Although my visit to Montreal was short, I made sure to check out some famous landmarks and restaurants. After visiting the well known deli, Schwartz’s, Chinatown and the shopping mecca on Saint Catherine Street, we headed out of the downtown core to Le Plateau-Mont-Royal. It was a bit tricky finding the restaurant because there isn’t a sign out front. The only indication of the restaurant was the word ‘L’EXPRESS’ tiled on the floor in front of the restaurant. I guess this place is a hidden gem!
We walked in without a reservation (cringe… I know) and luckily (seriously… LUCK WAS EMITTING FROM MY BONES) there was ONE table open. Thank you to whoever booked their table for 9pm and left it open for us noob tourists. While we were hanging our clothes in the entryway, a local guy asked us how we found out about the restaurant. He assured us that we made a great choice! Hooray!
The interior was beautiful with classic French design, wood carvings, tiles and mirrors. The staff were super polite, attentive and professional. They overwhelmed me with their kindness! Between the four of us, we ordered 2 appetizers and 4 main courses to share. Fresh baguettes and gherkins were brought to the table while we waited for our appetizers.
We ordered Salade Cresson et Endive (Watercress salad) and Pieuvre et lentilles (Octopus salad with lentils). The presentation of the octopus salad blew me away, it was beautiful! The watercress was fresh with a light splash of dressing and the octopus was tender and sweet.
Once we were finished with the appetizers, our dishes were swapped and the table was cleaned to prep for our main course. The dishes came all at once: Omble de L’artique (Arctic Char), Risotto Crevettes (Shrimp Risotto), Saute Canard Confit (Duck Confit) and Cailles Roties (Roasted Quail).
The Arctic Char was cooked perfectly, it was flakey, tender and soft. This was my first time eating risotto! Oh man it was rich, creamy, flavourful and delicious. The duck confit was a bit underwhelming. Although the dish was flavourful, it didn’t stand out from the other dishes. The roasted quail was what I expected a quail dish to be! Tender and lightly flavoured. By the time I ate my portion of the quail, I was super stuffed. Everyone enjoyed the meal and our bellies were happy.
The last time I had an authentic French dining experience was more than 10 years ago in Paris. L’Express took me back and I loved every moment of it. I left Montreal with happy taste buds! 🙂
The table next to us ordered this beautiful dessert and I asked to snap a pic of it! It’s called Ile flottante with caramel. Gorgeous.