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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Montreal Restaurants and Friendship at L'Atelier

Beautiful friends Donna and Michèle (with Mike ♥)

It's good to be home!  We have spent 5 years abroad and the experiences we had were wonderful!  How lucky we have been to see some beautiful places, learn about different cultures and meet some amazing people.  During some of our best adventures:  skiing in the Alps, picking grapes in the Loire Valley, eating pasta in Italy, etc., we would always stop a moment in appreciation and invariably say:  ''Our friends would love this.  Wish they were here''.  Wonderful moments are just that much better when shared with friends!

We are back living in Montreal now and we are picking up where we left off five years ago (this is another sign of great friendships).  We love great food, great wine and trying out new things.  I don't remember Montreal having such a vibrant restaurant scene but am very pleasantly surprised.  Young, talented chefs are now offering a wonderful selection of culinary stops to fit every budget and taste.  

Tony & Rob (with me)
As a group of friends, we thought it might be fun to share our experiences and offer suggestions on the places we think are worth trying.  Our rating system is very technical and complicated (LOL)!  We basically average out what everyone thinks of the meal and evening at the end of the night.  The food carries the highest weight, followed by service, ambiance and price, i.e. the overall experience.
Our first stop was a place called L'Atelier (French site: l'Atelier).  This is a BYOW which makes it very affordable.  It is in a trendy area (Le Plateau) and that makes parking a little difficult.  The ambiance and decor were great (very lively place) and service was excellent.   They offer two sittings on Friday and Saturday:  6pm and 9:15pm.

Most importantly, the food was very good (local, high quality ingredients with some innovative takes).  We shared three starters between 6 people with high marks going to the duck (presented three ways:  rillettes, foie gras and smoked magret).   I had the cherry wood smoked veal ribs and they were exceptional.  Finally, everyone had desert.  Total cost for each couple including tip was $120 (without wine).   

Overall, we gave this restaurant an 8 (after agreeing that ''the evening was a 9 because we were all back together'').  Very good first discovery for dinner with a group of friends.

8♥ (overall rating) - BYOW - 120$ per couple (including tip) - trendy casual- Open daily 5:30pm except Monday