We just spent a wonderful weekend in Old Montreal. It was an experience in gluttony in its finest form.
We arrived Friday and stayed at the Auberge Bonaparte on Rue St. Francis Xavier, just behind the Basilica. The Inn is wonderful, quiet and peaceful with good size rooms at a very reasonable rate.
The first thing we did was go hunting for lunch. We entered one of the first places we saw on Rue St. Paul. Le Papillion was more than adequate. I had the Confit de Canard on salad greens, Anne had Moule et Frites in a white wine cream sauce. Both dishes were very good with good size portions. Food was very fresh and pleasantly presented. House wine was an inoffensive Italian. (Pinot Grigio)
Friday evening we dined in the Bonaparte Restaurant. We had heard it described by some as a Bistro, but it is certainly a lot more than that. Their menu is right up there with some of the finer restaurants in this country.
Both my wife and myself had the Desgustation menu.
We both started with Lobster Bisque, which was not too heavy with lots of intense lobster flavor, buttery on the palate.
I then had fois gras terrine, served on baby greens. This was a creamy rendition of a terrine,which tasted as good as it appeared. Anne had Chevre in a filo pastry which was melted exactly the right amount and the filo was nice and crispy.
This was followed by fungi ravioli for me, which was too good to be true. The pasta was so light it seemed to float and the filling of wild mushrooms and, I believe, a cognac sauce was to die for.
Anne had a dish of shrimp and scallop sauted in a sauce of pink peppercorns, a little chile and fresh vanilla. WOW!
We supped a white Cote de Rhone with these dishes.
We cleansed our palates with a delightful lemon sorbet submersed in a sparkling white wine.
Now we were ready for the real food.
I had a Magret de Canard in a blueberry and cranberry sauce. It was terrific, but the cranberries left a tart aftertaste on the tongue. They should have been precooked a little more before meeting the sauce.
Anne had the Veal tenderloin with a reduction sauce that was perfect.
Accompanied with a Chateau Montplaiser Cahor 2001. Beautiful marriage of food and wine.
We finished with a dessert plate of crème Brulee, cheese cake, Chocolate cake and a lemon mouse.(small portions of course).
I would give this restaurant a 8.5 out of 10 for both the food and presentation. Their wine list has a great cross section of wines from a round the globe and all reasonably priced. Service was just the way it is supposed to be. Very attentive, but not rushed.
Saturday morning started with a full breakfast at the Auberge. Choice of fruit, cereals, eggs, bacon sausage crepes, etc. etc. etc. Super!
At noon we met a friend and lunched at Mondavie on St Paul. Nice little French menu. Good food , fast and efficient.
I had the lunch special which was a veal stew. Very flavorful, rich and nourishing. Anne had fried Calamari, crisp and cooked just right. Our companion had the catch of the day (Snapper). Nice and fresh and again very well presented. We washed it down with a bottle of Orvieto Classico which was reasonably priced.
Dinner Saturday evening was at Da Emma in the Old Towne. We were greeted by a stunningly beautiful hostess and it got better from there.
We left the ordering in the hands of our waiter and we were not disappointed. We started with slices of fresh tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella,olive oil and basil. Simple but divine. We followed this with a fettuccine fungi. The pasta was freshly made and cooked to perfection, the sauce was very light,(almost a no sauce sauce) a little olive oil, garlic and mushrooms. Multi Bene!!
I was served the house specialty, Porchetta (roast baby pig). Anne had slow roasted lamb. I have never seen such large portions of meat on a plate in a restaurant in my life. I would swear that I was served the whole pig (without head, tail or feet) and Anne's lamb would have fed a small army anywhere. Both dishes were cooked perfectly, but there was no way we could finish either one. (We sure tried)
That is my first complaint, the second was the markup on the wine. We started with the same wine we hand for lunch at Mondavie; Orvieto, which we paid $32 for. The same wine at Da Emma was $50. There is no way that they can justify this price markup. We also had a bottle of Rosso di Montilcino which we were charged $70 for. If they paid more than $20 wholesale I would be greatly surprised. I would go back anytime for the food, but I refuse to be robbed for the wine. Most of their wines were listed at over $100. These same wines in most restaurants in the country are listed at 30% cheaper.
gimme a break!
We will be back soon to recharge our batteries in other fine restaurants in the wonderful Belle Province de Quebec.