La Salle À Manger
I've been meaning to try La Salle à Manger since last winter when a friend of mine, who is quite the critique when it comes to good food, told me it was great and affordable. I ended up going for my friend's birthday last Saturday. I showed up on time, yay for biking, so I ended up waiting a little for the remaining guests. I was seated and proposed an apéro as soon I got in. Later on, when then restaurant got full, they were actually serving wine a couple who had to wait at the entrance - pretty cool! The server, dressed in jeans and t-shirt, offered a great and friendly service. He also made sure to know exactly what wine would please his customers as he offered and gave me exactly what I wanted.
Once my friends arrived, we proceeded to check out the menu which was a one-pager. I love short menus that offer amazing dishes instead of random plates that won't be executed well because they don't do them often.
For the appetizer, I chose the salmon tartare. To my surprise, it arrived on a very long wooden 'plate'. It included crakers, a roquette salad, sliced marinated vegetables and the salmon tartare mixed with various ingredients. I usually like my tartare simple but well made and it was the first time that it was actually turned into a kind of salad. It was really good and I'm curious to see what they do with the meat tartare.
We then proceeded to the entrée. I ordered a BBQ pork flank which came on top of a purée with grilled vegetables. I have nothing to say about this dish except that everything fell in it's right place.
Sadly, I didn't try any desserts even if they all sounded good. The two plates filled up me for the rest of the night!
Something I quite enjoyed from La Salle à Manger is that it is far from being pretentious compared to a lot of fine dining restaurants in Montreal. No fancy ingredients was added just to show off, it always had its place on the plate. The service was perfect and the servers didn't have to dress up for it either, making it a restaurant where you can stop at any time, no need for a celebration.
It's also the first restaurant that made me want to go eat on Mont-Royal. I'm not a fan of the plateau. Okay, to grab a quick bite, it can do the job but other than that, I'd rather go spent my money elsewhere. But this restaurant is changing my view and maybe more places like this one will open up to finally enjoy great food for the money already spent in this neighborhood!
Conclusion: Definitely a place I will go back to!
SALLE À MANGER ADDRESS: 1302 Mont-Royal E. PHONE: (514) 522–0777 HOURS: TUE–SAT 6 P.M.–midnight ALCOHOL: Yes VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY: Yes CREDIT CARDS: Yes PRICE: $50 without drinks per person for a 3 course meal