Restaurant

Restaurants & Food Markets - Montréal

List of all my favorite restaurants and food markets in Montreal. Some of these are described in more detail in the links. Photos are available in the Montreal Photo Gallery.

A map showing locations of all these restaurants is in the Montreal Restaurants Map posting.

Schwartz's Jewish Deli
Street View Schwartz's Deli 3895 St-Laurent Blvd, 514-842-4813.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
Excellent smoked meat sandwiches -- spicy, tender, succulent meat that falls apart easily with the touch of a fork... accompanied with a black cherry soda or hot tea, it is truly an unique experience. Take a seat at the bar-stool at the deli counter, and enjoy the food amidst the hustle and bustle. More on Schwartz's
Le Petit Alep
Street View 191 Jean-Talon East, 514-270-9361.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 3 stars/4
Syrian/Armenian food. Great food and excellent ambiance - the best dish is Ciche Kebab Terbialy which is filet-mignon with a special spicy sauce. Open Tuesday through Saturday. Can get crowded during lunch. Their weekday lunch specials are also excellent. Wine and Coffee available. More on Le Petit Alep
Marché Jean-Talon
7070 Henri-Julien St., south of Jean-Talon St., near the metro stop for Jean-Talon.
Food: 4 stars/4 Value: 4 stars/4
Marché Jean-Talon - Inside Jean-Talon Market bustles with activity in summer certainly and winter too. It is truly a fantastic market - all fresh vegetables, fruits you need, as well as bakeries, food stalls (bison sausage anyone), maybe the best calamari you can have (at Aqua Mare). And cheese too - inside the market, as well as at La Fromagerie Hamel close by at 202 Jean-Talon St. East. On your first day at Montreal, get down here, get yourself a supply of fruits, continue to replenish every few days. And then to eat you have crepes, fish, pastries, cheeses, and so on. Just outside the market is Marché des saveurs du Québec selling local products, at 280 Place du marché du nord, on a side street.

Avesta

Food Rating: 4 stars/4 Value Rating: 3 stars/4

2077 Ste-Catherine W, 514-937-0156. On Ste-Catherine, just west of Rue du Fort.

This Turkish restaurant has a unique window display of the cooks making lavash - basically huge chappatis/tortillas.

The appetizers - Mezze platters - are good enough for a meal, many choices to pick from, and come with a freshly made lavash bread. The appetizers include Baba Ghannouj - charbroiled eggplant puree with pomegranate paste and roasted vegetables, Hummus - chickpeas puree with tahini, lemon, garlic, olive oil, Muhammara d'Alep - pomegranate paste with mixture of walnuts, pine nuts, pepper.

The borek - Turkish feuillette - is excellent. These are flaky phyllo dough pastries filled with feta and spinach or beef and potatoes along with a splash of hot spice - really good. The spinach and feta borek is a great accompaniment to main dishes like Manti, or to a sampling of the mezzes. With a main dish, you can request an half-order of borek so you have chance of finishing it all.

Avesta - Manti Manti is listed in the specials section - small meat filled dumplings in a thin yogurt sauce with mint, and melted pepper butter paste on the top. Looks nice, and tastes great. It does take 20-30 minutes to prepare this but the wait is all worth it.

Gozleme - two lavash breads with feta and spinach sounded good - but this was a bit too dry and lean - not enough feta or spinach in it. This would work well when taken along with the appetizers. The borek is much better in that it is more balanced in having sufficient quantity of fillings and is not dry like the gozleme.

Le Petit Alep

Food Rating: 4 stars/4 Value Rating: 3 stars/4

Street View 191 Jean-Talon Street East in Montreal - walk West towards St-Laurent from the Jean-Talon metro station. Phone: +1-514-270-9361.
Open Tue-Sat for lunch and dinner.

2013: Le Petit Alep Official Website is now online with details and the whole menu.

Great food and excellent ambiance in the converted garage that houses this cafe.

Syrian/Armenian food.
Filet-mignon with a special spicy sauce - Chiche Kebab Terbialy. Absolutely the best, this is always a safe choice.
Pureed eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon - Métabal.
Chicken in tahini - Poulet Trator.
Grilled Pita sandwich - Pitas grillés poulet. Chicken, mayo, garlic, with a nice kick - hint of spicy red-pepper?

