The unique setting, in a glass box right on the Place des Festivals in the Quartier des Spectacles, can't be beat. It's the perfect place to people watch during the summer music festival season and also makes a great spot to catch a quick dinner before a performance at the Place des Arts.
The menu at Brasserie T! is relatively straightforward. Dishes to start out the meal are split up into starters, appetizers, and charcuteries. Most of these share well. A highlight is the garlicky snails au gratin served with grilled bread.
Brasserie T! also has daily specials, for example venison tartare.
Brasserie T! is in fact known for its well seasoned and fresh tartares, and steak tartare and salmon tartare are always on the menu. Each comes with a choice of fries or salad. If you like fries, go for the fries. They are good, and the portion is very generous.
The salad option is very leafy and fresh, but perhaps not the most exciting. It can, however, be a good alternative to fries or a way to save room for dessert.
Another classic on the menu is the flank steak (bavette). Mine was cooked perfectly.
Other main dish choices include sausage served with quinoa salad, walleye served with celeriac, and Coquilles St. Jacques.
Be sure to save room for dessert. The Paris-Brest is especially good, and the crème brulée has a delicate, crunchy top.
One of the more unusual desserts is the chocolate and fir pie, which is a little strong on the pine taste, but makes for an interesting end to a meal.
Ambiance and service
The ambiance at Brasserie T! is all about location, location, location. Large glass panels give the restaurant an open feel and provide a front row seat to what is happening outside. The room is long and narrow, though, which means that tables are crammed together with only narrow aisles for servers and customers to use. The crowded layout kind of goes with the bustling atmosphere, but it is still a drawback overall.
Another weak point can be the service. Sometimes parts of the order don't show up at the table or the pacing is off or water glasses go empty. However, the servers are usually pleasant enough and tend to be sensitive to the time schedule of those customers who are headed to a performance after dinner. I've never experienced really bad service at Brasserie T!, but it's never been really great either.
Because of its proximity to the Place des Arts, Brasserie T! tends to have unusual turnover times. If you want a table at 6:30 p.m. on an evening when several concerts are taking place, you might be out of luck, but shortly before 8:00 p.m. the place might be nearly empty. Because of the unpredictability, booking a table in advance is always a good idea.
There's a growing movement to reduce the amount of bottled water served at restaurants, offices, and other public places in an effort to reduce waste and improve quality. Very few restaurants in Montreal have caught on to this trend, but Brasserie T! is one of them. Customers can choose to order all-you-can-drink filtered tap water that has been carbonated for $3.50 per person. A nice option.
Brasserie T! is an excellent place to go for a meal during festival time or before attending a performance at the neighboring Place des Arts. Not only is its location great, but the menu has something for everyone. The dishes may be on the simple side, but the food is well executed. One of the best choices in the area.
1425 Jeanne Mance
Parking: Indoor parking for a fee at Place des Arts or metered parking on the street
Price: Allow $35 - $60 per person, including tax and tip.
Dress: Smart casual.
Highlights: Location. Good tartare and fries.
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