Stay and Eat over the holidays in these elegant downtown hotel -restaurants Old Montreal is gussied up to its finest, with snowy streets and twinkling lights and all the romance you could ever want. So hunker down in one of the city’s glam hotels and check out the holiday menus at some of the city’s best restaurants, that you can slip into without weathering the wind outside… If I were coming to Montreal for the holidays, I would want to stay at the Hotel St-James, and I would want to eat Christmas dinner at XO, one of Montreal’s top-rated restaurants. The St-James is old-world elegant at any time of year, but over the holidays, the soaring 19th-century roo is in its element.
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Winter is the traditional season for oysters, though Maestro owner and Maitresse d’hotel Ilene Polansky reminds us that the thing about only eating bivalves in months ending in “r” went out when refrigerated transport containers came in. But December reminds us that oysters are delicious, so we satisfied our craving the other night at Ilene’s Montreal classic, Maestro S.V.P.
2010 has been a busy year for the Montreal Street Profile series. We started with Bleury, Parc, Maisonneuve, Saint-Paul and Saint-Zotique. We visited Crescent, Greene Avenue, Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Denis. For our final installment of the year (hint: make sure to come back in 2011!), we thought a stroll down Mount-Royal was in order, in no small part because it offers some very “a la Montreal” shopping that is perfect for the holiday season… Given that it starts at Mount Royal, it’s not hard to figure out where Mount-Royal Avenue gets its name. Of all the streets we’ve profiled, this one has perhaps the most iconic landmarks of them all: you can look down from its mountainous starting point and see the Big O, where it ends. (Our exploration will a bit shorter than that.) It is a totally charming street, as “Montreal” as they come, especially in the summer when a large portion of it is blocked off from traffic. It boasts some of the city’s classic diners, some great restaurants and cool bars and, while Saint-Catherine may boast the big name stores, Mount-Royal boasts the cool independent shops that you won’t find anywhere else…
Shopping trip with the girls? The Delta Montreal is the hotel for you! Last week, still glowing from a hot tub-sauna-and-manicure splurge followed by an afternoon spent in a heavenly bed, I ran into my neighbour Claudia, and told her: “I’m just back from trying out the girls’ getaway package at the Delta Montreal”. With a quizzical look on her face, she immediately asked: “Sounds fun, but… what IS this getaway package, anyways?”
The who, where, and why you might care. A few days ago after a few late night cocktails at Barroco Restaurant (312 rue St-Paul ouest) in the Old Montreal, gal pal Mary* and I moseyed over to Le Papillon Rose (1071 côte du Beaver Hall) to fete our buddy Josh’s birthday (forever 39, right darling?) Josh – despite being PR man for Hype energy drinks – is a decidedly laidback dude. Mary, then, was a perfect study in contrast when actor Owen Wilson walked through the doorway and she shrieked, “Owen Wilson!” (In her defense, it was a very ladylike shriek; I don’t think everybody noticed.)
Dear American friends, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. For many of you, this time of year represents festive meals and the opportunity to reflect on the blessings in one’s life. Yet for other folks, Thanksgiving is a tired and stress-inducing holiday where you’re forced to wear that god-awful chartreuse sweater that your half-blind aunt knit you while salivating over Don Johnson during a Miami Vice marathon. And let’s be honest, the embarrassment of smelling like Fixodent drool each holiday begins to erode one’s self-respect.
An important part of any perfect weekend getaway is dining on great food in cozy bistros. And there is nothing quite divine as sharing the experience with your main squeeze. Whether a fresh new flame or a partner of 50 years, a romantic meal is a helpful pit stop in the ol’ relationship race. Okay, maybe not the best metaphor I’ve ever written. Our criteria for a winning romantic restaurant include a couple of variables: uniqueness, ambience and deliciousness. Each of these five restaurants will provide an idealistic backdrop for a lovely evening with your sweetheart. Bon Appétit!
We started our neighbourhood 101 series with the Plateau before heading south to St-Henri. When picking the next one, it made sense to simply take a quick stroll west through the Atwater market over to Little Burgundy, a neighbourhood rich with history, whose recent revitalization has been due in large part to the strength of its restaurants…
As we sat at our table at the posh Europea, the other night, a friend turned to me and asked: “I wonder if it will be enough if I start with the gaspacho and have the mushroom pasta as a main course….”, to which I immediately answered: “Trust me, it will be more than enough, you have no idea what surprises you’ll get along the way…”.
I love sandwiches, I know sandwiches, I eat sandwiches. But so does almost everyone else. So, when putting together a list of Montreal’s best sandwiches I knew I shouldn’t try to serve up some hubris on wry without consulting outside sources. I therefore took to Facebook for a little groupthink on the subject…