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Garage Beirut is a small Lebanese eatery in the heart of downtown Montreal. Offering a cozy set up, the place is decorated with framed photographs of Beirut, personal mementos and picturesque scenic views. We sat down in the half-full restaurant, happy to trade the cold outside for a hot meal. The friend with whom I went with is Lebanese herself so coming here put us squarely in her territory. I was happy to let her do the majority of the decision making and I wasn’t disappointed.
Damas is the other major contender for the top spot in Syrian cuisine in Montreal’s Mile End. Going quite literally head to head with Kaza Maza (the two restaurants are within a couple blocks of each other), I have to say both places are very good – but there are slight differences that may sway one diner towards one or the other. For example, Kaza Maza has more of a casual dining atmosphere and prices to match. It is smaller and has a more homey feel with a little couch in the front, some throw pillows and a beautiful Syrian printed cover to match as well as a house-like interior with alcoves and a variety of different rooms partitioned by stucco-like walls. Damas has more of a fancy “night out” feel as the place is more ornately decorated, has dimmer lighting and a more open space concept. Prices here are significantly higher but the size of the main meals are more than enough to fill one hungry person whereas at Kaza, you might order a few mains to share to get full. Both places though, as mentioned before, are phenomenal. You’d be in good hands no matter which of the two you choose!