The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.04.06


A Montreal seafood buffet that dazzles

There's a new seafood king on the block. Friday nights have been offered up to Neptune at the Hilton Montreal Airport and if you relish in delights from the oceans, this is the place to be. A huge seafood buffet awaits hungry patrons in a display that dazzles at Atmosphere.

Scallops unite with mussels and shellfish abound on icy beds laden with all manner of fresh marine offerings. I noted at least four varieties of each, allowing you to slurp from the shell or to enjoy flavorful little sauces as accompaniments with fork.

Shrimp come in all sizes and here they have them all. A twist of lemon makes for a snappy appetizer or a simple salad puts them to good use. Whatever your preference, shrimp wait patiently as you decide on what suits you at the moment.

The Hilton Atmosphere seafood innovation comes in the form of a buffet at a great price. Included in the all you can eat menu is a whole cooked lobster served three ways, a hot and cold buffet with a variety of soups, salads, and breads, a super dessert bar and a chef station where three chefs cook seafood to order.

On the night of my visit I sampled saut&eacut;ed jumbo shrimp in a curry sauce from the hot station while my partner chose fresh calamari quickly stir fried in a spicy red chili sauce. Both dishes impressed with quality and quantity. I enjoyed a whole lobster grilled on an open flame and my partner chose hers served a la Thermidor.

The buffet offers almost too many items to mention here but worth noting is the fact that a great variety of cheeses and marinated side dishes allow even the most finicky to partake.

No need to slurp oysters on the half shell if you are squeamish. You will find salmon, smoked sturgeon, cold meats and terrines, and healthy alternatives such as pickles, olives, and crisp veggies beautifully displayed.

For landlubbers, large slices of prime rib are served to order and I admit, I ventured over to the chef station for a large slice of medium rare roast beef heaven.

Unlike most buffets in town, the atmosphere at the Hilton is in tune with its substantial hotel status. Fairly upscale with excellent table service, diners benefit from personal care while having the freedom to move about and chose whatever their hearts desire in a casual way.

Food lovers such as myself could eat nothing but sugar pie, cheesecake, chocolate ganache or fruit flan and be more than satiated at this restaurant. However, one would miss a rare opportunity to sample fresh seafood in all its glory at an unheard of price.

At $49.95, The Hilton Atmosphere seafood buffet offers diners truly exceptional value. For the usual cost of a lobster at other restaurants you get to feast all night and sample everything the sea has to offer, and then some. I recommend a visit whether you are traveling by air or not. The Hilton Montreal Airport seafood buffet is worthy of a special trip all on its own.