While researching Montreal, I quickly learned that it is quite the foodie city with a vast array of dining options and world renowned restaurants. Although I only had two nights to work with in terms of restaurant dinner options, I knew that I wanted to eat at Bonaparte, a French restaurant located in the city’s old section and named after the Monsieur Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Guidebooks described its offering customers an “old world dining experience,” an establishment that has attracted numerous Hollywood A-listers over the years due to its impeccable service and delicious cuisine.
When making my reservation I requested to be seated in one of the alcoves that overlooks the cobblestone street below. My guidebook said it provided the perfect ambiance for taking in Old Montreal, especially when a horse and carriage would go by. Although the night we dined there was a downpour and alas no horse and carriage, it was still nice being able to watch the outside world.
The menu options for dinner are quite extensive and include table d’hote (a pre-fixe option), a seasonal menu consisting of five courses, a la carte, and a seven course tasting menu. The tasting menu seemed like quite the steal considering its cost ($68) but as two of the courses I couldn’t eat, it didn’t seem worth ordering even though the other five selections sounded delicious.
I ended up going with the table d’hote which featured an appetizer, entree, and dessert option for $34.95 Canadian. For my appetizer I selected the vegetable soup (potage de legumes), for my entree the roasted pork tenderloin with cranberry sauce(mignon de porc), and for my dessert, the lemon meringue pie (tarte au citron verte meringue). I enjoyed each one of my selections and even though I was feeling quite full by the end of the meal, bordering slightly on “stuffed,” it was fine dining at its best.
D opted for the seasonal menu ($48 Canadian). He began with the onion soup, a personal favorite of his. He really enjoyed this version as the soup was not completely drenched in cheese as some restaurants tend to make it. This was followed by the Nordic shrimp salad with raspberry vinaigrette (this he didn’t care for too much as it was a cold shrimp salad). Then there was the “intermezzo” dish, a pear tarragon sorbet salad with fizz. What should come as no surprise if you’ve been reading this blog for a while is that he selected the Filet Mignon sauteed with five peppercorns and cognac for his main course. And for the grand finale, “orchestrated pastry selections” for his dessert course. While tasting menus seem like they feature more food than one person could possibly (healthily) eat, the portions are definitely smaller. All of the entrees came with vegetables and potatoes.
It is the exact opposite of trendy and hip, but if what you are looking for includes requirements such as romantic atmosphere, attentive service, and the best French food on this side of the Atlantic, I definitely recommend dining at Bonaparte. It’s on the pricier side, but if you select any number of their special menus, it’s definitely a bargain when compared with a la carte.
And just so you know, there is a small auberge, 30 guest rooms in all, that visitors can reserve.
447, rue Saint-Francois-Xavier