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Having gone to school in NDG for over 13 years, I visited Vendome metro regularly. Whenever I was in the area, I made sure to have my wits about me – bordering NDG and lower Westmount, the area is arguably a little “sketchy”. I mostly came in and out of the metro and didn’t dally around too long – I didn’t have much business with the surrounding shops. This time though, a friend and I made a specific trip to this very area! He wanted to show me one of his favourite Middle-Eastern eateries in Montreal, and it happened to be located adjacent to the station. Always game to try new foods and restaurants, I accepted. Typical, right?
A friend of mine recently came back into town suggested we go to Atomic for some real Greek food. It’s been a while for me – the last time was at Jardin de Panos a couple of years ago. I get a little Kojax here and there but to compare it with these restaurants would be unfair on both ends. Of course, I accepted. Who doesn’t like trying new restaurants and new foods?
We’ve all had those nights. You know, the ones where you crave greasy fast food (cue the thought bubbles filled with cheesy, gravy-soaked poutine, thick burgers and steamy hot dogs) so bad that almost nothing can come between you eating it (think Harold & Kumar and their epic search for that perfect White Castle burger). This hunger is often magnified after having a few drinks at a place like the Distillerie, one of the city’s most popular bars. Guess where La Paryse is located? Right next door – which couldn’t be more perfect. At the ready to feed the inebriated masses coming in from nearby St. Denis or just next door, La Paryse is as busy at 5 pm as it is at 11 pm.
Beauty’s is a historical and iconic symbol of Montreal. One of the first places in the city to serve breakfast (according to the owner, Hymie Sckolnick in Anthony Bourdain’s Montreal episode of the Layover), the luncheonette is clearly imbued with history. Just take a look around the place – old-school diner style banquettes hearkening back to the 40s, the classic and timeless items offered (bagel lox, the best milkshakes ever etc.) and the multitude of signed posters of celebrities that have visited the restaurant are proudly mounted on the walls further affirming Beauty’s as an old favorite.
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.
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!
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!
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.