For pictures, including a picture of the menu, visit the travel gallery Le Petit Alep in the Montreal album section.

The terbialy sauce is a nice, medium-to-hot spicy sauce,
and it makes the difference, best on the beef kababs (medium-rare), but also available with shrimp.

And then there are the weekday daily lunch specials with great soups -- just remember to get there during lunch Tuesday through Friday.
Kebbe Labanie (Kibbe Lebanese) - large meatballs in yogurt, garlic, mint sauce.
As they describe it: "boulettes de bœuf, blé concassé, noix, souce yogourt, ail, menthe".
Filet de sole Amandine
Soupe Harira - tomatoes, beef, fennel, cardamom - nice spicy soup.

Montreal Restaurants Map


The Restaurants & Food Markets - Montréal posting describes all these restaurants.

Google Earth users may be interested in the KML File for these locations.
Microsoft Live Search Maps is also a good way to view the KML file data.
If the map does not display below, this link may work: Google Maps - My Maps - Montreal Restaurants

Café Tortoni

Café Tortoni - Inside Café Tortoni at Av. de Mayo 825 is well written about on the web, they have absolutely amazing chocolate. They serve churros too, but frankly, the churros are not as good as they are in México and are cold and more salty than sweet. On the back of the menu they claim churro is a national pastry - but this was the only place in Buenos Aires that I found serving it.

The chocolate drink is very delicious, thick, feels like it is just melted chocolate with some magical transformation so that there is no watery taste, but is still flowing liquid. This comes with a small pot of hot milk, and of course, three packets of sugar - everywhere in Buenos Aires, sugar is always available. In this case, skip the sugar, the chocolate is great just as is, and if needed, dilute it with the hot milk. This is definitely something not to be missed if visiting Buenos Aires. And then alternate between dunking the churro in the chocolate, and drinking the chocolate. This is good living!

While the cholocate is excellent, this place also has a lot of history, it has been open since 1858, visit the Café Tortoni web site for more info. The downside is that it is now on every tourists itinerary so there is a line to get in in the evening but it was never full in mid- to late-afternoon.

Eating - Buenos Aires

The Buenos Aires Photo Album pages include some restaurant and food photos.

Buenos Aires has its unique food style - anything you want as long as it is some cut of beef, and grilled. Cut of beef may be a restrictive definition, you can get any body part of cow grilled! The range and taste is not as good as one might find in New York, Montreal, or Chicago, so prepare accordingly. There was a period between 2002 and 2007 when prices in US$ were quite good, but inflation is very high in Argentina and by 2008, the mid-range restaurants would range around US$15 to US$20 (not including wine) for lunch and higher for dinner. This type of food would be a minimum for good eating as far as tourists may be concerned. And just like Europe, no restaurant serves plain water for free so have to order water for around US$2-3 per bottle.

These external links are great guides to refer to:
Guía de Restaurantes de Buenos Aires which seems to be a popular local site, with many customer comments. Even if you don't understand Spanish, they have great summaries that rate the food, the service, and provide an indication of the cost of one meal (without drinks).
Asado Argentina » Beef has pictures, explanations of different cuts of meat. Given the amount of beef you might eat in Buenos Aires, this is a good site to read about what you may be eating!

Food: Yes, grilled food is only thing they eat here in Buenos Aires! Seriously, the beef at any parrilla is excellent, Bife de lomo or bife de chorizo were good at all price points - even at under US$15. They do have better beef down in Argenttina, grass-fed cattle make better beef than US grain-fed cattle! French Fries are common side dish, but if you need ketchup, must ask for it, it is not normally served here.

Rice to Riches

Food Rating: 4 stars/4 Value Rating: 4 stars/4

37 Spring St, between Mott and Mulberry St, New York City.
Across from Lombardi Pizza.

Heavenly Rice Pudding, in a Funky, High-Tech, Modern Decor.

Not only is the pudding great, with many cool flavors, the packaging is also unique - deep saucer like containers add to the out-of-this-world look of this place.

