posts displayed by tag
Restaurant Maïs is finally here. You’ve been waiting for it. Even if you didn’t realize it, all this time… you were craving tacos. Montrealers like myself have long been jealous of the plethora of bone shakingly good tacos Toronto has long enjoyed. Anchored Grand Electric and La Carnita, I have trouble eating anything but tacos whenever I’m in town.
Mâche restaurant is a newly opened casual spot on St Denis – in the heart of the Latin Quarter. The menu includes comfort foods like Mac and Cheese, Pulled Pork sandwiches and Poutine. We decided to try out Mâche on a hungry night when we didn’t want to break the bank – nearly the entire menu is under 15$. We started with a pint of beer and a glass of Sangria and sat out on the terrasse.
Having heard great things about Antonio Park’s westmount restaurant Park – Our expectations were set high going into the the experience. The first surprising thing is that it’s in westmount at all – this is not fertile culinary ground – NDG yes, westmount No. Park is situated on Victoria street (close to sherbrooke) below Victoria Park Spa where the now defunct Vic Park Market once was.
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.
Ever since we first read about The Spotted Pig restaurant and chef April Bloomfield in The New Yorker nearly two years ago, we’ve wanted to go! We finally got our chance a few weeks ago when we were in town for a wedding.
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!
View Larger Map
Guu Sakabar is exactly what it should be. It’s loud, it’s busy, it’s crazy and it’s delicious. We showed up on a Saturday evening and waited about an hour and 15 mins for a table. This seems par for the course at any of the trendier restaurants in Toronto. The Sakabar is located on Bloor street close to Bathurst while the original Izakaya is located on Church street.
GT Fish and Oyster, named after chef Giuseppe Tentori, is a seafood specialty spot in the river north area of Chicago. The decor and design of the restaurant’s interior is both upscale and laid back at then same time. This is indicative of what I hear from Chicago based chefs and staff time and time again particularly when faced with the New York – Chicago question. They maintain (and I would tend to agree) that Chicago has all the culinary muscle of NYC with a generally more laid back attitude.
Club Chasse et Peche gives off an air of exclusivity in the discreet nature of the establishment: to the regular passerby it would be easy to miss the place and walk right by, blissfully unaware of the culinary delights that take place inside. The only indication that it even exists on the middle of St. Claude street is a large stylized logo that is at once easily recognizable while being somewhat indistinguishable at the same time – the icon resembles an eagle spreadings its wings, showcasing a torso made of a coat of arms. I think it’s open to interpretation. There is a little bit of snobbery that comes off as you experience the Club for an evening but it totally works in their favor. It helps that we were knowingly greeting with a warm “Welcome to the Club”.
After hearing so much hype and buzz around Les Enfants Terribles, we finally made it over last week. Excited and ready to be impressed by the culinary prowess we’d heard so much about, it was unfortunate that after so much build up and positive expectations, we were let down. To start off, we made reservations for 9:30 pm only to be seated forty-five minutes later. That in itself is unacceptable. I understand that the restaurant is busy and it is a Friday night, but so are most other restaurants in the city and from my experience, this has only ever happened one other time. Don’t restaurants have a system through which they organize the amount of seating they have available, the timing of those coming and going so that there aren’t these kinds of frustrating waits? Right off the bat, it was just a bad start to the evening. Most people I’ve spoken to about their tolerance for wait time averages around 20-30 minutes, and 30 minutes is reserved for restaurants that they really, really want to go to. This made the rest of the evening difficult to enjoy despite pleasant company of my dining counterpart. Note that I’ve tried my best to judge the food impartially.
The exterior of La Cucina caught my eye several times on trips up St Laurent to visit other mile end / outremont eateries. The full panes of glass and the fact that there was no information about the restaurant online (or even a website) intrigued me.
The Publican is the newest restaurant from repeat James Beard Award winning chef Paul Kahan. Kahan made his mark on the Midwest culinary scene with his signature restaurants Avec and Blackbird. The ethos of The Publican is best described on the Chicago episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations in which Bourdain is invited to a family meal with Kahan and the restaurants staff.
Just as we walked into Imadake, a large group was leaving. Sent off with surprisingly loud yells of “arigotou gozaimashita” – thank you in Japanese – we were immediately made aware that this was a real, as authentic as it gets kind of Japanese pub. All around us, groups of laughing, tipsy diners were egged on to do shots and chug their drinks by waitresses dressed in school-girl type kilts and thigh highs. The atmosphere is loud and convivial, definitely a good spot to check out if you’re in the mood to be around a lot of people, drink some good Japanese beer and eat tapas style typical to the izakaya way.
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.
XOCO is run by Rick Bayless – you may have heard of him before. Guest judge of Top Chef on Season Four, winner of Top Chef Masters, James Beard Award winner for best American chef in 1991, national chef of year in 1995, humanitarian of the year in 1998, cookbook of the year in 2001, best chef in the midwest in 2002… The list goes on. In Chicago for the weekend, we eagerly made this our first lunch destination. Not too far from the downtown core, the place is on North Clark street, next to the Frontera Grill and Topolobampo.
Armenian cuisine is hard to come by in the city. Going into Laval, the dearth seems to suddenly disappear, replaced by a wealth of Armenian bakeries, schools, restaurants and grocery stores. We headed to Karoun, a restaurant that is relatively easy to access from the highway. While it is true that Laval is out of the way for most people living in the city, rest assured this restaurant is well worth making the trip out for. It had been years since I last visited the place but I remembered very clearly the raw meat dish, the kebbe naye that had been one of my favorites back in the day. That was first on my list to order.
Leméac is similar to the Montreal classic L’Expresse in that they are both French bistro type restaurants serving excellent fare for reasonable prices. Leméac is a little less stuffy in terms of atmosphere and just as classy. It also has a great terrasse that is open air in the summertime and equipped with heated lamps for the colder days of winter. We went for the after ten menu where you get an entrée and a main for $25 (such an amazing steal) and you would be surprised at how generous the offerings are and how much variety there is to choose from!
Every time I stop by Le St. Bock, I’m surprised at how extensive their menu is. And almost everything on it has beer in it. It’s insane how beery things get. They even manage to put it in brownies… Definitely on my to-try list. The St. Bock is a good spot for an afternoon meal, a dinner on the terrasse as well as a drink with a couple of friends late at night. The virtue of the place is that it is perfect for almost any (casual) get together location-wise, atmosphere-wise and food-wise. For avid beer drinkers, the St. Bock offers a number of house brews that are listed here – the listings apparently change every week depending on what’s on tap and what’s new in house. From what I understand, they are quite good!