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Halibut at the SAT’s Foodlab
Labo Culinaire Foodlab/Facebook

The Best Events and Delicious Deals at Montréal en Lumière for 2020

Our selection of special dinners, special guests, and more

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Halibut at the SAT’s Foodlab
| Labo Culinaire Foodlab/Facebook

Annual food, arts, and culture festival Montréal en Lumière returns from February 20 to March 1 this year. As always, there’s an abundance of promising events, from out of town guest chefs (including Michael Anthony from New York’s renowned Gramercy Tavern), and local chefs doing all manner of special dinners.

Here are some of our picks for the best options — featuring a mix of meals that are just really good deals at great local restaurants, through to some unique one-off events for the festival (although these may not necessarily be within everybody’s price bracket).

This map only considers events with a meal component, although there are various food-related workshops, panels, and interviews on the calendar — find those listed on the Montréal en Lumière schedule.

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San Francisco’s Cortney Burns at Hélicoptère

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San Francisco chef and “godmother of fermentation” Cortney Burns (known for renowned experimental creations at Bar Tartine) will be at the burners at fantastic Hochelaga restaurant Hélicoptère for two nights: February 29 and March 1. The meal will cost an eminently reasonable $65 ($120 with wine pairings, tax and tip not included, and bookings are recommended.

Forest to Table dinner at État-Major

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Ariane Le Gal, known for her work with woodsy produce supplier Gourmet Sauvage will be at this Hochelaga BYOB for a special “forest to table” meal centred aroundQuebec’s boreal forests (so, expect berries and wild mushrooms). It’s $59 and goes down on the evenings of February 26 and 27. Alternatively, a three-course lunch service focused on similar boreal flavours (but without Le Gal) is on offer for a bargain $25, on February 20-21 and 24-28.

Raclette at La Fromagerie Hamel (Marché Jean-Talon)

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February 22 is Montréal en Lumière’s Nuit Gourmande, meaning a range of restaurants and food purveyors are doing one-night-only specials. Fromagerie Hamel is one such participant, offering a $10 serving of raclette with bread, charcuterie, picles, and onions, and gooey cheese fresh from the cheesemonger’s supply. https://www.montrealenlumiere.com/Programmation/Activite/MEL-8781

Africa meets Quebec at Le Virunga

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There are two dinners of note at this criminally underrated Plateau restaurant. First, on February 22 (in the evening), chef-owner Maria-José de Frias will put an array of African twists on Quebec staples — shepherd’s pie (pâté chinois) in the style of South Africa boboti with yam, and a goat poutine with plantain and cassava fries are just two options. You’ll get five small plates for $35 (tax and tip not included). Then, on the evenings of February 26 and 27 Frias will showcase Bantu cuisine (from central Africa) with a five-course menu inspired by Québécois-Congolese artist Moridja Kitenge Banza, who will also be present — it’s $55 (tax and tip not included), or $100 with wine pairings.

Peruvian lunch or dinner at Le Margaux

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Chef Léni Cruz Matute — known for his work with Peru’s Gaston Acurio, as well as at restaurant Panchita in Santiago, Chile — will be at this Mile End restaurant cooking Peruvian specialties for two nights, February 20 and 21 — it’s $55 before tax and tip, and you can bring your own wine. Alternatively, a Peruvian menu will be offered for lunch on February 26 to 28 for just $28 (although without Matute on site).

https://www.montrealenlumiere.com/Gastronomie/Lieu/4722

Chef Martin Olsen at Labo Culinaire (Foodlab)

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The SAT’s on-site restaurant will play host to Danish chef Martin Olsen (of renowned Copenhagen restaurant Marv & Ben). With SAT chef Timothée Vielajus, Olsen will do a Nordic menu in a style rarely found in Montreal. It’s available on the evenings of February 21 and 22 for $80 or $130 with wine included (tax and tip not included in either price).

