Bouillon Bilk, Montreal and other Montreal eats

Breathe, breathe… in 5 days, my youngest, baby sister will be getting married!

Well, until then, I wanted to share my favorite eat that I think we had when we were in Montreal for her bachelorette party. It’s also one of her favorite dining experiences while we were there. Because we have excellent taste. And, sisters.

After taking a red-eye from Portland to Newark, I then embarked on a puddle jumper to Montreal, Canada. As soon as the plane landed, I connected to the wireless at the Montreal airport and on the long hallway towards customs, found a sign next to a bench for this selfie…

At the airport in baggage claim, I met up with two of Judy’s friends. After a stop for some sugar and caffeine at the airport’s Tim Horton‘s – a place I would recommend for meeting people, as they have seats and tables, and you can then use the airport wireless while having a snack/waiting, and the taxis or Metro Network shuttle bus 747 into the city all leave from basically in front of that anyway. We took a selfie proof of life/arrival to send her before we left baggage claim though!

I had found a place for all of girls to stay all in one loft to maximize all our time together, at the request of my sister. Thanks AirBnB. I picked our final location not just based on the number of occupants, but I had mapped various activities we were interested in, most of them being um restaurants and bars, and based on where they all ended up clustering on Google Maps picked a home base convenient to that…. which meant we were in walking distance of Old Montreal and downtown.

After dropping off our luggage, we killed some time before our official check-in and when our friends would arrive by walking to the dining on tapas at Tapas 24This is a Montreal outpost of the Barcelona tapas place, which one of the ladies had visited and raved about there, and wanted to try the one here. Unlike the version in Spain, the one here in Montreal was spacious and full of light, with a hip black, orange, and maple wood theme.

Here, our lunch consisted of various tapas and a whole bottle of wine between the 3 of us. Yep. You can pick whichever wine you want and they can make sangria with it. This is also where I think I had my favorite poutine of the whole trip.

Tapas 24 had a whole section of the menu dedicated to “manda huevos” (Send Eggs) so we thought we should have at least one. We picked “manda huevos…con FOIE GRAS. fried eggs – potatoes – foie gras poêlé. We had no idea it would be essentially fries that absorbed the scrambled eggs which I’m pretty sure were just cooked in fat and then topped with foie. But I think I maybe ate half of this dish myself. Foie and eggs are excellent together.

This is also how I found out that these two ladies are not much in terms of drinkers… so maybe I was assisting a lot in trying to drink that pitcher. And so I really needed that dish! I was trying to carefully balance between how sometimes alcohol can help perk you up and be social, and other times start to make you sleepy (which I already was tired from the redeye here!).
Pick a bottle and they will make sangria with it at Tapas 24  Foie eggs and potatoes - a Tapas poutine at Tapas 24

Overall, with Tapas 24, my friend was disappointed that they didn’t have the variety that the Barcelona Tapas 24 has, and for the price the food portions were tiny.

We didn’t think much of the McFoie burger that is really the size of a Mc-sandwich and whose only saving grace is the foie mousse on the side…which I ate without the dried out meat of the burger and bun.

With all the deliciuosness that Montreal has to offer, this had promise but didn’t deliver. After this lunch, we spent the next couple hours walking the Underground City to keep busy, as well as buy snacks (I love buying international flavors of chips) and champagne to welcome our friends when they arrived.
A collage of our eats at Tapas 24 that day for lunch, 3 people and one big pitcher of sangria Tapas 24 on Urbanspoon

My favorite dinner of the 3 evenings was at a restaurant called Bouillon Bilk, which we dined at on very same day, Thursday evening. Looking back at my Google spreadsheet where I was copying and pasting various ideas for restaurants and their addresses, hours, cuisine type, and url, Bouillon Bilk was one of the first 10 restaurants I highlighted as it ranked high on Tripadvisor in their restaurant list, was mentioned on Eater, and in other reviews I read online as a wonderful experience.

They were all exactly right.

