This is the third post in the Our Neighbors to the North - Celebrating Canada! series. Other posts in this series include La Porte and Van Horne. This is also the 13th post of I’ve written in May as part of my #21PostsInMay Challenge where I aim to write a new post every single weekday in the month of May. You can see all posts written in May here.
Any visitor to Montreal has to visit Old Montreal, the section of the city that's super charming with its cobblestone roads, European style buildings, and abundance of excellent restaurants. Every time I come to Montreal on a business trip I try to meet up with our local attorneys who live in the area. Without fail, almost always we end up in this historic area for dinner.
Tucked in one of the corners of Old Montreal is Chez L'Epicier.
I love the feel of Chez L'Epicier. There's a market-liek area that sells gourmet food items on one side and a lovely Quebecois restaurant on the other side. It's bright, spacious, and just very cheerful in a subdued way.
The restaurant cares a lot about local, seasonal, and sustainable food. 75% of their food is local, seasonal, or sustainable (in the case of seafood) - quite a feat for a restaurant this far north.
Chef Laurent Godbout, who has extensive experience at several Relais et Chateaux properties, is the executive chef. The menu includes soups ranging from $11 to $12 CAD, "entrees" (which are appetizers) ranging from $11 to $21 CAD, and main courses from $31 to $40 CAD. You can also do a 7-course tasting menu for $85 CAD ($60 additional for wine pairing).
Since I was here on a business dinner, we all decided just to get a normal two-course dinner. Otherwise, we would be there all night and we had work to do the next morning!
We started with a beautiful amuse bouche of a Savory Squid Ink Macaron with a lavendar cream on the inside. It was beautiful, elegant, and unique in flavor.
My dining colleague started with a blended Mushroom Soup which was poured tableside and served with a fried croquette of sorts.
I started with a local Trio of Smoked Seafood, including cured white fish and a smoked fish pate served with a cute little ice cream cone.
In an effort to be healthy (I'd been eating quite a bit, a whole tasting menu solo the night before!), I opted for the vegetarian entree, a Vegetarian "Risotto" where the "rice" was replaced by chopped up bean sprouts. It was OK, but I was a bit underwhelmed (though I perfectly understand that it's sometimes risky to order the vegetarian entree!).
My colleague ordered an interesting entree that was filled with seasonal vegetables, like napa, bok choy, and baby squash. He told me he thought it was only OK, but he indicated he'd had better entrees at the restaurant in the past.
I had their interpretation of a Lemon Arancini.
It was like a doughnut with sprinkled sugar on outside and rice pudding risotto on insides. It was alright, but I guess I was expecting something deep fried and hot, so getting a cold dessert was a bit of a let-down. The texture was OK and the flavors were nice, but nothing particularly memorable.
chez L'epicier Montreal
311 Rue St-Paul E
Montréal, QC H2Y1H3