Wanted to come back to say thank you to everyone for your great suggestions you provided me a few weeks ago on our first spontaneous trip to Montreal for new years. We had a great time - thoroughly enjoyed the food and will definitely be returning.
The timing of the trip made it unfortunate as many of the recommended places were closed or booked but here is the lowdown: (I've never done a review before so please don't expect eloquency....)
Thursday was a late lunch at L'express. Started w/ warm goat cheese (loved the little pickles for the table). Next I had the lamb which was good but slightly overcooked. The potatoes au gratin and green beans were very good - my date had the duck which was cooked perfectly and the fig sauce complimented it so well. Ended w/ a selection of cheeses - our favorite was an adventure "Pied de vent". We just ordered it for something to try - our waiter couldn't even tell us about it but it was mild and flavorful and our favorite.
After the show that night was a late snack at BU - oversized mushroom crostini (loved it) and caprese. All of the ingredients were really fresh and we enjoyed flights of wine - one of which interestingly had 1 white and 2 reds. A comfortable yet hip space, i liked the area alot.
Next day we had to fulfill our native's demand on Schwartz's for lunch. I'm not one for standing online to eat anywhere, but i have to say it was worth it and a great local experience. Sitting at the counter was a plus. Loved the smoked meat and steak. I'm looking forward to clearing the arteries out after that meal.
That night was Au Pied du Cochen. What a great night, I wouldn't have changed a thing. We were seated at the bar (it was all we could get w/ our reservation) but it was perfect. We started w/ a seared fois gras appetizer with a pancake, bacon and maple syrup with glasses of champagne. It was decadent. I had an amazing lamb shank where the meat literally fell off the bone and my date had a stew (can't remember what type, it wasn't AS good but still wonderful) but both of us definitely loved the lamb shank. A top ranking meal.
Saturday we stayed indoors exploring the underground - no big dining experiences. Went back to the hotel w/ some market finds (bread, cheese, pate, wine) and stayed in. Reservations were tough that night and didn't want to go somewhere just to go somewhere.
Cute: a cab driver recommended Thursdays when we asked for a good "local" bar...we stopped in and had fun. It was very low-key and genuine. Oh, we also saw Newtown and were wondering what on earth our "supposed" food snob liked about it? It was so not our kind of place. THANKS for steering us clear of going there on the recommendation!
It was great to get a local experience with the wonderful restuarants recommended to us along w/ being tourists doing the "Montreal thing". Everywhere we had wonderful service, wacky cab drivers and left loving the city. Can't wait to return. Thanks again for all of your input, everyone!
Happy new year!