The most popular items are undoubtedly the burgers (beef, veggie, or cod) and the tartares (beef or salmon), which are each served with a choice of french fries, salad, or both. Go for the fries, which are served in a tin cup with mayo or ketchup on the side. They are particularly good.
Starters include fried calamari, beef carpaccio, foie gras au torchon, and tuna tataki. For main dishes, if burgers and tartares aren't your thing, there are plenty of other classics from which to choose, such as macaroni and cheese, Caesar salad, hanger steak, raviolis, and grilled scallops. Some Québecois cuisine, like pâté chinois (shepherd's pie) in lamb and duck versions, are also included on the menu. From American cheesecake to Québécois pudding chômeur to French pain perdu, desserts on the menu show a mixture of influences.
Although some of the other dishes are fine, I usually try to stick to the tried and true burgers and tartares. The rest of the menu is not as reliably good.
Vallier is an easy going place. Service is generally friendly, and attention has been paid to the decor to make it cozy and not overly sleek. While Vallier gets good business and is often buzzing, it is usually not overly crowded. There are tables to seat parties of all sizes, too. This combination of factors makes Vallier a good choice for a spontaneous meal out.
Given that the food is fairly simple and of adequate but not outstanding quality, some might find the prices high. For instance, a cheeseburger and fries with a beer and dessert will set you back more than $40 with tax and tip. A modest portion of beef tartare with a glass of tap water goes for more than $30 with tax and tip.
In short, Vallier is O.K. If you don't mind the price point, it's good for an easy dinner in a nice atmosphere, but I wouldn't go across town for it. Vallier may not be a dream choice, but it's not a bad one, either.
425 McGill Street
Metro: Square Victoria
Price: Allow $30 - $50 per person, including tax and tip, for lunch or dinner.
Highlights: Good fries. Pleasant ambiance.