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Before we even sat down, I had my doubts. The restaurants was hot and didn’t seem particularly clean. The food sitting behind the counter didn’t look freshly cooked, nor did it look hot. The server at the front had trouble explaining the dishes to me when asked – never a good sign.
Okay, granted PaPa Jackie‘s is far. It’s the South Shore – but it’s not even at the tip. It’s deep in there, I’m talking neck deep. You probably won’t be casually stopping by because you’re in the area. You’re going to go because you’ve planned to – if excellent, affordable Chinese food is what you’re looking for then PaPa Jackie’s is where you need to go. Saturday night was particularly busy – every table was filled. Make sure to make a reservation before you go if you’re making the trip.
Tsukiji Fish Market is the central hub for the buying and selling of fish and seafood in Tokyo. Anything that lives in the sea can be found here – from above average quality to the most premium sashimi grade kind of stuff that is not only hard to find but costs an arm and a leg too. There are also fish auctions that are held here. If you’ve seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the scene where Jiro’s son attends the tuna auction at the market is pretty spot on.
Situated in what one could call the Little India of Montreal, Bombay Mahal is at the centre of all the commotion. Competition is fierce for customers craving Indian food in the area, with the likes of Curry House right across the street and places like the Chand Palace, Punjab Palace, Moti Mehal and India’s Oven (the list goes on) beckoning on every street corner and nook and cranny of Parc Extension.
Divided between the Shahi Palace and Tandoor & Grille, we opted for the former as it seemed advocates for it were stronger than for the latter. I personally had never been so I was totally game. Ya’ll know how much I love trying new restaurants…
Montreal’s beloved taco truck Grumman ’78 is all grown up with a stationary location to call it’s own. After years of leading a nomadic life, some weekends parking at Nouveau Palais, sometimes at 630 de Courcelle, Grumman ’78 has opened a shop without wheels in the faubourg.
Once we saw Sarah Musgrave’s review in the Gazette about Honi Rose, we decided to give it a shot. It was a weekend afternoon and we didn’t have much to do. Obviously my reflex to counter boredom is to ask myself: “what can I eat today?”. Opting to try out something new, this restaurant seemed like it would be an interesting pick for the downtown area.
Revamping the space of a former sushi restaurant on Des Sources, Carribean Tasty Treats (spelt like so on purpose) has a mission to bring the West Island a taste of of the tropical islands. With a huge poster of Bob Marley on the wall and a calming beach landscape adjacent to it, the place attempts to bring diners to a warmer climate despite the erratic precipitation falling just outside the door. There is nothing quite like spicy jerk chicken and a glass of cold Red Stripe to take you there, amiright?
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?
With several locations across the city, Le Commensal offers a veritable buffet of vegan and vegetarian foods both hot and cold. This was not my first time visiting the restaurant, but it has been years since I last patronized the place. My memories from my previous experiences were not rosy and sadly, my return only reconfirmed the sentiment. Hot dishes are served lukewarm as they sit in buffet style trays for an indeterminable amount of time, placed on an island in the middle of the self-serve area. There are a good variety of dishes to choose from and I appreciate the fact that there aren’t too many vegan restaurants around but unfortunately for me, this place doesn’t cut it. Taste-wise the plates I sampled were okay, verging on flavorless and unappetizing. Here, you pay for what you choose by weight. I got about three bites of the five different items I chose and it cost just over $9. I got a serving of pesto penne which was dry, tasteless and room temperature, half a black bean quesadilla and a scoop of chili on white rice which were actually pretty good and some tabouleh and chickpea salad which were both tolerable. To me, it isn’t worth the money. At most other places, vegan or not, paying the same amount or less sates the hunger in your stomach and doesn’t leave you craving for food an hour later. Places like Le Panthere Verte, Crudessence or Lola Rosa are in the surrounding area and offer much more for the same price – my suggestion is to go to one of those restaurants first.
On the upside, Le Commensal on McGill College has a beautiful view of the downtown core. When we went, the sun was shining and it was a lovely spot to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages.
