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August 8, 2010 5:44 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have suggestions for special, kid-friendly dining experiences in Montreal? (More inside)

I will be taking a large family (with several children under the age of 12) to Montreal later this summer. Thanks in part to the Hive Mind, I have a lot of promising ideas for attractions and events. However, it would be very helpful to hear suggestions for great places for families to eat.

In terms of criteria, we are looking for places that can accommodate a crowd of 8-9 people, most of which are children. We are looking for places that are "special" to Montreal, if possible, and we have a high tolerance for adventure in terms of cuisine. We are not particularly interested in anything too high-brow or too expensive, but if there is a must-have, tremendous experience to be had, we do not mind shelling out for it. Also, campy is fine. We would not mind a dinner theater, or a noisy sing-along pub. So long as the place is welcoming for families and not part of a fast-food chain, we would be interested.

I have heard that poutine is a local favorite. Is that worth seeking out, and is there a restaurant that serves it and would fit the description above? I have read that Fairmount bagels are worth a try, and that there is a terrific pastrami place worth visiting. There is also a portuguese rotisserie chicken spot that gets raves on yelp that we were planning to try.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
posted by Slap Factory to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Fonduementale is yum and works for medium sized groups.
posted by k8t at 6:03 PM on August 8, 2010

Maybe Jolifou? It's a sort of French/Quebecois/S American fusion place, and it has fun toys on all the tables. It depends what you mean by accommodate children, but I've gone there in groups that size and been fine. I don't think many places are good for kids who want to run around, but otherwise they're fine for kids.

Poutine is a huge heart attack in a bowl. Some people love it, some don't. La Banquise is supposed to be good, but I am in the don't camp, so it is hard for me to say. Chowhound is pretty good for food ideas for Montreal, but yes, Fairmont bagels are better than St-Viateur, the pastrami place (Schwartz's) is very popular, and most of the rotisserie chicken places are good.
posted by jeather at 6:13 PM on August 8, 2010

Frites Alors is another Chowhound favorite (rumored to be one of the few places in Montreal still frying the old-fashioned way, in horse fat) and is right down the street from the Portuguese rotisserie place (if I'm thinking of the same place you are.) Your kids like French fries, I assume!
posted by escabeche at 6:21 PM on August 8, 2010

Schwartz's Deli may be of interest for classic montreal smoked meat sandwiches.
posted by kaudio at 6:47 PM on August 8, 2010

I was going to suggest Schwartz's Deli, as well - though when I went there was a line to be seated. Make sure the kids in question are old enough to deal with that sort of thing.

Seconding La Banquise, as well. And I'm a poutine junkie. I went for the classic when I was there, but apparently there are a couple dozen different styles of poutine on the menu. There was one restaurant I tried that had better poutine, but it was a tiny lunch counter, so not good at all for a big group.
posted by Sara C. at 7:21 PM on August 8, 2010

You and your brood should definitely stop in at La Belle Province, a chain of eateries peppered around the city which is within your criteria of not high-brow, not expensive and a bit campy. As per the name, the menu features typical Qu├ębecois fast food including poutine, steamies and spruce beer which you must try and I'm sure the kids will enjoy. Schwartz's Deli is another good suggestion but it is fairly small and usually packed which will make it difficult to seat all 8-9 of you together at the same table.

As for one of Montreal's must-do culinary experiences, seriously consider Au Pied de Cochon if you don't mind very rich, decadent eating, and the kids are both patient and adventurous enough to sample a wide variety of pig parts. (And they serve a sinful poutine au foie gras if you're looking for the ultimate poutine experience.)
posted by braemar at 7:57 PM on August 8, 2010

Cabaret du Roy is a real restaurant, not a deli. It serves food from 1714, and the waiters dress in costume. Depending on the night there maybe a fiddler and singers. It is really quite awesome. They're in the Bonsecours Market.

Also, Auberge du Dragon Rouge is by the same people. It's a medieval inn. They serve medieval food, which is surprisingly delicious.

Both places have amazing ambience and really good food.
posted by musofire at 7:57 PM on August 8, 2010

I was going to mention Au Pied de Cochon, but didn't, because a) I feel like I already plug it in every Ask thread having anything to do with Montreal, up to and including requests for Arcade Fire lyrics; and b) I'm not sure I'd go there with a whole table of kids. It's very casual, it's true. You can go there and spend a lot of money wearing jeans. I'd bring a kid or two there with a table of adults. But 8 kids, I'm not sure. That said, the justly famous poutine au fois gras there is indeed something I'd consider a "must-have" Montreal food experience.
posted by escabeche at 9:17 PM on August 8, 2010

Looks like the basics have been covered... I love poutine from Belle Pro over Banquise (though Banquise is also good), and Schwartz's Smoked meat is definitely worth a visit. I prefer NY style bagels over Montreal style, but it's interesting to see the difference, so definitely worth checking out.

For a fun change of pace, there is also Blue Nile in the Plateau (on Rue St. Denis near Avenue des Pins). It's an Ethiopian place where you eat with your hands (using the traditional ethiopian pancakes, which I imagine will be fun for kids!), and they can definitely accommodate your group size.
posted by Grither at 6:23 AM on August 9, 2010

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