for August, 2011
Let me start off by saying La Fabrique is amazing. Everything about the place is perfect. The design, both interior and exterior is impeccable, the service was well-timed and the view from the terrasse at the Annexe was beautiful. Boasting minimalistic wooden chairs with ultra low backs, vintage/rustic decor (typewriter, spigot type faucets, warm wooden paneling) and a friendly and inviting vibe, the restaurant finds an optimal stylistic balance somewhere between antique and modern. On top of all of this, the food is great.
This has been a favourite spot of mine for years. It’s close proximity to my apartment and park lafontaine, very friendly staff and unbeatable table d’hote price speak for itself. To top it all off, it’s bring your own wine and they even have a small terrace. I’ve eaten here over 20 times and never had a bad experience. This summer, the restaurant underwent major renovations and this was my first visit back.
Located directly across from Lasalle College, Avesta may be easy to miss amongst many ethnic eateries on St Catherine West. Once we saw the lady in the front window happily stretching fresh dough to make delicious flat bread, we committed to giving it a try. The service was somewhat slow during the lunch hour as we picked up sandwiches (that were really wraps) to go. Word on the street is that Avesta’s specialty is Manti which is fresh dough with spiced beef covered in yogurt, butter and spices.
Lecōsho is located just off of Seattle’s downtown waterfront and offers a great indoor view to its diners as well as a terrace. The service was very friendly as well as helpful – I caught some of the banter going on with other diners and couldn’t help but laugh.
Looking down the comment/review list on Burgundy Lion‘s Urbanspoon page, sentiments are mixed. While the crowd is doubtlessly cool, the atmosphere is chic and the decor is interestingly laid out, the service is sporadic, the menu is forgettable and the food is at its best mediocre. I really wanted to like this place after hearing so much about the legendary trivia night, the great drinks and the people – but unfortunately the food did not measure up.
Tandoor & Grille’s new digs on des Sources street is more than a few steps up from the comparatively smaller space they occupied for years before just a block over on the strip. Boasting chandeliers that hang from the high ceilings, flat screen TVs on opposing walls and a seating capacity that’s about triple the size of the old restaurant, Tandoor is clearly doing very well. And it’s all because of the amazing food they serve there. Loyal customers from the beginning, we have come to be acquaintances with the Pakistani chef. As we tried to order the famous dahl soup, he came out to tell us that it wasn’t ready (we were some of the only diners in the restaurant at noon on a Sunday) and suggested the chicken vegetable soup instead. So we took it! It was hearty and actually had some Chinese influence – coming with optional toppings of two types of chili and soy sauce, that much was obvious. If you’re going to order a big meal, this soup is not recommended with those with smaller stomachs – you won’t have room to eat much else!
Pizzeria Magpie is managed by the same family of restauranteurs as Sparrow (5322 boul. St. Laurent) and is located on Rue Maguire just down the street. I was there for take out, but got the chance to sit down and talk to the friendly staff while my order was prepared. This time I went for the Artichoke Pizza with spinach, fontina, parmesan and tomato sauce. There was a perfect amount of artichokes on the pizza and they were well cooked and tasty to bite into. The crust was crunchy and on the thinner side – all dough is made from Caputo pizza flour. The menu also offers classics like the Margherita as well new ones like the Fennel Sausage pizza.
Located immediately next to Atwater Market’s parking lot in its open air market space, the Satay Brothers has been garnering a lot of buzz in the Montreal food scene lately – and rightfully so. Serving South Asian food, the menu is short but sweet and filled with authentic Singaporean items. Alex (one of the Satay Brothers) ordered for us after we asked him to give us the best of what they had.
The West Island welcomes a new addition to its ethnic roster of restaurants: Aryana. And no, it’s not another serving Indian food – this time its Afghan. It’s nice to see some more diversity in the curry, stew and grill departments on des Sources Boulevard. Having been open a mere three weeks, the family run restaurant is still very new to the scene in terms of notoriety and recognition – hopefully people will hear more about it and take the time to visit the place because it is unbelievably good. Some even make comparisons to the more established Khyber Pass on Duluth and conclude that Aryana has a better grasp on the authenticity of the cuisine!
One of my favorite spots to go to for a quick and easy lunch is the Vietnamese Hoai Huong, located a block away from the Cote-St-Catherine metro station. We sat on the terrace out front which was quite roomy and equipped with sun umbrellas so those who don’t like to endure the heat can eat in comfort. I had the “pink Vietnamese drink with coconut milk” which was exactly that- the pink color comes from the red jelly at the bottom which was chewy and a little sweet. Great chiller for summer weather.