Choose from a varied list of flavors, around 15 each day.

The servings are Solo, Sumo, and Moby. Even the Solo ($5) is big enough to substitute as lunch for one - it is more than just dessert. Add toppings like mischief- buttery graham cracker crumble - and this will leave you full.

See photos of this place in the New York City section of the travel gallery

Churros

Fried dough by any other name, but churros are at the top of the heap.

A fresh, warm (not hot) churro is a great for breakfast, great for dessert.
Nice crispy exterior, crunches when you eat it, and then nice chewy interior.

Churreria "El Moro", right across the San Juan de Letran metro station. It is a bit grungy, and the street it is on, Lazaro Cardenas 42, can be quite a shock to the uninitiated tourist - totally crammed sidewalks, three rows of vendors, you can walk one file only.

Food Rating: 4 stars/4 Value Rating: 4 stars/4

Churreria El Moro can also get very crowded in the evening, but it is open 24 hours.

Most people order the churros with chocolate - Mexican, French, Spanish, or Special, but you can also get it with milk or coffee and whipped cream.
Take out is also available, at N$2.50 per churro, this is an incredible deal.

Of course, I ate churros every day, usually on the way back to my hotel, I would be on the lookout for a street vendor selling churros, amazingly, these are not that easy to find, I was hoping churros would be as widely available as tacos, but that was not to be.

Another great variation is the Churro Relleno - churros stuffed with chocolate, or cajeta (milk-caramel), or leche (condensed milk).
This was N$6, and I found only one vendor in all of the Zocalo.

2007: Another page on churros at this site: Café Tortoni in Buenos Aires.

Taquerias

On the lookout for a good taqueria, I ate a lot of food that I would not have ordered had I known what the spanish word really meant :-)

My simple criteria for a good taqueria is that it should look clean and no open racks of unappetizing raw meats, and it should have a good selection of stuff on the side - fresh salsa, guacamole, red or green sauces, and more is always better. Surprisingly, not all places had these - for example, El Charco de las Ranas, a nice looking place, mid-range costs, did not have salsa or guacamole - I got just a tortilla with chorizo and lime - so that counts as a mediocre taqueria.

Stumbled across a fantastic place - Taqueria Los Parados, at a street corner, Baja California 110, a ten minute walk from Centro Médico metro, opens late, probably 11AM or noon. Definitely off the tourist track! This place has been running since 1965.

Taqueria Los Parados Taqueria Los Parados: Food Rating: 4 stars/4 Value Rating: 4 stars/4
It is standing-room only dining, there is a cook over a large grill, and another one next to the al pastor column of meat.

The alambre is a good choice - grilled meat, onions, pepper, and optionally a thin layer of cheese on top. They heat the cheese in small earthern pots on the grill!

This place was amazingly crowded - not sure where all the people came from in this locality! People also ordered straight to the cook, walking from one end to another, and then when full, went to cashier to pay - how can anyone keep track of what they ate???! This is normal in Mexico - some people will say you should keep track of the paper the taco is served in to add it all up at the end! No one I saw did that. So I guess it is all on the honor system here, you go around order what you need, and then tell the cashier what you ate.

Hot Dogs in New York City

In my opinion, the best hot dogs have a snap to them, are grilled, and are not skinless.

Nathan's Nathan's in Coney Island claims to be very good, and it is.
Take the subway to Stillwell Ave/Coney Island, and it is across the street.

But I would not recommend it - everyone seems to want to eat here, and even with multiple lines, and only ten people per line, it takes over 30 minutes to get to the front and get a hot dog.
Not worth it - especially since most of the hot-dogs sold by all vendors are actually made in one or two places only - Sabrett is the main one in New York.

Gregory and Paul's Gregory and Paul's, also at Coney Island, is a better choice - great taste, and no waiting. There are two of them - one on the boardwalk, and the other one across from the Cyclone roller-coaster ride.

French Fries are a different matter - it is important to eat fries that are no more than a minute or two off the fryers. So, look for a place that is crowded - that way you know the fries will not be stale - even five minutes is no good for fries. So, Nathan's always has the best fries, at the other places, it depends.

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