I had been hearing about Bistro Bienville for a few months now. It’s one of my friend Line‘s favourite restaurants and to tell you the truth, I had been feeling a little bit out of the loop for not having been there yet! After all, it has been open for almost 4 years now! That was remedied to a couple of weeks ago when I finally made it out to the heart of the Plateau, to a quiet residential street where the restaurant is unassumingly taking up a corner spot with a lovely herb garden in front. Upon walking in, I was immediately struck by how tiny the place is; only a few tables and some bar stools, about 25 seats in all.
The rather small menu (4 appetizer choices, 4 mains, a cheese course and 2 desserts) is however packed with very interesting items. These are meant to be shared by 2 people and if there just happens to be 3 of you at the table – as was the case with us – then you can trust your very knowledgeable waiter to direct you in your choices. We decided on 2 appetizers and 2 main courses to be shared by all 3 of us. It was more than enough.
If you do go – and I strongly recommend that you do – I urge you to please order the tomato tart. It is a simple tart but oh so flavourful, with the sweetness of the caramelized onions, the acidity of the tomatoes and the sharpness of the Manchego all making beautiful music together. Absolutely divine. The pork and clams appetizer, although very well executed, played second fiddle to the tart that I absolutely adored.
The main dishes we ordered were the Angus beef with Béarnaise sauce and the Cornish hen. The hen was tender, juicy, the vegetables tasty and the jus very flavourful but my heart went to the melt-in-your-mouth Angus beef! I am not a big meat eater and I usually tend to pick the fish dish when at a restaurant but I couldn’t do that on Friday night because of a fish allergy at our table. So we ended up with the beef. The juicy, tender, tasty beef and the perfect Béarnaise sauce that accompanied it. Let’s just say I was very grateful for my friend’s fish allergy, although I must note that I saw the daily catch served at the next table and it looked beautiful!
The two dessert choices ended up at our table. One was chocolate and the other… wasn’t, guess which one was my favourite? OK, so I’m biased but this was made with Valhorna! and it included some home made Rice Krispies treats for dipping! Delicious! But to be absolutely honest, the restaurant’s strength lies in the savory dishes. I will be going back to taste that fish!
I love the atmosphere that takes over a restaurant once all the patrons have left. The adrenaline rush is gone, the stress levels have dropped and there’s a camaraderie among the staff that only restaurant workers share. We were privy to that camaraderie on that night since we were the last table there. But what struck me most is how truly “convivial” Bistro Bienville is. The 3 synonyms I found for “convivial” in the dictionary are:
- friendly; agreeable: a convivial atmosphere.
- fond of feasting, drinking, and merry company; jovial.
- of or befitting a feast; festive.
All 3 are perfect fits for this lovely little place…
4650 de Mentana, Plateau Mont-Royal
514 509 1249
Tuesday to Saturday: 5:30pm to 10pm