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Quebec (inc. Montreal) Trip Report

Trip report: Europea, Mas des Oliviers, Miso, Mesa 14, Suite 701 et al (v. long)

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Trip report: Europea, Mas des Oliviers, Miso, Mesa 14, Suite 701 et al (v. long)

Fritzy | May 19, 2006 02:19 PM

I just spent a week in Montreal. I didn’t go there to eat but, of course I did look forward to some good eating. Only two of my meals were deliberate food destinations, the others were more determined by whim or circumstance.

One of the highlights of trip was the evening table d’hote at Europea on rue de la Montagne. I had unsuccessfully tried to get reservations on a day or two’s notice on several previous trips, so I reserved more than two weeks in advance this time. The two table d’hote menus that my date I had were wonderfully presented and tasted delicious. They have an on-line site with full menus so you can read them for yourself: www.europea.ca. Pan seared duck foie gras over a truffle flavored celery root mash, with reduction sauce; The (very unusual) mushroom tasting plate, and The white truffle oil risotto and wild mushrooms with Champagne Moët et Chandon Sabayon were especially noteworthy. The wait staff was extremely helpful, polite and prompt. The décor was highly agreeable. All in all a perfect eating experience. (People with large appetites, however, might find the portions small; personally I was full. They do have an even longer tasting menu.)

My second highlight was a lunch at Mas des Oliviers. This was approximately my 7th visit in five years. The maitre d’ and senior wait staff came over to shake my hand despite a gap of maybe 9 months between visits. My main course of veal in cream sauce with apples and cognac was excellent and my date pronounced her steak one of the best she had in a long time. As usual the service was very efficient and helpful. I never had a meal there that was anything but excellent, especially their veal dishes. The only negative I can think of is the walls are rather acoustically “live” which makes the place a bit loud when it is full, as it usually is at lunch time.

A Chowhounder a year or so ago mentioned Miso, an Asian Fusion place on Ste-Catherine corner of Atwater, as a good place for weekend breakfasts (Sat & Sun 11 to 3pm), so I decided to give it a try at 11 on Saturday morning. I stuck with the classic eggs benedict. It was well-prepared with nicely seasoned potatoes risolées and, unusually, a tomato and bocconcini salad with cottage cheese. The have a large and somewhat unusual breakfast menu. You can read it on-line http://www.restomontreal.ca/portal/miso/
The ambience is quiet and serene. A superior alternative to the better known downtown breakfast places.

I have walked passed Lo Stivale d’Oro on Montagne so many times over the years I had been getting curious about. I had decided on Italian, I was hungry and it started to rain so I thought this was the perfect time to satisfy my curiosity. I ordered from their lunch time table d’hote (about $23) with veal marsala as the main and a carafe of house wine to go with it. The meal was perfectly correct, but also perfectly ordinary. The seats by the window looking out on Montagne are nice (or they will be when the road construction stops). My curiosity was satisfied but there are certainly better Italian places downtown to eat and others with better value.

Another whim was on another day: There are no Mexican restaurants in the town where I live so I had an urge to eat Mexican. Although I realize one has to leave the downtown core to eat good Mexican in Montreal, I was feeling lazy and decided to try Mesa 14 on rue Bishop which I believe was mentioned on this board once. The food itself was middle of the road Tex-Mex (limited lunch options) but the ambience on the first floor is cozy. There is a cozy lounge around the bar and big window. There are a few nice private booths and another lounge with a fireplace further back – all looked very nice. There is a small sidewalk terrace. I didn’t go upstairs to the larger dinning room. All in all, a comfy alternative to the more popular downtown Mexican places especially if one likes it a bit quieter.

I had a business meeting at the Hotel Place d’Ames and when it was over about 25 of us went down to the adjacent Suite 701 mostly for drinks and socializing. But as the afternoon wore on we got hungry. The food there is prepared by the adjacent Aix cuisine du Terroir so I was curious what we might get. I ordered was described on the English menu, very unpromisingly, as “macaroni and cheese with fresh crab.” Fortunately it was much, much better than it sounded. Penne pasta in a creamy, cheesy white sauce thoroughly suffused with rich, fresh crab flavor. It was delicious! My neighbor’s rabbit “wings” were pronounced delicious as were various seafood platters. All portions were very generous. The décor is elegant and the drinks exotic. While this was not really a dinner, it certainly was far beyond bar food. (They should however get someone else to do their English translations.)

I mentioned last year the basement at Ogilvy’s department store has a great delicatessen for take out if one is staying downtown. They have at least tripled their seating capacity if you want to eat on the premises. I had some fine seasoned chicken, the best potato salad I’ve ever eaten and a bottle of beer. There is also wine and hard stuff. A niffy informal place to eat if you are shopping downtown. Good quiches too.

Finally, the bakery Premiere Moisson 1490 Sherbrooke W. makes an excellent quiche if you happen to be staying in that area.

Link: http://www.restomontreal.ca/portal/miso/

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