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Chez la Mére Berteau
1237 Champlain. Papineau métro BYOB

RESERVATIONS: 524-9344. HOURS: 11:30 a.m.—2:30 p.m. for lunch, Tues.—Fri. 6 p.m. on, 7 days a week (Sun. open for groups of 6 or more only. Reservations necessary). NO-SMOKING SECTION: No. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No. PRICES—TABLE D’HÔTE: $12.95—$23.95. CREDIT CARDS: Visa, Mastercard.
Chez La Mére Berteau is a restaurant on a very human scale: they admit to being cuisine familiale française, so don't come here looking for elegance in decor or plate presentation—come for the friendly feeling and home-style cooking.

Even if you are a little hesitant, we strongly advise that you try the game here: although they do the French classics, game is what they're good at. You may get a better lapin à la moutarde elsewhere, but you won't find such a broad range of game dishes in any other BYOB in town, period.

The idea here is to fuse the French country cooking traditions with Canada's readily available game. The wood and brick French country restaurant look also has Quebec hunting lodge aspects to it, and the chef fuses his French cooking skills with game such as bison, deer, caribou, and wild boar.

The cuisine here has improved consistently over the last five years (Is this the result of the effortlessly bilingual Berteau daughter coming on board?). Amongst the starters, we can recommend the boudin (blood sausage), the escargots a l’ail et au beurre, which were excellent, the feuilleté d’escargots, tomate et ail, and the terrine de chevreull, all equally delicious.

For your main meal, try the savoury supreme de poulet farci au sanglier (chicken breast stuffed with wild boar), a special which is not always on the menu. Boeuf bourguignon, caribou, sauce bordelaise, filet de sole de l'Atlantique aux herbes du marché, and the classic poulet a l'estragon usually are on the menu. Most meals are accompanied by a delightful, woodsy-tasting potato and onion gratin. For dessert, try the rustic bread pudding with maple syrup, a tasty, if not elegant treat.

We also appreciate Chez La Mére Berteau's tradition of putting out plenty of water in litre wine bottles: it adds a homey touch to the meal, as well as assuring that the wine you drink is moderated with a little water. A nice change from other BYOBs, where, once they have opened your wine, they consider you "taken care of," and you have to practically beg for water!

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