Sign of Bouillon Bilk, snuggled between two electronic shops in Montreal Menu of Bouillon Bilk

This was the beginning of ordering family style, where we essentially would order “we’ll have this entire section except X and Y”. So I was able to try most of the menu. Every dish was plated like a work of art, and the flavors were either fresh and best ingredients, or layered on top of each other so even with a little bite you wanted to let it just dissolve on your tongue.

As I said, this was my favorite of where we dined, with other dining destinations that weekend including Jardin Nelson for lunch (a glimpse from a collage photo below – it does have an extensive menu and is great for groups, but only takes reservations for lunch not dinner), Le Deux Gamins for dinner, carry out lunch at Olive & Gourmando (a place I would also try again, but definitely not with a group as they are too small and busy to accommodate a large party. I had a lovely Housemade Ricotta “salty” with Summer tomatoes, sweet summer corn and pine nuts served with toasts shown below), and Au Pied du Cuchon. My sister’s other favorite dining experience was Au Pied du Cochon, so I’ll write a separate post about that later.

A glimpse of a lunch at Jardin Nelson grabbing lunch to go at Olive et Gourmando - my Housemade Ricotta

Here’s what we had between the 7 of us that evening at Bouillon Bilk. These photos are not mine, I believe they came from my sister’s camera but we all put our pictures together so it’s hard to tell. All I did was crop and clean up the photos slightly if I could.


melons, blackberries, pistachios, goat cheese, heart of palm. I liked this refreshing dish with its play on various textures.
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, melons, blackberries, pistachios, goat cheese, heart of palm
dumpling, pork, plum, celery, rice stem. This was one giant dumpling!
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, dumpling, pork, plum, celery, rice stem
risotto, carrot, basil, passion fruit. this usually also has shrimp but we asked for it sans for the vegetarian.
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, risotto, carrot, basil, passion fruit
hamachi, yuzu kosho, raspberry, fennel, cucumber. That hamachi was melt in your mouth.
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, hamachi, yuzu kosho, raspberry, fennel, cucumber
lobster, tomato, chili, avocado, nectarine
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, lobster, tomato, chili, avocado, nectarine
tuna tartare, which was INCREDIBLE. It was a special for that night and almost ordered it again because it was so good, but they ran out!
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, tuna tartare


scallops, zucchinis, shitake, pear, watercress, beurre noisette
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, scallops, zucchinis, shitake, pear, watercress, beurre noisette
ravioli, corn, lamb, porcini, olive, swiss chard
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, ravioli, corn, lamb, porcini, olive, swiss chard
salmon, artichoke, romano, tomato, apricot, fennel vadouven
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, salmon, artichoke, romano, tomato, apricot, fennel vadouven
duck, a special that night of magret or duck breast filet
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, magret or duck special that night
guinea fowl, lentils, radish, yellow feet mushrooms, figs
Bouillon Bilk in Montreal, guinea fowl, lentils, radish, yellow feet mushrooms, figs

I would definitely come back here if I return to Montreal again. Montreal has a big beer scene, and I didn’t see any of that as we were mostly focused on wine and cocktails and shots…

I hope to see you again, Bouillon Bilk, Montreal. Wonderful dinner and company with Team Thursday of Montreal on September 11, 2014. After this incredible dinner, we were revived and continued on to the club Velvet within L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel and even bagels at Fairmont Bagel (note: next time take a BAG of Montreal bagels back home, don’t just buy 1!). It was a fantastic start to our Bachelorette Weekend!
Team Thursday at Judy's Bachelorette Party, dining at Bouillon Bilk in Montreal on September 11, 2014 Team Thursday at Judy's Bachelorette Party, dining at Bouillon Bilk in Montreal on September 11, 2014

Have you been to Montreal? What would you recommend the next time I visit?

What did you think of my dilemma of ordering a pitcher that includes a whole bottle of wine and then finding out they each probably can’t drink more than 2 glasses, if that? Have you ever flown a redeye and what did you do to keep yourself up and lasting for the day?