Located in: Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History-2nd floor
350 Place Royale,
Phone: (514) 872-9128
Cost: $ 75.00 for 2 with drinks, tip and tax included.
Chef Hats: 4
Opened in 1992 as part of Montreal’s 350th Anniversary, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum is no stranger too many Montrealers. Some of us have visited at least once in the last 27 years. What is the best kept secret in town and less known to many is the Museum’s little restaurant called L’Arrivage. Tucked away on the second floor, L’Arrivage serves fantastic gourmet meals in a striking panoramic setting six days a week for lunch and weekend Brunch.
I was told about the restaurant by multiple people as far back as 2005, during my event planning days. But since it is not a usual destination point for any foodie, unless you at the museum, hungry and looking for a quick bite to eat close by, it is not a typical place anyone would venture to. For some Montrealers, especially the older generation, the dining room at the Museum is a great way to extend the museum experience by combining both. These days, many Montreal Museum dining rooms have amped up their game when it comes to food service in their establishments. The Museum of Fine Arts has done so as well by adding a fine dining experience with Museum Day. Back at its inception, L’Arrivage was promoted as a great spot to have an event because of its striking terrace overlooking the port, especially during the fireworks competition. It ended up on my bucket list when a friend told me he lunched there with his Dad, and found the food to be exceptionally good.
So, it was apropos that during my visit last Fall at the museum for the” The Story of French Cuisine” exhibit, that we brunch at L’Arrivage. It was an eye opener and absolutely amazing in every way. As the French say ‘’oh là là, c’était bon, et une belle surprise”. The restaurant is not as big as I had expected, but the view is amazing. The glass and wall-mirrored room looks bigger than it actually is. The huge terrace directly overlooks the waterfront and the Port making it an ideal place. Even though it was an exceptionally warm fall day, it was still too cold to sit outside under the huge umbrellas. But we managed to get up to the lookout point to take pictures.
We made reservations for a brunch at noon on a Sunday, the day we were going to the exhibit. It gave us two hours to eat and two hours to visit the museum. Reservations are a must, as the place tends to get busy, and line ups are eminent especially in the summer with the terrace. We started with two Mimosa’s -$ 8.65 on this special weekend. The weekend Brunch is a 3-course meal, with an entrée of salad or soup, a main meal and dessert. Prices are very reasonable starting at $20- $23, and the food is more than plenty. The fish of the day, Filet of Beef and Chef Suggestions being the most expensive.
For the entrée, we received a light green salad with mixed greens, endives, almonds slivers and parmesan shaving. It was a light perfect mix of bitter endives, greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber with added texture of crunchy slivered almonds and a light vinaigrette.
The soup was a seasonal butternut squash soup with a drizzle of cream, and croutons, it was superb, rich and velvety and very flavorful and well seasoned.
For our main meal, I got the Crepes stuffed with Duck Sausage, Smoked Oka Cheese and Caramelized Apple slivers in an Orange Sauce. A classic recipe that reminded me of duck a l’Orange, you can’t get more French than that. This dish was amazing. Well paired with the smokiness of the cheese and sweetness of the caramelized apples. The orange citrus sauce gave it that added kick. It was a first time I tried duck sausages, usually have duck confit, but I really enjoyed this dish and I was super stuffed.
My dining companion had the Eggs Benedict done in two ways, served on thick slabs of brioche bread, one with smoked salmon and goat cheese and the other with pulled braised pork shoulder and cheddar cheese and hollandaise sauce. Also served was a mashed potato galette with a carrot celeriac coleslaw. She was amazed at the size of the Brioche and loved the fact that she got to sample two types of toppings. She liked the pulled pork and was surprised at how good it tasted. The galette was just as delicious and hit the spot for all those spud lovers. The coleslaw was creamy and refreshing.
For dessert, we received a chocolate drizzled stuffed maple cream puff and a terrine of maple nougat mousse that was to die for.
A perfect prelude to a day of French Dining. Service was warm and courteous and quick. We looked out the window while finishing our coffees and did not want to leave. L’Arrivage is a true hidden gem, just the view overlooking the port is worth the while. In the summer, lunch on the terrace must be magnificent in the sun, with a cool drink in hand.
As of January 2020, the restaurant welcomed French chef and columnist Philippe Mollé, who took over the helm at the restaurant as well as the catering for private events. Philippe worked at ITHQ as a professor for 5 years, but also brings a plethora of experience, working in kitchens in France the likes of Gaston LeNotre, Ledoyen, and other restaurant in Japan, Tahiti and at the Loews Hotel Vogue in Montreal. You can hear him on Radio Canada and see him on Evasion in Les Routes de Philippe, or read his articles in Le Devoir. Now we can taste his cuisine at L’Arrivage, were he plans to take advantage of the relationships he has forged with local producers and update the menu menu with fresh local produce.
L’Arrivage is a definite return, even if I am not going to the museum that day. Too bad they don’t serve dinner, because it must be wonderful at night and btw, it is not just for old people.