Due to its location in the Old Port, it is no wonder that Osteria Venti attracts an older, more sophisticated crowd. As we waited to be seated, a foursome of seniors pushed past us, completely foregoing the line while quickly beckoning at their friends outside, grabbing the two remaining barstools. The hostess who was away at the moment immediately noticed and notified them that reservations were necessary and recommended Philemon as the next closest bar, if a drink was all they wanted. I thought that was a particularly humorous start to the evening.
Kono Pizza is just that – flatbread rolled into a cone and filled with delicious pizza ingredients. We ordered the Bocconcini Pesto cone as well as the Carnita cone (each 6$). The ingredients tasted fresh and the cheese was great – one cone is not quite a full meal but you can get a cone drink and salad for 10$. They also offer deli, breakfast and dessert cones but my feeling is that the pizza cone is king.
Meat Market is one of those places you always pass by and take note of but never actually venture inside for one reason or another. The name itself may cause a little controversy as some know the term “meat market” as slang for a place where men and women go to hook up (check this definition if you’ve never heard of it), but then again it could also just mean a place where meat is sold. In any case, yesterday was the big day – stopping by for dinner, we were surprised to find that we were one of the few clients there but maybe it was because it was a Wednesday night. There is a lovely terrace outside, a perfect conduit for enjoying the summer weather while eating some delicious food in Montreal.
Yes, yet another all you can eat fancy buffet in Taipei, this one is within walking distance from the Dapinglin MRT station. The Splendor Hotel is particularly famous for its sashimi as well as its seafood section so that was one of the most consistently popular counters of the night. Particularly outstanding were the pig tail, (with the actual bone intact, you eat the meat around it), the frog legs and the moji for dessert. While the place does ask for a bit more cash for entry, it is well worth it – just check out the pictures – that should do the place some justice. The options as to what you can eat are endless!
Everyone appreciates good food. When it’s cheap too, it’s a pleasant bonus – this unbeatable combination usually makes the place an instant favorite or a go-to spot. Dépanneur Le Pick Up is one of such places. Serving a number of different clubs and sandwiches for lunch – the pulled pork is notably their most famous item – Le Pick Up exudes a very friendly and very casual vibe because if you were wondering, the restaurant really is located inside a dépanneur so after your meal you can conveniently pick up a few things for the kitchen if you wish. Unfortunately the pulled pork was all out by the time we got there, so we got the club chipotle and the vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich. The chicken in the club was tender, juicy and delicious and the smoked Mexican mayo contributed a nice spicy kick to the overall flavor. The Vietnamese was quite spicy in its own right, being peppered with hot red ones throughout. Everything disappeared faster than you could say “Dépanneur Le Pick Up” – a foretelling sign that we’ll be back in no time.
Di Bao is immediately striking what with two great big Chinese drums flanking its outer entrance (diners are free to pick up the drum sticks and hit the drums as hard as they can) , elaborately dressed waitresses (headdresses and formal Chinese gowns), and the glimmering gold emperor’s chair at the front of the restaurant. The plating at this restaurant is most impressive: catching a glimpse of other tables with food already served, I couldn’t wait to see what the set menu we had pre-ordered had in store.
For just $490 NT you can eat as much as your heart desires at the grill-it-yourself On Fire restaurant by the Dinxi MRT station. There is all sorts of seafood (shrimp, scallop, cod, clams) and meat (veal tongue, chicken, pork, sausage) to choose from at the self-serve food bar at the back of the restaurant. There is a ingredients bar for the hot pot that includes fish balls, button mushrooms, Chinese cabbage and tofu among other delicious staples of Chinese cuisine. This deal also includes a nice selection of ice cream by Haagan Daaz and others – flavors range from more Asian influenced ones such as black sesame, taro and sapodilla to more conventional Western ones like cookies and cream. strawberry cheesecake and rum raisin.
Aziatik is a pan-asian restaurant located just off McGill Street on the western edge of Old Montreal. The vibe they are trying to establish is upscale and the interior is well decorated. The menu was recently expanded to offer an even broader representation of Asian cuisine. My favorite dish at this spot is the thai duck which is served sizzling on a plate. This time, we ordered Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura, Crispy fried Squids with salt, pepper, onions and bell peppers, Cantonese Chow Mein, Red Curry and Coconut Milk Vegetables and Spicy Tuna / Spicy Salmon rolls.
Directly on the drive into wine country, right before Sonoma proper, Alsian Station Grill sits across from Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vinyards. The Argentinian fare was perfect for the sunny terrace and we even committed the sin of drinking beer (Quilmes) in Sonoma. To accompany our drinks we ordered two orders of Baked Provolone served with fresh bread along with a Grilled Portobello Sandwich and Skirt Steak. All the dishes were extremely fresh and featured delicious dressed-down ingredients.
A warning to potential visitors to Longshan Temple – it is a weird and freaky place. It was my second time there and the feeling of walking around in a post-apocalyptic circus world lingered still from my original impression. While I may be exaggerating a little bit, my description isn’t too far off from reality.