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Leméac: a chic French brasserie and a Montreal institution

Published on February 21, 2016
© Photos Jimmy Hamelin
restaurant lemeac montreal

Leméac is a chic French brasserie, a true institution in Montreal, and one of the best French restaurants in the city. Having recently passed the 15 year mark, the restaurant is still going as strong as ever. The popularity of Leméac truly reflects the owners’ concern and desire to satisfy their customers and to offer a consistent and high quality product.

Owners Émile Saine and Richard Bastien (Le Mitoyen and Café des Beaux-Arts) opened Leméac in November 2001. “Émile never cuts corners when it comes to the restaurant. He has always lived by putting time, money and energy into his restaurant. You have to be demanding of yourself and always adjust to offer the best quality possible.” Émile passed on his concern for doing things right to his son Maxime Saine, who is now co-owner and is quietly taking over the family business. You can see him on the floor a few nights a week and he also handles the restaurant’s public relations.

Many great chefs have cooked at Leméac – Stelio Perombelo, Charles-Emmanuel Pariseau, Jean-Philippe St-Denis, Eric Dupuis, to name a few – and Patrice Demers (Patrice Pâtissier) is the one who developed the recipes for the restaurant’s pastries; “80% of the desserts are still his recipes”. The place is so well organized that the move to Leméac has been dubbed the “Leméac System”. Chef Oliver Belzile (Le Local, l’Épicier) has been in charge of Leméac’s kitchen since September 2016.

Leméac’s menu hasn’t changed much in the last ten years, but why change a winning formula? A great menu that has developed over the years that allows everyone to find something to their liking. The menu features superbly executed French brasserie dishes: steak frites (some of the best), moules frites, tartare, escargots and more. Note that a set menu is available every night starting at 10 pm. The chefs also offer a table d’hôte for lunch and dinner.

The establishment has more than 100 employees in three departments; the kitchen, the management – handled by the famous and charming Fanny, who has always been there! – and accounting. Fanny takes care of many things: personnel management, scheduling, customer service, restaurant management – she is the right hand woman of Émile and Maxime Saine. Together, they ensure the well-being of the employees and the smooth running of the place. Each department is responsible for its own section. This requires both individual rigour and team cohesion in the organization. At Leméac, many employees have been here for more than ten years; the best indicator of a good work climate and good treatment of employees.

Leméac’s decor, designed by Luc Laporte, is part of the restaurant’s success; elegant, chic and well done. The restaurant has a hundred seats, including a large bar with more than ten seats; “the bar is essential in a brasserie, it allows people to spend a pleasant moment alone and couples to enjoy a different experience.” Leméac is located on the corner of Laurier West and Durocher Avenue, with big windows that allow the sunshine to illuminate the restaurant all day long. The owners have also designed a superb terrace with about 50 seats that allows you to enjoy the beautiful days of summer as well as winter, as the space becomes winterized when the cool weather approaches. Together, all of these elements form one of the most beautiful restaurants in Montreal.

We also like the fact that Leméac promotes organic and local products, sustainable fishing and the practice of waste minimization. For these reasons, it is also on our list of eco-responsible restaurants in Montreal!

The service is always professional and courteous. The proof is that to this day, the establishment serves more than 2600 customers per week. Leméac is open 5 days a week, and also offers one of our favourite brunches in town. This is a staple restaurant in Montreal because for over 15 years, the quality has been consistent, the service impeccable and the atmosphere warm and inviting. Things are balanced just right here. The address is also one of Evelyne Brochu’s favourites! Note, during the holiday season, the address is open on December 24th and 31st!

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