Brunch with Colombe St-Pierre (and more) at L'Astral

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Officially, it’s a brunch to celebrate women in gastronomy — we’ve just nominated Colombe St-Pierre as a local star among the group. She’ll be joined by French filmmaker Vérane Frédiani and food journalist Estérelle Payany (among others), serving a brunch buffet at 11 a.m. on February 23, followed by a screening of Frédiani’s documentary, The Goddesses Of Food, then a round-table discussion. It’s $45, which includes two mimosas.

Chef Paul Burgalières at Tbsp.

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Chef Paul Burgalières of two Michelin starred restaurant L’Enclume (rated the top restaurant in the UK in that country’s Good Food Guide) will be at the W Hotel’s on-site restaurant February 28 and 29 in the evenings. While Tbsp. is usually an Italian spot, it’ll pivot to modern British fare for the evening, with a seven-course menu at $110 ($165 with wine), tax and tip not included.

https://www.montrealenlumiere.com/Gastronomie/Lieu/465

Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony at Monarque

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Chef Michael Anthony from New York’s Gramercy Tavern will team up with this excellent French restaurant — he’ll work with chef Jérémie Bastien to do a six-course tasting menu in Monarque’s main dining room on February 28 and 29. It’ll cost you $140, tax, tip, and alcohol not included. For something cheaper, a selection of Gramercy Tavern classics will also be offered on the same nights in Monarque’s more-casual brasserie section.

Happy birthday, @chefmikeanthony!

Posted by Gramercy Tavern on Thursday, February 6, 2020

Chef Charles Phan at Maison Boulud

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Excellent Vietnamese-American chef Charles Phan (of the Slanted Door in San Francisco) will do a trio of services at Daniel Boulud’s Montreal outpost at the Ritz. Expect refined Vietnamese fare of a calibre difficult to find in Montreal —he’s doing a five-course dinner on February 27 and 28 for $175 (alcohol, tax, and tip excluded), and brunch on February 29 from noon for $75 without tax, tip, or booze.

Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier and chef Diego Moya of New York restaurant Racines will both pop-up at fiery Foxy for one evening only, on February 29. Lepeltier is known for her epic wine list at the Tribeca destination, while Moya blends local produce with French flair, with a fresh style that should fit right in at Foxy. It comes at a price of $80 before wine (tax and tip not included).

Tran Cantine Vietnamienne

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For Nuit Gourmande (February 22), this casual Vietnamese restaurant will join forces with St-Henri pizzeria Adamo. The result? A positively intriguing “pho pizza”, for just $6.50.

San Francisco’s Cortney Burns at Hélicoptère

San Francisco chef and “godmother of fermentation” Cortney Burns (known for renowned experimental creations at Bar Tartine) will be at the burners at fantastic Hochelaga restaurant Hélicoptère for two nights: February 29 and March 1. The meal will cost an eminently reasonable $65 ($120 with wine pairings, tax and tip not included, and bookings are recommended.

Forest to Table dinner at État-Major

Ariane Le Gal, known for her work with woodsy produce supplier Gourmet Sauvage will be at this Hochelaga BYOB for a special “forest to table” meal centred aroundQuebec’s boreal forests (so, expect berries and wild mushrooms). It’s $59 and goes down on the evenings of February 26 and 27. Alternatively, a three-course lunch service focused on similar boreal flavours (but without Le Gal) is on offer for a bargain $25, on February 20-21 and 24-28.

Raclette at La Fromagerie Hamel (Marché Jean-Talon)

February 22 is Montréal en Lumière’s Nuit Gourmande, meaning a range of restaurants and food purveyors are doing one-night-only specials. Fromagerie Hamel is one such participant, offering a $10 serving of raclette with bread, charcuterie, picles, and onions, and gooey cheese fresh from the cheesemonger’s supply. https://www.montrealenlumiere.com/Programmation/Activite/MEL-8781

Africa meets Quebec at Le Virunga

There are two dinners of note at this criminally underrated Plateau restaurant. First, on February 22 (in the evening), chef-owner Maria-José de Frias will put an array of African twists on Quebec staples — shepherd’s pie (pâté chinois) in the style of South Africa boboti with yam, and a goat poutine with plantain and cassava fries are just two options. You’ll get five small plates for $35 (tax and tip not included). Then, on the evenings of February 26 and 27 Frias will showcase Bantu cuisine (from central Africa) with a five-course menu inspired by Québécois-Congolese artist Moridja Kitenge Banza, who will also be present — it’s $55 (tax and tip not included), or $100 with wine pairings.

