Our First Real Restaurant Dinner
This isn’t a food blog. I may repeat that regularly. I say that because even though I want to talk about our new food experiences here, you aren’t going to see photos of beautifully composed plates or intelligently written discourses on the exciting contrasts of flavors. I hate people taking photos of their food in a restaurant (ugh, a flash going off in a dim restaurant is the worst), so I’m not going to become that person just for the sake of this blog. And I’m not a good critic— I just like food.
Anyway, yesterday was Chris’s birthday. We’ve both been so distracted with moving and unpacking and organizing that I think both of us kind of forgot. To make sure this birthday didn’t go down in history as, “Remember that time Marny planned nothing for my birthday”, I got my act together for a few minutes and made some dinner reservations. Since we’re new to the city, I looked up the Eater Montreal Essential Restaurants list and started reading. While that site is super-helpful, I was still pretty much flying blind. Ultimately I picked a place based on the description of it being in the basement of a church and the talk of its creative multi-course tasting menu: Candide. Sounded challenging and a little unusual. Perfect.
We took the metro— somehow for the first time since we got here a few days ago— and it was the right transportation choice. The restaurant is in the back of a church which is situated in the middle of a park. Not a lot of real parking options.
The restaurant is small— maybe 10 tables and about 8 counter seats. It was about half full on a Wednesday at 8pm when we arrived. There were 3 people in the open kitchen, and only 2 servers on the floor (one for food and one for drinks). It was lovely. Quiet, simple decor, and everyone working there was really nice (or maybe I’ve just decided that all Canadians are nice).
The menu changes monthly. For August it was a 4-course menu (plus an additional optional opening dish) full of seasonal vegetables, edible flowers, and delicious grilled Arctic char and Guinea hen. Each dish is the kind of thing where you see the menu description of ingredients, but still have no clue what the dish is going to look or taste like. And if you're the kind of person who has a whole list of “I don’t eat _____”, then it’s not for you. We loved it! The menu was only $51 CAD (about $38 US) per person and we couldn’t stop thinking about how much more it would have cost in Atlanta for the same meal.
We chatted with the server a bit at the end of the meal and told her how we’d just moved to Montreal and that this was our first legit dinner since we got here. She immediately said, “Oh, we all just put together a list of our favorite places to eat and just printed it. Let me get you one!” See, I told you Canadians are nice!
Anyway, Candide. Go there if you find yourself in Montreal. The food is amazing, the service is great, and the atmosphere is wonderful.