Psst. What’s the password?
A lot of restaurants in my Old Montreal neighborhood are touristy, with a maitre d’ who stands outside urging you to eat there. But some of the neighborhood’s best eateries don’t even have a sign.
A couple of insider-ish places worth splurging on in Vieux Montreal are Chasse et Peche (423 rue St. Claude) and the wine bar/restaurant Aszu (212 rue Notre Dame est). Both have the dainty-morsel-on-a-big-white-plate aesthetic (i.e. you might want a snack before or after), but are adventurous in their cuisine.
If you’re not into nouvelle cuisine, go to Aszu just for the wine bar, where you can buy tasting portions from the vast wine collection. (Aszu imports wine privately, so they have things you won’t find at the SAQ).
Any other out-of-the way restaurants you know about? Places without signs, where you just have to know where you’re going? (And yes, I know they’re all listed in the various restaurant guides, but that’s cheating.)