For New Yorkers, Montreal is a little slice of France a mere six and a half hours away. Our girls' weekend up in the city nominally began as a trip to the 32nd annual Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, then quickly evolved into an opportunity to eat, drink and dance.
Friday Night Disappointment: Verses Restaurant
This restaurant received fairly high marks from other guests, so maybe they were having an off night. I'll start with the positive: they offered a list of 40 wines under $40, which was perfect for dinnertime. Unfortunately, the service went downhill after we ordered our mains. The food and service were uninspired.
Plateau Lounge W Hotel
One of the nicest things about staying at W Hotels is that they always include a cocktail lounge. The W Montreal has two spots to choose from -- the high-energy nightclub Wunderbar and the far more low-key Plateau Lounge. The lounge has a short, thoughtful cocktail menu offering great signature concoctions like the Blood Orange Margarita. For a dynamite off-menu drink, try the Sidecar.
Photo by hillypill
Saturday Brunch in Old Montreal
Our concierge at the W suggested Le Cartet for brunch. Described as a "Resto Boutique,” the restaurant offers communal indoor seating, though we were lucky enough to score an outside table. Everywhere we dined in Montreal had monster, American-sized portions, and Le Cartet was no exception. The Brunch d’Atlantique included scrambled eggs, a half-bagel and a sweet potato cake, all with smoked salmon, plus a complementary mesclun salad and fruit. All of the brunches included a coffee and juice, though you could also add a mimosa for an extra fee. Delicious and filling, plus the coffee was very good.
Slammin' Saturday Night on St-Laurent Boulevard
We arrived at Globe for a late dinner around ten. We were starving, so we ordered the grilled brie with fruit and toast. That turned out to be more than enough for our party of 4. The wine list was pretty comprehensive --we were able to find a pleasant Sancerre for $60. I ordered a succulent pork loin with rice, chorizo, piquillo peppers and shrimp -- very tasty. An excellent spot with a lot of energy.
Dinner wrapped up around midnight, just as the place was getting too velvet-ropey. A few of our friends headed over to meet us, and since we didn't want them to have trouble getting in, we checked out a place called Factory a few doors down. It was quiet; we were able to nab a large table by the window. Our server was very nice, but he gave us the worst red Sangria I've ever had. We quickly figured out that we should keep the drinks simple -- beer, gin and tonics, etc. The rest of the group arrived around twelve-thirty, which is when the place really got hopping. The crowd was a mix of the backwash from the velvet rope places and people like us, who were seeking a more egalitarian experience. Factory had a nice sized dance floor in the back and a DJ spinning pop tunes. I'd give it two stars for drinks, but four stars for dancing.
Unfortunately, most places in Montreal close at 3:00A. We could have rolled for a few more hours but without any knowledge of the
underground nightlife scene, we had to wrap up an otherwise awesome evening.
Elegant Sunday Dinner
Bonaparte is old school French, which I mean in the most loving possible way -- great service, fine food and superb attention to details. Our party was a large one at eight people, but that didn’t hamper the always spot-on service. After scoring a nice Chablis for $50 off the wine list, we ordered from the $32.95 Table d'hote, which offered a surprising variety of starters and mains. I started with a simple mesclun salad with a vinaigrette, while a member of our party had a venison terrine to die for. Mains included an OK lamb chop with lamb confit, plus a very good pan-seared cod and chicken with mustard sauce. An affordable but civilized experience.
Photo by hillypill
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Posted by hillypill (Gwynn Turner)