Thursday, July 9, 2015

In Montreal, don't let those hand-held credit-card terminals bite you

In the evening, Taverne F in Montreal offers freshly shucked oysters to customers, above and below.


Dining out in Montreal can be an adventure, but you'll pay more than double the 7% tax added to checks in New Jersey.

Tip on the tax? 

Never, though in Montreal you can be tricked into doing so at restaurants that use those hand-held credit-card terminals.

Sometimes, this slight of hand is intentional, judging from my experience last Sunday at Taverne F, a pricey Portuguese restaurant near our hotel and one of the big outdoor stages for the International Jazz Festival.

We arrived after lunch, and were handed a limited menu of small plates.

We ordered two nice salads, a delicious cold green pea soup, cod cakes, a glass of red wine and a passion fruit drink made with sparkling water for a total of $50 Canadian or about $40 U.S.

Now you see it ...

The tax was $7.49 Canadian, and the check showed that a 15% tip would be $7.50.

So, when the server handed me the portable credit-card terminal, I OK'd the total (with tax) of $57.49, and pressed the "15%" button to add the tip.

Even though the restaurant was far from full, especially inside, where we sat, service was slow, and I felt a 15% tip was generous.

Back at the hotel, I looked at the credit-card slip, and to my surprise and disgust, saw that a tip of $8.62 was added on the food and wine total -- as well as on the tax -- not the $7.50 shown on the check.

I'll have to remember to use the option on the terminal that allows you to indicate the exact amount of the tip you want to leave.

That evening, on the way to our final concert, I stopped at the restaurant, and asked for the tip overcharge of $1.12.

A server explained that the terminal automatically adds a tip on the total of food and tax.

Then, a young woman who I took to be a supervisor pulled at a small bank bag, and handed me a $2 Canadian coin. 

Cream-based Chilled Green Pea Soup with Mint, Smoked Paprika and Lemon Zest Whiped Cream ($6).

Taverne F Caesar Salad with Matane Shrimp, Sao Jorge Cheese and Sausage Chips, which I fished out and gave to my wife ($10).

Cod Cakes with Red Pepper Paste Mayo and Olive Crumble ($9).

A generous pour of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile was $11.

Many customers sit at outside tables with a view of a jazz festival stage.
The limited menu of small plates served at Taverne F in mid-afternoon.


Taverne F, 1485 Rue Jeanne-Mance, Montreal, QC; 1-514-289-4558.

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