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La Binerie Mont-Royal: An institution of Quebecois cuisine in Montreal
In the heart of the Plateau Mont-Royal is La Binerie Mont-Royal, a Montreal institution of Quebecois cuisine that has been around for 79 years! The establishment serves Montrealers Quebecois cuisine that has been preserved among the city’s international restaurants.
La Binerie Mont-Royal opened its doors in 1938 (!), making it one of the oldest restaurants in Montreal. From its small location on Mont-Royal Street, the place offers dishes straight out of Quebec tradition and history. The restaurant is run by Philippe S. Brunet and his wife Jocelyne G. Brunet, owners of the place for more than 14 years. Jocelyne is the “bine counter” in the kitchen and Philippe is the “binelogist” of the place – he prepares the famous beans of the Binerie. You’ll most likely see the friendly couple in the restaurant, welcoming diners. After all, the owners wanted to demonstrate French-Canadian hospitality in both the cuisine and the service.
La Binerie’s location recently moved a few doors further, and now seats 95. The owners’ decor is friendly and takes you back in time! Philippe and Jocelyne have hung a piece of history in the restaurant – literally – there is a series of illustrations by Edmond-Joseph Massicotte, a Quebec illustrator who published Nos Canadiens d’autrefois in 1923. This series depicts the traditions of French Canada at the time, traditions that have disappeared and are often forgotten. Philippe and Jocelyne are well versed on the subject and will be able to satisfy all and any curiosities. The restaurant also holds a certificate of excellence in geotourism for the preservation and enhancement of the heritage character of the geographical area where it is located.
On the menu, there is a wide range of choices. The Binerie offers a breakfast menu and a lunch menu. It is almost impossible to name all the items on the menu, but the restaurant does have its classics. The tourtière is always popular – and delicious – and so is the fish n’ chips, which is not fried and is therefore a bit healthier than the classic. The Binerie does not have a deep fryer, and everything is made in the oven; even the fries for the poutines which are also very good. The shepherd’s pie and meatloaf are two other popular items that are appreciated by the customers and regulars of the place. And it’s impossible not to taste the “bines” of La Binerie (!), that’s what gives the place its name. They have no added sugar and are true comfort food. Philippe uses a brick oven for his beans, present in the restaurant since its opening in 1938. Fun fact: La Binerie produces 32 tons of beans per year (!) Note that the entire menu is available for take-out and prices, all items combined, range from $6 to $20, with extras ranging from $2 to $5.
The favourite thing about their restaurant, the Brunets tell us, is their clientele and their ability to offer authentic Quebecois cuisine, which attracts locals, regulars and tourists alike to the doors of the Binerie. We appreciate the little trip back in time that they offer, and obviously we have a soft spot for their “bines”!
Written by Sophie Monkman
Photography by Alison Slattery