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Food

O.Noir Restaurant Review

O.Noir Restaurant Review

O.Noir restaurant in Montreal and Toronto is fast becoming an adventure in dining. The name is French and basically translates to “at the black.” A friend called for reservations and they were booked solid for a week so be sure to call in advance. This is one of the trendiest hotspots where you never actually see the people sitting right next to you!

No Lights

The concept is that you eat in complete darkness. Now that I’ve done it, I know what they mean by “complete” darkness. Everything in the restaurant is painted black and so your eyes never adapt to the light (because there is none). A friend of mine went to the bathroom (the waiter guides you) and she said there was a tiny bit of very dim light there. You spend the entire time in complete darkness. You are not allowed to have cell phones or other lights. There are lockers in the lobby so you don’t have to worry about your purse getting stolen.

Your Waiters are Blind

If you ever wanted to know what life is like as a blind person in a restaurant, this is the place for you. All of the waiters are blind and it seems that they’ve memorized where to go to navigate around the restaurant.

Go in Groups

I went with a group of 6 friends and we had a great time laughing the whole way through. I don’t think it would have been as much fun in a group of 2 or 3. The restaurant was quite noisy and we certainly contributed to that. I can see this as being somewhere adventurous to go for a birthday party.

The Food

You have to order your meals in the lobby before you enter the main dining area because there’s no light so you won’t be able to see a menu. They had fixed menus with 2 courses for $30 and 3 courses for $37. I ordered the filet mignon and was very impressed. They also have a mystery meal which adds to the excitement because not only do you not see the food, you don’t know what it is until you try it!

The funny part about it is that you keep cutting and eating but it’s hard to tell when you’ve eaten the entire meal. I discovered a large piece of meat that I hadn’t eaten as we approached the end of the meal.

Without lights, you certainly have a different sensation while eating. You’ll have to experience it for yourself to truly understand.

Not for Everyone

O’Noir is more of a one-shot experience than a restaurant that you would go to on a regular basis. It was stressful for one of my friends who hated the idea of feeling her way around her plate to find her food and then cut it in a small enough piece to fit into her mouth. If you take it easy and take your time, you’ll enjoy it more.

Go for the Experience

If you’re adventurous, go for a great time and good food.

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2 Comments

  1. Love Food

    August 10, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Not worth the money. I was very enthusiastic about the experience but ended up being disappointed. I can’t figure out if being in the dark is a green light to serve low quality food at an expensive price. I don’t know if they downgraded the quality of their food or they changed the chef. All I can say you can eat far better food in Montreal for the price you pay there.

    I took the surprise menu to be surprised with raviolis as starter. They tasted like the frozen kind from the texture. The meal was some kind of meat maybe tenderized veal… a mixture of mushrooms porcini and regular ones I could tell from the taste and the size. Few baby carrots and green beans again frozen. The carrots were well cooked. The beans were aldante in weird way, not raw and not cooked a texture you get when you hurry up cooking the frozen kind. The meat and VGs were flooded by a demi-glace sauce.

    The only good things was the potato oven baked flavored with rosemary. I found the service to be pretty fast. We were in and out in less than an hour. Totally not worth 37+tax+tip (btw, the hostess insists it’s a 15% that she prefers to add to your credit card bill).

  2. One Shot Deal

    August 17, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I was also enthusiastic about the experience but didn’t feel as if we got our money’s worth. Four of us ordered the 3 course meal, and we also ordered 2 bottles of wine, one red, one white. The plates were full size, but the food was scant. The biggest dissapointment was the filet mignon, precut into 3, maybe 4 1-inch pieces, and no there wasn’t any that fell off the plate onto the table. Potatoes? 3-4 shaved potatoes with one piece of asparagus cooked eldante. Tasty but not enough food to sustain really.

    I ordered the surprise and told them I did not eat fish, and if there was fish I would order differently. Low and behold, the appetizer was salmon, I felt this to be unacceptable.

    About the wine, they pour it outside, and the glasses are small so I don’t think you’re getting the full bottle. All in all, the experience was frustrating, the food was scant, and the noise level was disturbing.

    The billl for 4 was close to $325.00. I know that when I go to Bumpkin’s and spend this kind of money, I get an unforgettable meal and you can barely walk out of the place. Total satiation.

    I appreciate that the waitstaff who are blind are making a living, but give them something to carry to the table, not just a big plate with lettuce on it.

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