fine, but a step down from Au P'tit Lyonnais. We always make a point to go to L'Express when we are in Montreal, because we have gone there on every trip there for years, and had some fine meals there. But this time, frankly, the food was and service were a bit flat ( I had the duck confit on a green salad). Uninspired, I guess. And it was noisy and too bright, for me. I think there are better dining choices now.
One of these choices is Le P'tit Plateau (330 Marie-Anne St E), recommended highly on this board. We ate there last. It's a great BYOW cafe. I had the snails, a green salad, a lamb shank with beans and garlic potatoes. Everything was wonderful. The food was as good as I have ever eaten, and the service was excellent. It doesn't quite have the spark of Au P'tit Lyonnais for me, but I'd eat a whole lot of meals there if I lived anywhere near Montreal. I'll be back on my next visit, for sure.
All of these places require reservations, make them as early as possible.
Thanks for your help.