MISS MOOX + time

TRAVEL: Le Grain de Sel


Food - 4.5 out of 5
Service - 4.5 out of 5
Decor - 4.5 out of 5
Total - 13.5 out of 15

2375 Sainte-Catherine est
Montreal, Quebec

If you're anything like me, TripAdvisor has become a trusted travel companion before, during, and after a trip takes you out on the road.

TripAdvisor offers more information about hotels, restaurants, and activities in almost any city than you could probably ever read. And more often than not, the information is reliable and straight-up honest.

Until recently, it had been more than seven years since the last time I visited Montreal. I was at a total loss as to where to eat, especially in a city with as many options as Montreal. So, I took the web's advice.

Do a search for restaurants in Montreal on TripAdvisor, and the number 1 result is a little bistro by the name of Le Grain de Sel (at least at the time of writing in September 2010).

Thank you yet again, TripAdvisor, for an amazing night out.

While no one visits Montreal without strolling down Sainte-Catherine Street at least once, Le Grain de Sel is on a stretch of the street that sees little traffic (about five blocks east of the Papineau subway stop).

The main dining room out front is cozy. White linens dress each table with darker colours on the bar and walls.

Staff were immediately welcoming and friendly, offering us a choice of available tables. The menu is completely in French, but our waiter took the time to explain almost every item, mostly without even being prompted.

I think Le Grain de Sel's total lack of pretension is one of its best qualities. The head chef even came out to our table to ask how the food was at one point in the meal. And he looked like he genuinely wanted to make sure we were having a good time.

We ordered the Escargots en Croute and a pair of fresh Quebec Scallops for appetizers. Both dishes were delicious. The escargots came served in a piping hot bowl covered by a thin crust of glazed phyllo dough. Beneath the doughy dome were our escargots, buttery and mixed with wild mushrooms. Mwa!

The scallops were seasoned perfectly with oil, salt, and pepper, and served with a side of corn and red pepper. Not your usual sides, but they were a perfect match for the scallops.

As for main courses, we ventured for the halibut and a duo of haddock and pork belly. The fish was truly delicious and makes me wish that I lived nearer to the ocean.

The pork, on the other hand, was extraordinarily fatty. So much so that once the fat was cut away, just a few morsels of meat were left. When our lovely waitress asked how I liked my meal, I had to confess that I wasn't nuts about the pork. But she made a good point: the fatty pork was intentionally paired with the ultra-lean haddock as a contrast. I still can't say that I enjoyed the pork, but at least the kitchen is thinking seriously about the food it serves.

For dessert, we gorged on a homemade cheesecake, and a cold raspberry and balsamic vinegar soup with fresh doughnuts on top. It was all too, too delicious.

If I had to give Le Grain de Sel a grade, it would be an F++.

Hold on now, that stands for Fresh, Friendly, and Fantastic.

When in Montreal go to Le Grain de Sel. Just go.

food, french food, homemade, kitchen, love, mix, Montreal, opinion, Quebec, road, room, and more:

Relevant to: TRAVEL: Le Grain de Sel + time