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Lola Rosa is located in the heart of the McGill ghetto, making it a convenient and relatively affordable eatery for the multitude of students who live around and frequent the university campus. The restaurant is a small, vegetarian, indie-vibing kind of joint with some of the most friendly staff I’ve been in contact with in the city as of late. Here’s a unique feature of the restaurant you won’t likely find anywhere else: most of the vintage style tables in the place have little drawers filled with pieces of scrap paper with wishes, words of encouragements, notes and general comments scrawled on by previous diners. All are welcome to add their own personal messages and rummage through the ones already inside for inspiration or just for fun!
Kam Fung offers the most authentic and traditionally found dim sum dishes in the entire city. Legendary by name, it is easy to see how popular they are by the hordes of people lining the restaurant entrance come noon. The best time to come in order to avoid the wait time is just before the rush, at 11:30. There is a tradeoff though – while service is quick (it always is), the food is hot and there is less clamor around while eating, there is greater variety in the dishes served during rush hour. By no means am I saying that the dishes served before aren’t good – on the contrary! There is just more choice later on. You’ve been told. For those who have never been, it is perhaps a good idea to go along with someone who has some experience in ordering dishes as it may seem overwhelming at first – people are constantly shouting, and it’s not in English. There is a regular flow of traffic in the restaurant, enabled by diners leaving after their meals or just settling in as well as the always moving body of cart ladies hawking their foods.
Steps away from the financial district, Hakata Ramen has become a somewhat popular lunchtime spot for shoppers, passerbys and especially office workers of the Golden Square Mile. I know I saw more than a few suits coming in and out! The menu is surprisingly quite varied – the section of ramen was smaller than I had anticipated as the place is named after the noodles. No matter. We had three orders of the seafood ramen (lunchtime special!), a tenderous ribs ramen and one eel on hot stone. The seafood soup was apparently average – not bad, but not very good either. I had the rib ramen which I thought was quite nice as what they served really delivered on the ‘tenderous’ aspect. I got a lot of tendon in my bowl – which I love – that was soft and not chewy at all. Service was relatively fast and courteous and the place hardly makes a dent in your wallet. Not a bad place to consider going for a sit down lunch to catch up with a friend!
Don’t be put off by the shoddy exterior – Keung Kee is one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city. While it is true that the place could be cleaner and more well kept, it is impossible to argue against the fact that the food they serve is seemingly straight out of a kitchen in China. Having been clients of this restaurant for years now, this time we decided to change up our usual routine and try some new dishes.
Looking down the comment/review list on Burgundy Lion‘s Urbanspoon page, sentiments are mixed. While the crowd is doubtlessly cool, the atmosphere is chic and the decor is interestingly laid out, the service is sporadic, the menu is forgettable and the food is at its best mediocre. I really wanted to like this place after hearing so much about the legendary trivia night, the great drinks and the people – but unfortunately the food did not measure up.
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!
One of my favorite spots to go to for a quick and easy lunch is the Vietnamese Hoai Huong, located a block away from the Cote-St-Catherine metro station. We sat on the terrace out front which was quite roomy and equipped with sun umbrellas so those who don’t like to endure the heat can eat in comfort. I had the “pink Vietnamese drink with coconut milk” which was exactly that- the pink color comes from the red jelly at the bottom which was chewy and a little sweet. Great chiller for summer weather.
About an hour away from Taipei, the Sunrise Villa is tucked away off a back country road – to a foreigner (yeah, me), maybe a little difficult to find. Popular in its own right, people travel from all around the country to taste their authentic Hakka style food. With an enviable feng shui arrangement, the natural space around the buildings are in perfect harmony – the mountains behind the restaurant serves as a strong support, the body of water in the front promotes fluidity and the green space in the middle of the lot for new life.
Conveniently located in the Shida night market, this eatery is famous for its sliced noodles. Thick and chewy, these noodles are individually cut from a large piece of dough the chef holds over a wok filled with water – check out the pictures below for a good visual. Freshly made, these noodles are traditionally put in soup or fried. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area and don’t want street food – the prices are almost just as cheap and you get to enjoy the comfort of nice, cool air conditioning (I keep bringing this point up as a big plus because the weather in Taiwan in the summertime is extremely high both in temperature and humidity).