Garde Manger (Montreal)

Huge thanks to @caleb for recommending Garde Manger, and to @set0312 for conveniently soliciting Montreal recommendations just a few weeks before my own impromptu trip up north.

Garde Manger is a seafood-focused modern French (or Quebecois?) restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place in LA’s dining scene.


Decent but not extraordinary.

Razor Clams
Good but given the price tag, I wouldn’t bother, I think.

(Two kinds, only one kind pictured.)
The unpictured oyster was maybe the best oyster I’ve ever had. The pictured one wasn’t quite as amazing but still probably top-20.

Sturgeon Pate
The (homemade!) sour cream & onion ruffles were great. The pate was also great. One of my dining companions rated this one of the best dishes of the night.

Smoked Char
Also very good, I might actually give this one the nod over the sturgeon pate (though you should really just get both). Great mix of textures, lovely variety of acidity sources.

Sweetbread Pie
Despite sounding a bit like a meme (buffalo sauce??), this might’ve been the best dish of the night, and one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. Others agreed. Absolute must-order. Incredibly tender sweetbreads, flaky crust that managed to hold together… damn.

The honey espelette was great. The carrots were maybe a touch less done than I would’ve preferred, but that’s mostly a question of taste. Still very good.

Wild Mushrooms
Great cook on the mushrooms, almost resembling good tripe. Excellent saucing.

I’m not an anchovy person but it totally worked here. Pasta was perfectly al dente. One of the best seafood pastas I’ve ever had.

I’m really not a swordfish person, but this was easily the best I’ve ever had. It honestly reminded me a bit of tinned fish (in a good way). The vegetables were excellent.

Black Cod
Very good, but didn’t stand out as much as the other dishes. A “problem” that comes from everything being executed at such a high level…

Was this the best “traditional” duck prep I’ve ever had? I think so, and I’ve had some pretty damn good duck. I have no idea what the heck they did to the duck to give it such robust flavor.

Pistachio Profiteroles (Hazelnut Cream)
Sadly, the hazelnut cream was a much too thick/rich; really should’ve been cut (my sister thought with cream). The shell itself was great, one of the best I’ve had.

Sponge Cake, Meringue, Lemon Curd, ???
Fantastic, and one of the few times that a deconstruction seems like it obviously improves the end product (the variety & mix of textures was great).

Coffee Cake
The best coffee cake I’ve ever had. (Not a super high bar, but also it was just excellent, and my favorite dessert of the night.)

Chocolate Cake & Sour Whipped(?) Cream
My sister described this as an “adult lava cake”. Pretty good, the sour whipped cream (similar to but not quite a creme fraiche) really helped cut through the richness.

The prices look a bit rich but keep in mind the exchange rate (1 CAD = 0.73 USD). This ended up being just under $120 USD per person, after tip and tax, which is an absolute steal. Would be very competitive in e.g. LA’s food scene, but I managed to get a same-day reservation for 4 people. Service was great. I feel like I did not really appreciate that Montreal had such a killer food scene.

According to the waiter, the tasting menus don’t have quite as much food as the price tags imply, they simply lean more heavily on the lux ingredients (caviar, truffle, etc). I didn’t particularly feel the lack but ymmv.


so glad you dug it! MTL may be my fav dining city just based on value alone. Grew up an hour south of there and really only started to appreciate it in the last decade or so.

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oh man this looks delicious. might have to throw it on the roster!