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Omnivore is a cute Mediterranean restaurant serving a mix of themed platters and delicious, fusion-type sandwiches. The place has a bit of a hippie sort of vibe that’s all at once calming and forwardly friendly, accentuated by the long wooden communal table and the close quarters that encourage diners to sit and eat together. Leafy plants decorate the windowsills and eclectic animal and abstract art decorate the colourfully tiled walls. You walk in, give the chalkboard menu a good look and step up to the counter to order. If you’re staying to eat, take a seat and wait for the servers to bring you your meal.
Do you see this? No, this is not a joke. Lobster croque monsieur. Straight up pimp daddy baller breakfast. Steak and eggs for those of you who can get down and dirty with steak in the morning and want something heavier to tide you over from last night’s hangover (or whatever). And oeufs cocotte for those who want something a little more ‘sophistiqué’.
Ever since we ate at the black hoof in Toronto, we’ve been bemoaning the lack of top shelf charcuterie in Montreal. We had heard a lot of buzz about Le Comptoir in the past few months and it took us all summer to finally get the chance to try it out.
I don’t know why I don’t go to La Fabrique more than I do. This place is amazing. I just remember the one and only time I went for dinner, I was completely blown away. Looking for somewhere to brunch, La Fabrique came up in my search and rose coloured memories gently came floating back.
Rumi Express is the junior counterpart to Rumi, a higher priced middle eastern restaurant on Hutchison. Short and sweet: Rumi Express is a no frills, quick service spot that seems to serve the St Laurent main lunch crowd.
Lacking signage save for the colorful, hand drawn words across the glass door and an adorable cartoon character we can only assume is Léo, we passed by Léo le Glacier for a brief break from the blazing heat Saturday afternoon. After spending the majority of the day out in the sun in Park Lafontaine, gelato seemed like the perfect refresher. Stepping into the tiny gelateria, we quickly chose our flavor combinations.
The ramen noodle bar just keeps getting raised higher and higher in Montreal – just when I think I’ve had the best, I went for lunch at Ramen Ya on St Laurent. Ramen Ya is a great and understated little restaurant with seating along the kitchen bar and a few tables for groups.
Montreal is a city with no shortage of culinary institutions and L’Express is one of my favorites. Established in 1980, this Parisian bistro has long been a fixture of St Denis street with its name written out on the iconic tiled terrace.
I think Montreal may be becoming ramen spoiled. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. When Big in Japan first opened in 2010 I ate there a few months later. To be honest, at the time I was simply happy to have cheap Japanese pub food in a convenient location (St Laurent and Pins) and in many ways, I still am.
Reservoir is one of those bars you just can’t help but love. I’ve been going here for years and it’s my go-to spot for bringing a friend from out of town to hang out in warm ambiance and have a good conversation.
Fully decked out in Christmas lights, Chao Phraya casts a warm glow onto the snowy street outside even though the holiday season has long passed. Hurrying inside to escape the cold on a Thursday night, we were seated almost immediately in arguably the best seats of the house. We were a party of three sitting right by the front window looking out onto Laurier street.
Overlooking the park, restaurant Le Filet is situated in a beautiful spot. Fully equipped with a small terrace for warmer days, the restaurant embodies haute cuisine in almost every way thanks to the careful attention to detail in the meticulous presentation of food, the well-trained servers and the overall decor of the place. Walking in, you immediately notice the long bar, the open kitchen closer to the back and the mesmerizing three-dimensional photographs of seafood, illuminated by a backlight behind the bar. Very cool.
Montreal is a city with no shortage of mid to high priced burger restaurants. Unfortunately many of them bad – and the cheap places tend to be a better bet. Perhaps the pressure of consumer expectation when paying more than $10 for a burger is just too much. Thankfully, ART:brgr (why no vowels?) actually delivers on the lofty promises of the $12 – $20 burger.
The location is on Gilford street just off the corner of St Denis and the interior decor is random but charming. Notably a pool table lies at the north side of the restaurant and a bar in its center. We stopped by on a Saturday evening and were a little curious as to why it was empty. The restaurant is larger than we expected and there were only two other groups of diners when we stopped in.
The menu consists of signature burgers, build your own burger and homemade hummus plates. I suppose the hummus plate is way of accommodating vegetarians? We ordered the Rojas Burger with lettuce, tomato, thin fried potatoes, jalapeno, cheddar cheese and a sunny side up egg with spicy home made aioli tomato sauce and the Steve McGarrett Burger with lettuce, spicy sweet chilli sauce [ house ], grilled pineapple, grilled onions and brie cheese. There are a couple of beers on tap including the usual St Ambroise as well as Carlsberg.
