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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!
It’s crazy how there are so many great restaurants in Montreal, whether on the main, in the centre-ville or tucked away in the plateau somewhere. Just when you think you’ve exhausted the list, dozens more pop up out of nowhere, each one as tantalizing and unique as the next. That’s what I love about this city. The restaurant scene is constantly evolving and branching out, adding and adjusting, diversifying in both cuisine and location so that there’s a bit of everything everywhere. I first heard about the Syrian Kaza Maza through a friend who went, loved it and had leftovers because they ordered so much. I tried them and was struck by how delicious they were even after sitting in a box for a few hours and losing their initial heat. I had a chance to go last week and again a few days later, so this is an amalgamation of the two meals.