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Cafe Parvis is the newest addition to the Furco – Buvette Chez Simone family. In the same way its’ siblings have brought a nonchalant cool and trended towards a casually fashionable following, Parvis exudes the same vibe, promising equal parts good food and good company.
To be honest, we stumbled upon Café des 2 Moulins. As a big Amèlie Poulain fan, should I be embarrassed? Walking around the beautiful Montmartre area after seeing the basilique Sacré Coeur, we strolled around the area and found the cafe organically. After Amèlie came out in 2001, the café has become a huge tourist destination, somewhat of a homage spot to the film and the story itself. The café has a typically Parisian feel – as soon as you walk in, you notice there’s something special about the place, from the bar to the light fixtures themselves.
Just around the corner from where I was staying in Toronto over my visiting weekend, L’Ouvrier seemed like a good bet for brunch time food. A friend had been for a party after a TIFF event and had great things to say about the space and the aesthetic of the place. Open to whatever, I was down to check it out – we ended up going for a nice brunch with a couple people.
Whilst scouring the Old Port for lunch places to eat at during work breaks, I came across Safran et Cannelle. Peering in from the outside, it looked more like a sit down place, so I’d been hesitant to try it for fear of not being able to make it back to work on time. One day though, the tagines sitting on the table outside just seemed too alluring so we decided to check it out. And you know what? Food service made it just so I had a couple minutes to power walk back and make it in time.
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.
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.
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?
Located immediately next to Le Panthere Verte, Crudessence is in tied in tough competition with its neighbor, pulling vegans and vegetarians and those who have a craving for something a little healthier for lunch this way and that. Just by rough comparison, Crudessence seems to be a bit more trendy in style – walking in you’ve got a long row of wooden banquettes and stained glass windows in the back bouncing beautiful rays of color all over the wooden floors, giving the whole place an organic feel. Flipping through the menu, I was surprised and delighted to find so many interesting sandwiches, salads and cakes that used unconventional ingredients to spice up standard dishes. Places like these are bound to arouse curiosity and shock – how can something so healthy taste so good? It’s almost an oxymoron.
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.
Best. Chicken. Ever. Get ready to go wild for this one. Crispy on the outside, firm but tender on the inside, the chicken at Romados lives up to all that street talk. Yep, it is arguably serving the best chicken in the city. None of that dry, bland tasting meat that you choke down with big gulps of water. Nope, not here. With some seasoning, a bit of spice brushed onto the meat and a little extra gravy for the fries, the taste is incomparable to anything else. Mmm, mmm, mmm. We got a half chicken and two thighs to go. Smothered with fries and coming with a bite of salad, the three of us wolfed down our meals like there was no tomorrow. Yes, we were hungry. But the main accelerator for the speed at which we ate was the tastiness of the food itself.
Les Filles Du Roy is the restaurant of the Pierre du Calvet hotel. Located just steps away from Le Bremner and a few steps more from the Old Port beach (under construction in anticipation for next summer), the place can be easily missed. The novelty of the experience is probably one of the best parts of eating here – the building itself has been standing since 1725, so right off the bat you know that the architecture and the aesthetic of the place is going to be older, or shall we say vintage. Scattered throughout are remnants of life in the 18th and 19th centuries, from Victorian style paintings to mounted game to antique furniture, rugs and draperies. Towards the end of the reception area are several talking birds – if you’re lucky, you might be greeted with a squawk of a hello as you pass by the washrooms.
Laurier BBQ has been a historic restaurant site for as long as anyone can remember. With the changing of hands, Gordan Ramsay has brought the place to a whole new level of fame and further reputability, changing up the decor and the menu just little enough to placate the hardcore locals, remaining true to its roots of perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken while bringing some new dishes into the mix.
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.
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!
One of the snazzier restaurants the West Island has to offer, Enoteca Mozza has a full bar as well as a separate dining area, both of which were incidentally humming as we stopped by for Friday night dinner. Boasting wood-fire ovens, an authentic selection of Italian eats and a penchant for simple, fresh cooking, Enoteca seems to be doing things right. Tailored to the suburban clientele, the place is accommodating to families (almost every dish on the menu is offered in ‘family size’, reinforcing this idea), larger groups and sports fans (large TVs broadcasting sporting events are strategically placed by the bar and in key spots in the dining room). In the course of ten minutes, we heard three “Happy Birthdays” sung around us.
Le Bremner is one of Montreal’s newest and most popular restaurants – not only has it been all over the Urbanspoon talk of the town, but it has been quite successful in getting a fair amount of attention just through word of mouth. This buzz may mostly be because of its celebrity chef owner, Chuck Hughes. With a sweet spot on St. Paul street in the Old Port and one of the most beautiful terraces I’ve seen in a while, the back part of the restaurant is an absolute gem. Weather permitting (fall and colder weather fast approaching), make sure to request for a spot out there. Surrounded by rustic chic decor and leafy greens, paneled/embossed ceilings and great big wooden tables, Le Bremner has its look nailed. The lack of signage makes it very possible for people to miss Le Bremner – the word “Restaurant” is written in simple red lettering above steps leading to a basement level giving it a more underground, exclusive feel.
Let me start off by saying La Fabrique is amazing. Everything about the place is perfect. The design, both interior and exterior is impeccable, the service was well-timed and the view from the terrasse at the Annexe was beautiful. Boasting minimalistic wooden chairs with ultra low backs, vintage/rustic decor (typewriter, spigot type faucets, warm wooden paneling) and a friendly and inviting vibe, the restaurant finds an optimal stylistic balance somewhere between antique and modern. On top of all of this, the food is great.
Located directly across from Lasalle College, Avesta may be easy to miss amongst many ethnic eateries on St Catherine West. Once we saw the lady in the front window happily stretching fresh dough to make delicious flat bread, we committed to giving it a try. The service was somewhat slow during the lunch hour as we picked up sandwiches (that were really wraps) to go. Word on the street is that Avesta’s specialty is Manti which is fresh dough with spiced beef covered in yogurt, butter and spices.
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.
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.