My finacee and I are dedicated and seasoned eaters, and have worked our way through hundreds of restaurants in France, Italy, the U.S., and Canada. Sad to say, we only now and then find ourselves pleasantly surprised by a bistro, and are almost never blown away by one. But on a recent visit to Montreal, we had the pleasure of eating at La Guadriole on recommendations from friends:
The place is small and unassuming, on a lovely street (Laurier est) and with a friendly staff. It is also reasonably priced--you pay between $27 and $38 for appetizer + main course, and desserts run from $4-8. But prices can be deceiving: if Michelin put out a guide for Montreal, this place would easily get a star--in fact, I contend that it would be among the best 1-star restaurants in town.
It is rare that one can say this, but every bite was delicious--not only the centerpieces of each plate, which were each wonderful, but the accompanying vegetables, too. My finacee's homemade ravioli stuffed with venison, porcini pesto and cheese was truly spectacular. My main dish--a venison roast with baked tomato, pesto and red wine sauce--was breathtaking, served over polenta and with a side of baked squash. And my dessert--a chocolate mousse, ginger pot-de-crème on a carrot cake base--was obscene. All through dinner, we kept looking at each other, incredulous: "How can this be so good?"
Please patronize this restaurant--I want to make sure it is still in business during our next visit!