About ten years ago, Le Plateau was reinventing the meaning of “the place to be”. New restaurants were opening on almost every corner, new cafes and boutiques opened as well, and from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon there was hardly strutting room on the sidewalks.
A lot can change in 10 years and since then most of the once hot establishments on Mount Royal have cooled off, changed owners or locations or simply closed down altogether. As sad as it can be, this is normal in the cycle of gentrified life. A restaurant or bar opens and has it’s time to shine and when the time comes, it leaves the space for the next crop of cool places to see and be seen in. One restaurant, however, that seems to have missed the memo is Les Folies, one of Mount Royal Avenue’s least interesting and for some reason, still overcrowded restaurants.
A few weeks ago, I went back after having avoided the place for over a year. It was around 9pm when we skated into the restaurant over the icy street level terrace. We waited at the door for someone to seat us and after a minute or two we realized that the employees were too busy waltzing with each other to come greet us. I’m all for a fun atmosphere in a restaurant, but don’t keep people waiting. The waiters seemed unfazed by us, so we went in and chose a table for ourselves. After looking over my shoulder to see if we’d get served, the waiter came with the menus and we chose a light meal with a glass of red wine; he didn’t seem very impressed by the size of our order and his point came across. The wait staff took their time serving us food that was too salty and practically inedible. We finished our drink and paid.
Les Folies cramped dining room might seem bistro-esque but I find what may have been charming at one point, has now become tedious. Trying to squeeze into your table and have a conversation with your friends is easier said than done. Being so close to everyone else, you might as well dip your fries in your neighbor’s mayo and just shrug it off.
With so many good places to go in Montreal, I can’t help but wonder what kind of people still come back to places like this. Bad food, poor service and dated décor is hardly worth of my hard earned dollars, or anyone else’s.