Montreal is already known for good food and wine and a festival atmosphere, at least during the glorious days of summer, when there seems to be a table on every available bit of pavement. Winter, however, is a different matter. The restaurants may be cosy and warm, the menus may be rich and satisfying, but something has to spur people out of their homes and into Montreal’s eating places.
Enter TASTE MTL, or Montréal à Table for the francophones, a ten day long festival of brilliant food, sensational wines and bonhomie to warm the soul. Starting November 1st, Tourisme Montreal, assisted by the SAQ and other major sponsors, is launching the first annual TASTE MTL Restaurant Week. Choose from “Bring Your Own Wine” eatery, a cosy bistro or one of the city’s trendy five-star restaurants. With almost one hundred eating places participating, if you don’t find a meal to satisfy you, then you are just not hungry!
Many top food destinations New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouveralready have a highly popular tradition, Restaurant Week, during which the dozens of restaurants serve delicious menus at fixed prices. This, the very first TASTE MTL, will do the same for Montreal. Diners will be able sample a variety of restaurants throughout the city: 3 courses – 3 prices.
The idea behind a restaurant week or food festival is to draw diners into restaurants during a traditionally quiet time of year, by offering reasonably priced fixed-rate menus. Three course meals will be offered at $19, $29 and $39 catering to most budgets. This is the perfect opportunity to try Europeaor Ferreira Café, Van Horne, Chez L’Épicier or Le Grain de Sel. Montrealers will know of these establishments, visitors will drool at the very names.
Montréal à Table is also a chance to discover the eateries in other parts of town, those not usually associated with the traditional restaurant scene. This is a chance to go to Ahuntsicand dine at the appropriately named A Table, or toVillerayto dine atTapéo. Why not tryLe Valois in Hochelaga-Maisonneuveor Bistro Le Répertoire in Rosemont. There is alwaysthe very long list of Old Montreal and Old Port restosto choose from.
Frommer’s described Toquéas“obligatory for anyone who admires superb, dazzlingly presented food.” Just imagine having the chance to eat there for $19 (although probably without the foiegras.)
Why not make a pledge to diet after the 11th (last day of the festival) and see how many new restaurants you can patronise while the going – and the eating – is good, good, good. Reservations recommended.