Ranty food review aka where not to eat in Old Montreal

So with the family being here on vacation from Ontario, we of course made a trek to Old Montreal and the port since it was my nieces first time here.

To my utter disappointment,  Le Merville which was hands down my favorite restaurant of ALL time (which says a lot coming from me!) has closed it’s doors for good and Amir in it’s place.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Amir when I’m drunk & starving but we wanted to go somewhere nice.  Seeing as how most restaurants in Jacques Cartier Square have rather exorbitant prices given their upscale locale, you would think that the food would be fabulous, good, above decent?

Twice now I have eaten in the port recently only to be horribly dissapointed.

Both times.

In July I went there with a friend to see the fireworks at Le Ronde and we wanted to grab something to eat.  I was down with going to subway because I was eating on the cheap that night.  I wasn’t feeling something fancy or sit down.  We almost went to La Grande Terrasse but for some reason decided against it.  So we went to Montreal Poutine instead.  Which wasn’t bad per se, the poutine was good but nothing to write home about.  The smoked meat was a little more greasier then I prefer and it came with a nice green salad.   Including a drink, tip and taxes it was almost $30.00!  Thirty bucks for that?  Are you fucking kidding me?  They sell their t-shirts for cheaper!  I mean seriously, I will drop top dollar for GOOD food.  Not mediocre eats you know?

Needless to say, I’ll be heading to Lefleur (or however that’s spelled, don’t judge me!) next time I need a poutine fix.  It’s cheap, uber fast and freaking delicious!  Although I have been told to give La Banquise a go as well.

Anyhoo enter yesterday:

Le Merville is closed much to my sadness so we thought we would give La Grande Terrasse a go for lunch with the kids.

HUGE mistake!

The prices appeared to be borderline reasonable-ish enough at first glace although they were a little up there.  Just goes to show you that you don’t always get what you pay for!  For some reason people seem to have it ingrained in their minds that if it costs more, then the quality is better.  Jacques Cartier Square is known for having some of the most pretentious expensive restaurants in the island.  It goes with the territory of being in such a beautiful place on the island I suppose.  Not only that it’s a major tourist pit in the summer especially and most places are seasonal as well.

Being a Chef, I get that.

So we arrive, the place is crazy busy with servers running around all over the place.  We were largely ignored until I managed to nab a server to see if we sat ourselves.  Which would have been a tad awkward since we were 5 and the tables are bolted to the floor and either sat 2 or four people outside.  Anyway, we finally got a seat and it was SO windy that everything kept blowing all over the damn place!

We order our food: Chicken quesadilla ($15.00), poutine (which was very small $8.00), Royal burger with poutine instead ($17.00), Terrasse Trio ($13.00 for 4 chicken wings, some onion rings, 4 cheese sticks & salsa) & Fish & chips ($16.00).  Soft drinks ($3.00 each) for a grand total of  $93 + change with tax.

The food: SHIT!  I was beyond appalled at the low quality of the food for such a location!  The ONLY thing that appeared to be made in house was the quesadilla.  The wings were super tiny, the fries were your typical McCain shoestring french fries much like McDonald’s, no seasoning at all and they were cold, the cheese sticks were pre-fab frozen stick in the fryer for 3 mins deal,  the onion rings left an after taste of fryer oil that was in dire need of changing, the skimpy piece of fish was mechanically separated, pre-fab and obviously frozen, Captain Highliner style.  Although Captain Highliner is superior to the fish that was served.  The tarter sauce was nothing more then miracle whip with cucumber and nothing else, the burger obviously came out of a box too!

I’ve eaten at my share of places in Montreal and tend to favor the more casual pub style deals because even though I am a Chef and have some seriously high expectations when it comes to food; I’ve eaten better at McDonald’s compared to this place! For the price that we paid, I could have gone to IGA, gotten far more superior quality food and fed all 5 of us for at least a week, if not longer!

La Grande Terrasse, you went above and beyond my level of disappointment!

I miss Le Merville 🙁

4 thoughts on “Ranty food review aka where not to eat in Old Montreal

  1. avatar Grumble Girl says:

    Oh snap! I soooo loathe bad food, and bad service. The combination? Makes me almost want to fire-bomb a place. (No, not really… okay, kinda.) Uch. Sick for you that you dropped SO much cash for such paltry offerings… That. Is. Ass.

  2. avatar Steph says:

    Honey if I fire bombed all the bad places I’ve eaten at here in Montreal, quite a few of them would be in ruins 😉

    Sad thing is, when we were at Le Merville last year it cost us about the same to feed 5 adults with wine & beer included!

    Ass? Indeed!

  3. avatar Paully says:

    I can tooooootally relate to ya Steph. I live in Victoria, BC, another old city with tons of history and very touristy, with lots of restaurants…I find it sad when a restaurant stands on ITS history or location to carry the non-exsitance of fresh indredients and terrible kitchen procedures. When I forst moved out here, I asked the most important culinary question that a newbie can ask: Where do the locals eat? And then go from there. After 15 years, and our city being MUCH smaller than yours, I think I have a grasp on which are best, and which LOOK nice, but are shite.

    • avatar Steph says:

      Well you know, I’ve worked in what appears to be a rather upscale, jaw dropping, stunningly decorated restaurant.

      Until I seen the kitchen.

      O. M. F. G.!

      So yeah appearances can be terribly deceiving at times that’s for damn sure! I’m not a hardcore foodie who’s into fancy food, I just want good food at a reasonable price. So hard to find sometimes!

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