I have been in Montreal 2x in the last 3 months. We've had some OK food but we've a little disappointed, overall. I think its because we're mostly downtown. We liked Le Taj for Indian, but I've had better. L'Avenue in Mont Royal was a nice rich brunch, but I don't thinks its a place I'd rush back to any time soon. Patisserie Moisson is good, D'or has some good breads. Firegrill (a chain restaurant) was decent and open later than others--it was serviceable. There are others that I can't think of at the moment. Basha for a fast lunch was OK, beats McDonald's I guess. Nothing special as a lot. Alexandre et Fils---barely OK, but they are open early and late. So far, most the places downtown are/seem expensive and not all that interesting or tasty. Someone recommended L'Aromate, we got there and found the menu boring, limited and expensive. The "Cuisine Mexicaine" (basically an overpriced taco stand) at the JazzFest was not good at all.
Tonight, I was thinking Casa Tapas or Pintxo, but both have mixed reviews. I'd love to find some excellent reasonably priced Italian ($50-$60 for 2 people, maybe 1 glass of wine, $80 would be the top end). We don't want to dress up as we're in and out of the Jazz Fest--so we need places that will take us casually dressed.
We're open to a good bistro (yes I already heard of L'Express, but there has to be more to life). Italian would be fine. Middle Eastern is great. Seafood is welcome. We're downtown, but we do have a car and metro tickets, so we will travel for great food--say 20 minutes any direction. Is great food really out there in Montreal? I am starting to wonder about this great reputation as a restaurant town.