Montreal is just over the New York/Canadian border, about a 40 minute drive into Canada. While a lot of people only think of Montreal as a bachelor party or underage drinking destination, Montreal is a fabulous weekend destination, and offers travelers delicious food, a European feel and plenty of outdoor activities. Dan, our friend Pryor (a frequent wareontheglobe traveler) and I, spent a long weekend in Montreal over the 4th of July this summer. Yes, just the three of us. We drove from Princeton, New Jersey to Montreal on a Thursday night and back on Monday evening. It was an easy drive, a fun trip and a great way to spend a long weekend!
Ah, yet another great restaurant in Montreal! And this one is quite reasonably priced!
Juliette et Chocolat’s specialty is, what else, chocolate! The main feature is a laundry list of chocolate from all over the world that Juliette et Chocolate makes into European sipping chocolate. The list runs the gamut from milk chocolate to super dark chocolate, and lists the country, a description and the cacao percentage.
The sipping chocolate comes in two sizes and is accompanied by a chocolate bon bon! These sipping chocolates are delicious, but very filling…
Montreal is home to a lot of amazing restaurants, but Olive et Gourmando just might be my favorite…I cannot go to Montreal without stopping here! Olive et Gourmando is a cute café located in Old Montreal, not too far from the entrance to Bota Bota (the best spa!). It serves breakfast and lunch and is incredibly popular! And for good reason. I asked Dan what I would say about it and he just said: delicious.
Dan and I’s favorite thing is the Le Poached Egg On Your Face breakfast sandwich!! I cannot tell you enough good things about this sandwich. The sandwich is a pressed Panini with spicy poached eggs with herbs and mayonnaise, comté cheese, speck and slow roasted tomatoes. It is plainly amazing. It is also big enough to split between two people. Here are some pictures of that beautiful sandwich:
Joe Beef – the acclaimed (and distinctly hipster) restaurant in Old Burgundy, Montreal that gets rave reviews on all Montreal food shows, magazines, etc. Is it as great as everyone makes it out to be? In my opinion, yes, and no. Yes, the food is fantastic, the menu is creative and ever changing and the chef certainly makes the most out of seasonal foods. However, no; the restaurant is rather hipster-pretentious and makes you want to continuously ask the waitstaff – are you freaking serious? For example, our waiter was wearing a t-shirt with a wolf (or a cat, Dan and I disagree on that one…) on the front. Every time he tried to snub us (or anyone for that matter), I couldn’t help but think dude, you have a wolf on your shirt.
In any case, all hipsterness aside, Joe Beef is certainly worth a visit for the food! Just be prepared to put up with the staff and some of your fellow diners.
Dan and I have been to Joe Beef twice. Once in 2012 when we had the amazing foie gras double-down (maple drunk smoked cheddar and bacon with chicken-skin mayo sandwiched between two health cakes of deep fried foie gras), pictured below, which they sadly no longer serve. They claim it was a joke. No way. They thought they were being funny, it was really popular, probably due to Anthony Bourdain, so they took it off the menu. I’m still annoyed by this. BRING IT BACK!
In any case, we dined at Joe Beef again during the summer of 2015. To my disappointment, no double down. The food was still amazingly delicous, even sans the Double Down. Per any self-respecting hipster establishment, the menu is written on the wall, in French, as is the wine list. If you do not speak French, one of the waiters will begrudgingly assist you. Don’t let this dissuade you. Half of the city doesn’t speak French.
This summer, we started with three appetizers. To clarify, there were three of us at dinner. The first was a salad with a homemade garlic burrata. The burrata was so good. It was totally fresh and made with garlic and greens from Joe Beef’s garden out back. This dish was so, so good. The pictures does not do it justice. We finished it all.
In addition to that, we order the smoked meat croquettes. As you may know, smoked meat is a Montreal speciality and a big part of Québécois cuisine. The croquettes were somewhat plain for Joe Beef, but I still loved them! They were topped with a bit of mustard, pickle and dill!
To round out our starters, we took the fried soft shell crab dish. As usual, you can’t go wrong with soft shell crab, and this was cooked wonderfully and paired with fresh vegetables, again from Joe Beef’s on-property garden. We ended up dipping these into the burrata!
For my main, I ordered the Spaghetti with Lobster (aka Homard). This dish was fantastic and contained so.much.lobster. The size and amount of lobster made it well worth the hefty price tag (about $45). Seriously, it was great. I would order this again in a heart beat. Like summer in New England, lobster is in-season and ubiquitous in Montreal in the summer. You can find it at almost every restaurant and it is truly celebrated! Don’t visit Montreal in the summer without trying the hommard!
Dan went with a lamb sausage and crepe. The plate was huge and well plated, but unfortunately it wasn’t that great.
Finally, Pryor ordered the trout. It was good (much better than the lamb sausage), but my lobster spaghetti was the winner!
After all that, we decided that we would split only two desserts. However, our waiter brought us the wrong one so we ended up with three desserts (two for free)! The pictures did not come out great (it was really dark by this time) but here are two of them. They were all great!
And just for fun, here is a picture of my amazing ice cream, cheddar cheese sundae from 2012. I still dream about it. If you are lucky enough to find this on the menu, order it.
Steal Our Dinner
Joe Beef – 2491 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, QC H3J 1N6, Canada. T: +1 514-935-6504. Reservations are essential and can be made online, but always seem to be “full.” I think that is a bit of a ploy. I recommend calling the restaurant directly. We did that on both visits and got a reservations about three weeks in advance without issue. A month would be better.
If you cannot get a reservation, Joe Beef’s sister restaurant, the Liverpool House, uses the same kitchen and seems to be easier to get a reservation.
On a Budget
There’s really nothing to do on this one.