Peruvian lunch or dinner at Le Margaux

Chef Léni Cruz Matute — known for his work with Peru’s Gaston Acurio, as well as at restaurant Panchita in Santiago, Chile — will be at this Mile End restaurant cooking Peruvian specialties for two nights, February 20 and 21 — it’s $55 before tax and tip, and you can bring your own wine. Alternatively, a Peruvian menu will be offered for lunch on February 26 to 28 for just $28 (although without Matute on site).

https://www.montrealenlumiere.com/Gastronomie/Lieu/4722

Chef Martin Olsen at Labo Culinaire (Foodlab)

The SAT’s on-site restaurant will play host to Danish chef Martin Olsen (of renowned Copenhagen restaurant Marv & Ben). With SAT chef Timothée Vielajus, Olsen will do a Nordic menu in a style rarely found in Montreal. It’s available on the evenings of February 21 and 22 for $80 or $130 with wine included (tax and tip not included in either price).

Brunch with Colombe St-Pierre (and more) at L'Astral

Officially, it’s a brunch to celebrate women in gastronomy — we’ve just nominated Colombe St-Pierre as a local star among the group. She’ll be joined by French filmmaker Vérane Frédiani and food journalist Estérelle Payany (among others), serving a brunch buffet at 11 a.m. on February 23, followed by a screening of Frédiani’s documentary, The Goddesses Of Food, then a round-table discussion. It’s $45, which includes two mimosas.

Chef Paul Burgalières at Tbsp.

Chef Paul Burgalières of two Michelin starred restaurant L’Enclume (rated the top restaurant in the UK in that country’s Good Food Guide) will be at the W Hotel’s on-site restaurant February 28 and 29 in the evenings. While Tbsp. is usually an Italian spot, it’ll pivot to modern British fare for the evening, with a seven-course menu at $110 ($165 with wine), tax and tip not included.

https://www.montrealenlumiere.com/Gastronomie/Lieu/465

Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony at Monarque

Chef Michael Anthony from New York’s Gramercy Tavern will team up with this excellent French restaurant — he’ll work with chef Jérémie Bastien to do a six-course tasting menu in Monarque’s main dining room on February 28 and 29. It’ll cost you $140, tax, tip, and alcohol not included. For something cheaper, a selection of Gramercy Tavern classics will also be offered on the same nights in Monarque’s more-casual brasserie section.

Happy birthday, @chefmikeanthony!

Posted by Gramercy Tavern on Thursday, February 6, 2020

Chef Charles Phan at Maison Boulud

Excellent Vietnamese-American chef Charles Phan (of the Slanted Door in San Francisco) will do a trio of services at Daniel Boulud’s Montreal outpost at the Ritz. Expect refined Vietnamese fare of a calibre difficult to find in Montreal —he’s doing a five-course dinner on February 27 and 28 for $175 (alcohol, tax, and tip excluded), and brunch on February 29 from noon for $75 without tax, tip, or booze.

Foxy

Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier and chef Diego Moya of New York restaurant Racines will both pop-up at fiery Foxy for one evening only, on February 29. Lepeltier is known for her epic wine list at the Tribeca destination, while Moya blends local produce with French flair, with a fresh style that should fit right in at Foxy. It comes at a price of $80 before wine (tax and tip not included).

Tran Cantine Vietnamienne

For Nuit Gourmande (February 22), this casual Vietnamese restaurant will join forces with St-Henri pizzeria Adamo. The result? A positively intriguing “pho pizza”, for just $6.50.

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