The Rojas Burger was straight up delicious. The patty was thick and perfectly cooked. This is where a lot of these pricier burger restos fall flat – they get so caught up adding expensive ingredients that they forget to honor the patty. The sunny side up egg has the potential to create a messy situation but instead the yolk became your friend. It seeped into the meat and added genuine flavor to the condiments.
The Steve McGarrett Burger was doing something more unconventional with the grilled pineapple and I dare say it could have been gimmicky. It was saved by a shrewd pairing of brie cheese and grilled onions. The soft cheese tones down the fruitiness of the pineapple and allows for the meat and chili sauce to come through.
Both the burgers were extremely filling and came with fries and salad. I was relieved at the portion size of the fries because a lot of burger places go overboard with it. The fries were thick and crispy – very tasty. I also like not having to choose between fries and salad but I guess that is one of the amenities of paying $13 for a burger plate.
Overall, we enjoyed our burgers and they lived up to the $13 price tag. There are some burgers on the menu that flirt with the $20 range so whether those ones are worth it we can’t say just yet. If you do end up going let us know in the comments!
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Established in 1919 by Russian immigrant Isadore Shlafman – Fairmount Bagel is Montreal’s oldest bagel bakery and I believe its best. I stopped by recently to get a half dozen sesame bagels. I was greeted by a giant wall of bagels which must have been on its way out to cafes and restaurants around the city. After carefully sliding through the towering stacks of bagels I got a deep whiff of delicious freshly cooked bagels being handled by handsome team of bagel professionals. It was all there, the huge mound of uncooked bagel dough the size of a fatboy, the giant wood fire oven and the piles of classic sesame bagels.
There is no eatery in Montreal as sacred and untouchable as Schwartz’s Deli. While some claim smoked meat allegiances to The Main or Smoked Meat Pete – none can deny the history enshrined within Schwartz’s walls since 1928. Fans of the Deli will tell you that over the last 80 years, little has changed – and they may be right. Despite numerous rumored offers to create Schwartz’s franchise restaurants across North America, the owners have refused all and have remained in their iconic location on St Laurent Blvd. In the fall 2008 they expanded and opened an additional take out location next door.
An Arepa is a traditional Venezuelan corn bread. Arepera du Plateau bakes these delicious breads and fills them with fresh ingredients ranging from boar chorizo, onions and peppers to minced stewed shark in tomato sauce. The restaurant is located on a very central spot at the corner of Du bullion and Duluth and has a decent amount of seating. The staff was extremely friendly, greeting diners with a joyous “Ola!” and singing along to Spanish songs as they worked. A veritable cornucopia of fresh fruit and produce are on display at the counter along with fresh juice for sale ranging from guava, tamarind, sugar cane and mango.
With 15 beers on tap and over 100 types in bottles, Bières et Compagnie had won me over before I even walked in. It was recommended to me by a friend who also praised their food, particularly their specialty – mussels. The menu has 30 different preparations of mussel dishes including many of which are prepared in… you got it, beer. We walked in on this night – the very first snow in Montreal – planning on a liquid diet of beer. After our first few pints of Krombacher (German Pilsner) and Sapporo (Japanese Draft), we were quickly enticed to order some food. We had the European hot dog, toulouse sausage with fries and house sauerkraut as well as the European Hamburger with Griffon Beer raclette cheese, house sauerkraut, house dijon mustard and spicy chili mayo.
As we headed along Prince Arthur towards Frite Alors! for an easy, quick and hearty meal, Cochoo caught our eye with their gorgeous terrace. The great big wooden benches and arm chairs loosely tucked under the thick gold-yellow wooden tables just looked perfect under the glow of the Korean flag themed lanterns – plus we could enjoy the night breeze a little closer to home. After preliminarily checking out the menu, we decided to give the place a shot. Talking with the chef who too was sitting outside with his friends, we found out that the place has only been open for two months! We love what they did with the place, that’s for sure. So we had the yukke bibimbap which was served in a hot stone bowl with raw egg and meat inside that would cook as you mixed the food around. So cool! This came with a miso soup which had a heavier taste than I am used to, but was good nonetheless. We had a bibimbap combo that included a pork stew as well as another hot stone dish with cabbage, fiddleheads and a whole array of different veggies on top of rice. All in all, the place was warm and welcoming and the food was pretty good. Prices are more than reasonable and while the menu selection may be a little more limited, the place is definitely worth checking out if you’re into Korean food and in the area.
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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.
At the corner of Mont Royal and Hotel de Ville, La Cantine bills itself as a Bistro Boutique. Word of mouth reached us of its weekend brunches so we decided to check it out for ourselves. The seating area is separated into two mid sized rooms, one feeling slightly more formal the other.