This is one of my favorite areas of Montreal to explore.
Make sure to explore The Plateau walking down Rue Saint-Denis. This is a great street with many clothing and accessory stores, furniture stores, patisseries, restaurants, cafes, bars, hair salons, theaters and galleries. Most of the above are between Rue Villeneuve and Rue Roy. I really liked Nu Space at 4689 Rue Saint-Denis, with its great mid-century furniture reproductions, and Kusmi a Montreal at 3875 Saint-Denis, for a huge tea selection. They are based in Paris with teas carried throughout France. They have a store in New York as well.
Make sure also to walk through the surrounding neighborhood. Take Rue du Square Saint Louis to the Square Saint Louis which is a beautiful square with some very attractive homes surrounding it. Walking east and west along Rue Duluth is also an attractive diversion.
I recommend L’Express at 3927 Rue Saint-Denis. 845-5333. It is your typical French bistro in menu and décor that has been there for 30 years. You could be right in Paris. I enjoyed a salmon dish with spinach and a glass of French wine. It was very crowded so make sure to make a reservation. Seating at the bar is a good option! They open at 8 am, except on weekends when they open around 10 for brunch.
I went back for dinner in The Plateau at Chez Victoire Bistro de Quartier at 1453 Avenue du Mont Royal Est (at Garnier). My waiter at Laurier Gordon Ramsay works here also and suggested I should try it. It had just been totally redone. I had a wonderful dining experience (except for a brief neighborhood power outage). Alexandre was my waiter. To me it looked like a totally updated neighborhood French bistro with great ambiance. The food by Chef Alexandre Gosselin was wonderful and creative. The heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella that was made into a soft foam was to die for, the pappardelles maison with braised rabbit and a parmesan foam was wonderful and the chocolate mousse on top of Nutella, hazelnuts, home made cookies and pears was truly amazing. I would go back in a minute. Make sure you go!!!!
My last night I had dinner with a friend at Au Pied de Cochon at 536 Rue Duluth Est. Not part of the Paris chain, it is a small, attractive neighborhood restaurant and was packed. Almost a cult favorite, it is known for its fois gras and pork items. Go hungry since the food is on the heavier side. I liked the beet salad and the pork chop which was huge. Two doors down on the corner is La Colombe, at 554 Rue Duluth. I understand they have good lamb burgers from the host at L’Express. It is also a bring your own wine restaurant!!