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Montréal En Lumière

It's mid-February in Montreal and the city's grand, activity-laden winter festival  Montréal En Lumière   (MEL) is upon us  for i...

It's mid-February in Montreal and the city's grand, activity-laden winter festival Montréal En Lumière (MEL) is upon us for its 17th edition.  Between February 18th - March 5th all facets of culture will glitter with music, dance, art, theatre, and song in an array of dazzling performances, and new discoveries will become part of the fabric of daily urban life. Free outdoor goings-on take over the Quartier des Spectacles, and the annual Nuit Blanche turns lucky 13. This year the lit-up all-nighter falls on February 27th as locals and tourists are invited to partake in some 200 activities, all of them linked by a free shuttle service.  Plot your path and see how this year's RED theme gets interpreted in a myriad of illuminated ways at each site.


On the foodie front we get to enjoy a buzzed-up resto scene where participating rooms across the 514 sell out both lunch and dinner thanks to a unique concept each year that pairs the finest of our chefs with the greatest culinary masters who visit from featured international cities to prepare special menus. The only problem of course is not suffering any FOMO and laying out a plan of action to cram in the most of what appeals to you. As usual, we're here to help on the gastronomy side, one of the things we know best when it comes to getting out and getting the most of what your city has to offer. That said, here are our top resto picks, three lunch and three dinner for you to consider during MTL's celebratory winter love-in.

During the Day...

État-Major, 4005 Ontario St. E.
Feb. 18, 19, 22-26, starting at 11:30am
$22, Bring Your Own Wine; tax and tip not included.


The drive from Montreal to Boston is a culinary experience in itself and the wildly popular HOMA address is inviting you along for the ride. From chef Nicolas Ficuciello rediscover classic dishes from the East Coast in this three-course meal that doesn't require a passport. Treats like clam chowder, shrimp rolls, crunchy crab cakes, tacos, and other delights await.


Quartier Général, 1251 Gilford St.
Feb. 18, 19, 22-26, starting at 11:30am
$25, Bring Your Own Wine; tax and tip not included.


Shenzhen is this year's grand featured city, a place that developed very quickly and, as a result, saw thousands of workers from all regions of China settling in and bringing their culture and cuisine with them. Many of these culinary traditions can be tasted in Shenzhen's neighbouring streets, and at Quartier Général's three-course meal by chef Jonathan Rassi.


Europea, 1227 de la Montagne St.
Feb. 18, 19 (both sold out), 23-26 (Feb. 26 sold out), starting at 12pm
$35 before wine; tax and tip not included.



Couldn't be simpler or more delectable than master chef Jérôme Ferrer inviting you to Europea's gastronomic annual get-together.  Enjoy a rare uber-gourmet treat: five-courses for the tantalizing price of $35!


At Night...

Chez Alexandre et Fils, 1454 Peel St.
Feb. 18-20, starting at 6:30pm
$65 before wine; tax and tip not included.


Boston-based chef Gregory Torrech will be Alexandre's special guest for a mouth-watering menu of sea shell soup, warm cod pavé, seafood pot-au-feu, duck au poivre, venison truffle sauce, and desserts. Expect the kitchen at Peel St.'s famous address of Grand Prix 'scenesterdom' to take on a whole new polish. 


Le Restaurant de L'Institut, 3535 St.Denis St.
Feb. 18-20, 23-27, starting at 6pm
$60 before wine; tax and tip not included.


A tribute to the festival's past greats! Chefs Mathias Théau and Gilles Herzog will be joined by their student brigade to celebrate the cuisine of no less than four master chefs who were all Honorary MEL Presidents: Paul Bocuse, Gualtiero Marchesi, Santi Santamaria, and Serge Dansereau. Five courses to delight.


Ikanos, 112 McGill suite #1
Feb. 18-20, starting at 5:30pm
$72 before wine; tax and tip not included


We're already shameless fans of everything coming out of Constant Mentzas' kitchen at Ikanos and think this looks particularly interesting. Big 'A' art is on the menu for an immersive evening with Alexandre Taillefer, chairman of the board of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, and guest artist Laurent Lamarche. Video projections and soundscapes will create a unique, multi-sensory environment to heighten a five-course meal experience. Creative refinement at its best.


Visit http://www.montrealenlumiere.com/en-CA for entire event details and programming.


                                                                                                                                      D.G.




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