Le Cartet in Montreal — Photo courtesy of John Cameron
Only about 2% of people can actually multitask. Maybe even fewer business ventures can do it, either. But you'll find that Le Cartet in Old Montreal works equally well as a gourmet shop and a good restaurant.
In terms of price, the restaurant offers great deals, particularly at lunch. These daily lunch specials are best enjoyed in the sun on the sidewalk patio directly in front of the restaurant; it's perfect for people watching.
If you go this route, be sure to check out the impressive interior. Large tables set amidst stark white walls are part of a clever design that uses a mixture of brick, wood and metal – all set off with balls of light hanging from the high ceiling.
Counters topped with a myriad of delicatessen and gourmet items for takeout compete for space in a lively room that's always filled with diners, whether at breakfast, lunch or even the weekend brunch.
The food is tasty without being complicated, and mainstays includes pastas, sandwiches and salads such as their memorable nicoise.
The meat lasagna is one of the most satisfying dishes on the menu, while fish is well represented in the salmon tartare, trout and halibut dishes. Quiche is a popular brunch staple, while duck breast and mushroom pastas round out the main dish options.
All are tasty and owe much to the light seasonings, particularly in the house dressing that adorns the fresh vegetable salads.
The wine menu is small, but yet it offers enough choice to pair well with the entrees. Local beer can be had here, as well as those brews from larger breweries. Pastries are specially prepared, and at least one comes from a family recipe dating as far back as the 1930s!
For those wanting to skip the dessert course, there’s always the option of grabbing some premium chocolate to go from a wide variety available at the general store/gourmet shop on-site. While the restaurant is not open for dinner, the shop is open until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 4 p.m. on weekends to accommodate the regular diners and others looking for quality convenience foods and/or the ingredients to produce them.