I ate there 5 or 6 times in the past ten years, and always promised myself never to go back.
Montreal offers such a strong culinary scene, that Alexandre & Fils fails to impress: food quality is less than average and prices compare to the city's top restaurants.
A friend organized a party there last week and here's what I had:
- a small salad (tons of regular supermarket lettuce, five green beans, a tiny piece of foie gras);
- salmon (overcooked salmon on a few lentils);
- flan (regular boring flan you can get from any supermarket).
I could have prepared this meal myself, it was very disappointing.
Wine was good, but expensive.
Yet, the place was full. What does it have going for itself? a bit of parisian atmosphere, which basically attracts a crowd of European expats, nostalgic diplomats, 70 year-old artists, and retired politicians.
Waiters act is if they work in Paris and chat up clients, round tables are small like a real bistro, meals are served until 2:00 am, you listen to old French music, and there's a cigar lounge.
I think this restaurant was created in a period where Montreal did not have many French restaurants, in the late 70s, and the chef could get by serving expensive imported food to homesick expats. Since the 90s, the restaurant market has changed, thanks to the arrival of creative young chefs from all over the world.
Today, Alexandre & Fils lives off its regular expat clientele, private parties, and downtown tourists, thanks to its personable owner and staff, even though food is bad and expensive.
For good food on Peel Street, try Ferreira (Portuguese) or Entrecôte St-Jean (French).
I don't plan on ever eating there again... until someone drags me in one more time to a parisian-style party.
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