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Arriving late via road trip to Montreal and finding a decent restaurant in the wee hours doesn’t leave room for many options. Yes, we could have dined on the Montreal staple cuisine of poutine goodness, and believe me, there were places a plenty offering this sinful artery-clogging dish. But we were in the mood for something a little upscale…something a little French. Our new Montreal friends, T’Cha and Heidi, took us to L’Express (3927 Saint-Denis), a classic Parisian style brasserie. The great thing about this place is the kitchen is open late! Till 3 a.m. to be exact and the restaurant is known to serve classic French food morning, day and night.

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The menu is pretty heavy-handed in the meat department. Tatare, steak frites and veal didn’t sound like dishes that would digest well at 1 a.m., so I took a walk on the light side and opted for the Fish Soup. Listed as an appetizer at $9.85 this could have easily been a main course, the portion size was enormous and absolutely delicious. Plus the accompanying roue was divine.

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As a side we shared the Octopus and Lentil salad ($13.50). Ooh la la! Check out the presentation. It was quite impressive, featuring molded layers of soft octopus encasing brown lentils. Although the plating technique was spectacular, the dish was unfortunately a bit on the bland side. Apparently in this case, looks can be deceiving.

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But for me the pièce de résistance of the meal were the homemade dark chocolate truffles (each $0.85) coated in a delicate dusting of cocoa. They practically melted in my mouth, so heavenly!

L’Express is one of those Montreal destinations — a classic bistro that’s on the top of everyone’s list. You’ll find all the usual suspects of classic French food at moderate prices. Be sure to call ahead and make reservations, this place is hopping! Bon appetit!

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