Major downtown hotel Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth (Le Reine Elizabeth) had major renovations that gave it a new restaurant, cocktail bar, and café (all open since July), but there’s still one big addition coming to its René-Lévesque premises — an upscale, all-day food hall.
Marché Artisans (The Artisans Market) is set to open in the hotel by the end of October, with the Fairmont billing it as “Canada’s first ever urban market” in a hotel. It will feature around a dozen counters or stations, including a Quebec wild-meat rotisserie, a fish stand, sushi bar, as well as counters offering pizza, pastries, and crepes, all with a focus on Quebec-grown or -made fare, particularly small-scale producers.
Food will be take-out and eat-in (it’ll have a 75-seat dining room), and some grocery elements will be on offer; think cheeses and deli meats.
Food halls have been a booming trend in the United States of late. Numerous cities have welcomed new food halls which resemble the classic mall food court in structure (i.e., a bunch of casual or fast eating options and tables all in once place).
But instead of chains like McDonald’s and Subway, or a mix bad-to-serviceable other fare served with plastic utensils under fluorescent basement lighting (hello, Montreal’s underground city) the offerings are drastically improved. In some cases, prominent local chefs have set up new projects or outposts for their existing restaurants in such halls, and in some cases, chefs like Anthony Bourdain and José Andrés are behind entire food halls (sometimes called “markets”).
While some food halls feature vendors who operate mostly independently of each other, the Fairmont’s version looks to be fairly centralized — chef Jean-Philippe Desjardins is heading up the operation. He has experience at Le Club Chasse et Pêche and in Gordon Ramsay’s London kitchens. It’ll also feature “gourmet advisers”, whose job will be to suggest food pairings.
It’s not the first food hall or market in this kind of format in the city — Movenpick in Place Ville-Marie had a similar set up, although it closed a few years back.
The projected opening date is October 23 — expect more details on the offerings closer to then.
- Marché Artisans [Official]
- Kwizinn Brings Griot and Other Creole Fare to Plaza St-Hubert — and Other Openings [EMTL]
- Fairmont Queen Elizabeth’s New Restaurant Gets Critic’s Stamp of Approval [EMTL]
- 13 Food Halls That Prove This Trend’s Not Dead Yet [E]
- Anthony Bourdain Promises That His NYC Market Won’t Sell ‘Bullshit’ [E]