With the fall-winter-spring lockdown finally over, Montreal restaurants are reopening their terrasses and dining rooms this summer. What better time to wine and dine your special someone at the places you were always curious about that have thankfully survived the most tumultuous year in our lifetimes.
With that adventurous thought in mind, we headed to the borough of Outremont’s charming Avenue Bernard, which welcomes us with wide sidewalks, furnished with benches and planters, and lined with small shops and restaurants, with a vibe reminiscent of a European-style neighborhood.
Montreal city planners have made Avenue Bernard a car-free street, between Wiseman and Bloomfield from May 28th to October 31st, to facilitate the reopening of businesses by increasing foot traffic along the popular strip. With extra space on the street itself, restaurants are able to set up tables and chairs in a way that allows them to serve covid-conscious customers while respecting physical distancing.
With a diversity of culinary treasures to choose from, we were lucky enough to be invited to discover Brasserie Bernard, which offers eclectic, French-inspired bistro dishes and a wine-centric bar in a stylish space with Parisian flair. Opened in 2013 by the Holder brothers, this place is almost always full and very popular with residents looking for unpretentious moments, around a good plate of comfort food.
While its interior design emulates the look of Restaurant Holder, an institution in Old Montreal; a distinctive element of Brasserie Bernard is that the lobby bar area is overlooked, in gold and green lettering, by the name of the brewery, signaling our entrance in the atmosphere of a Parisian bistro of yesteryear.
With a dining room of 80 seats, there is more than enough space to host numerous guests seeking a good spot to eat, drink and talk.
The lights at Brasserie Bernard emit a yellow hue, creating a visually warm place.
The evolving menu, with classics and new items crafted by chef Alexandre Fortier, offers French cuisine with a local twist. Although we were extremely tempted by the Prince Edward Island mussel casserole devoured by guests at the table right next to us…
…we were quite pleased by our choice of salmon tartare…
…and fried calamari with grana panado as entrées…
…followed by a grilled Angus beef hanger steak and a pan-fried sea bass as our main courses.
To accompany our meal, sommelier Alexis de la Renaudière has put together a fine wine list to select from. Brasserie Bernard also has a bar permit, which means this is one of the only places on Avenue Bernard where you can just come and have a drink.
Brasserie Bernard is perfect for a pleasant brunch, lunch or dinner, combining tasty dishes and a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. We must really thank co-owners Nathalie Côté and Patricia Trudel for inviting us to enjoy a delightful evening — as you can see from these beautiful photos — that has confirmed why Avenue Bernard is one of the city’s more welcoming corners.
Here is what you need to know about Brasserie Bernard
Location: 1249 Avenue Bernard, Montréal, QC H2V 1V7
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: Noon to 3 PM | 5 PM to 10 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 5 PM to 10 PM
Online Reservations: (Indoor Dining Room) Bookenda
Photo credit: Caroline Perron
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