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Frequently referred to as “that other pho spot on Ossington” by Torontonians, Pho Tien Thanh holds its own in a city where pho shops are a hot commodity. As most pho places are wont to operate, the food arrives quickly and piping hot, all to the ambient background sounds of slurping and sipping with minimal chatter to be heard. As per norm, cash only.
After a semi-satisfying dinner on St. Denis (more on this in a following post) at Mache, we were hankering for something sweet. Obviously, right. A quick search on Google showed me the closest ice cream shops and just steps away was the one and only Dr. Frost. I had passed by multiple times but never had the chance to visit. The bright pink sign had stuck in my mind, but for some reason I had recalled it as Pinkberry… We don’t have those here yet, unfortunately. Scanning over reviews and commentary from various users online, I learned that the “macarons givrés” were something they were known for, and that it was a must have.
Make your way through the hustle and bustle of the Jean Talon market, past the Boitre aux Huitres, the colourful flower stalls and the smell of a freshly baked bread, fragrant cheeses, and the spice shop boasting mixtures from around the world. Browse the boutique specialty food shops and stop by the fruit stands to sample the carefully farmed fruits and vegetables and you won’t be disappointed.
According to the endearing blog-style website Kem CoBa has up online, the name of the restaurant means “third auntie’s ice cream” in Vietnamese. That right off the bat tells you that it’s an operation that takes family into consideration. And it shows. The cheery little shop is run by the co-owners and husband and wife duo Ngoc and Vincent who have managed to create high quality, interesting products that just keep you coming back for more
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.
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.
The Wok Cafe goes for a more understated name that doesn’t rely on a play on words that incites a smirk or an outright laugh. Take Wok and Roll or Wok and Run, where the puns are taken to another level. Don’t get me wrong, they’re hilarious – I chuckle every time. We’ve caught fleeting glimpses of the Wok Cafe on our way to the fish market but never looked at it long enough to realize that it is much more than just a cafe. Actually, it’s not really even a cafe at all. It’s a Chinese restaurant that serves some pretty great dishes that include your typical crowd pleasers like General Tao chicken, sweet n’ sour pork and crispy noodles but more importantly, some authentic ones – look out for the menu written in Chinese only at the last page. If you don’t know how to read the characters, just ask. I’m sure the servers would be more than willing to explain. One of these items is the fish belly, crab and squid soup we ordered to start. The texture is admittedly unique, with the fish belly and squid tasting a little more jelly-ish and rubbery that you would expect (this is good) and the soup just between thick and thin in consistency. With a spoonful of black vinegar mixed in, this soup is not quite like any other. I love this soup – it’s an old favorite that’s served at almost any Chinese restaurant and if you haven’t tried it before, I say go for it.
We had a red curry and coconut beef dish that was served along with some red and green peppers. They amount of peppers was overkill and for some reason the red ones tasted much fresher and crunchier than the green ones… There were easily at least ten slices of green peppers left on the plate when we left. Luckily, that didn’t take away from the tastiness of the protein. The eggplants were served hot sufficiently mushy – these have a strong taste and are harder to eat alone but on top of rice, they’re just right. Lastly, we had an order of Thai seafood which came with crab meat, shrimps, peppers, onions and a variety of other veggies. I noticed that all the crab meat served was artificial which I wasn’t a big fan of. Either deal with that or order dishes that don’t include the crab. All in all – definitely check this place out if you’re in the West and are at a loss of where to go out for a quick and easy dinner.
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Terrase Nelligan is a restaurant and bar sitting atop the Nelligan hotel. The space and ambiance has a very 5 – 7 feel to it attracting mostly a late 20s to 30s affluent crowd. It is Old Montreal after all. Terrasse Nelligan is one of three restaurants in Hotel Nelligan, along with Mechant Boeuf and Verses. The menu is pretty basic and is comprised of mostly finger foods with some mains as well.
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.
Clearly influenced by their former British colonizers, TWG Tea, otherwise known as The Wellness Group is a Singaporean tea house primarily known for its impressive selection of teas (well over 100!) and delicious desserts. The loose leaves of the different blends are held in pots that are clearly identified by number and name and are placed on shelves that slide back to reveal more tea several rows deep.
Chu Chai is one of the few Asian vegetarian restaurants in Montreal, and a good one at that. Serving a fusion of Thai and Chinese influenced food, Chu Chai has the fine dining area of the restaurant along with the terrasse sectioned off from the Chuch bistro (variation of Chu Chai) next door, which offers more of a take out sort of deal. The latter also features a bring your own wine policy.