When Stewart Rubin invited me to join him for lunch at Ristorante Atrio at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Montreal (www.montreal.embassysuites.com) on Saint-Antoine Street West I must admit I expected a casual menu to choose from.
Stewart is the general manager of the hotel, as well as sister properties Hotel Faubourg and Candlewood Suites nearby. He is a veteran in the industry who has found a new passion in life – playing the guitar in his band called Daylite Vampires.
I have always loved the Embassy Suites brand, but when Stewart handed me a menu I was impressed with the selection. Located across the street from the Palais des congrès and minutes from Old Montreal, the hotel’s Ristorante Atrio has a steady clientele from hotel guests alone for breakfast, lunch, supper and the very popular Manager’s Reception. But as Stewart told me, because of the attractive menu, combined with excellent prices, many people at conventions at the Palais or headed to or from the Old Montreal have discovered this hidden gem.
We were served by Arthur. Stewart had a Caesar Salad, fresh romaine lettuce with garlic croutons, bacon bits and parmesan with Caesar dressing. In my case, he suggested I sample a few items. The soup of the day was a cream of broccoli, something I had never tried before until a month earlier at another dining establishment. It has become my new favorite and the Atrio version was beyond delicious, served with some pieces of French bread.
I saw a rib steak on the menu, topped with mushrooms and served with an arugula salad. It absolutely exceeded my expectations, cutting like butter and cooked a perfect medium well. The mushrooms tasted like candy. I was too full to experience one of the nice dessert selections
Among the other choices are poutine, chicken wings, a variety of salads, deli sandwiches such as smoked meat and clubs, hamburgers, pasta, chicken brochette, grilled salmon and pizza. “Our pizzas are extremely popular,” said Stewart.
The restaurant seats 125 people and 20 more at the bar. A seasonal terrace can accommodate an additional 80. There is a large TV on mute which usually shows the sports game of the day or night. Renovations will take place soon, adding a grab and go outlet in a redesigned lobby and fresh new booths and chairs in Atrio.
Food at the Embassy Suites Montreal is available from 6 am weekdays and 7 am weekends until 11 pm every night. For guests it starts off with a generous breakfast. At this time you can enjoy a cooked-to-order omelet made just the way you like it with your favorite fillings. There are other fresh options like breakfast potatoes, eggs and bacon or lighter choices like fruit, oatmeal and pastries.
The nightly Manager’s Reception from 5 pm to 7 pm, also for guests, sees many people come and go through the course of the evening. Some are heading out into Montreal, and others are returning from a romantic meal. They have one goal in common; enjoying a thoroughly relaxing drink in good company.
Embassy Suites Montreal, boasting 200 two-room suites and indoor parking, is located at 208 Saint Antoine West. You can call 514-288-8886 for more information.
By Mike Cohen