02 Oct Montreal Restaurant Round-Up – St-Henri
It’s Wednesday night – you’ve just gotten over Hump Day and the weekend feels so close you can almost taste it. But what are you going to do with those 2 days of “freedom”? Where are you going to eat? How will you find time for yourself? Who’s gonna take care of those crazy kids?! But most importantly, where are you going to eat?
You start browsing your go-to sites – Urbanspoon, Resto-Montreal, TripAdvisor, Yelp, OpenTable (my go to when I don’t have the time or patience for investigative work) and then Gooooooogle. It’s almost dizzying! The options are simply overwhelming. I’ve been there. I get it. And trust me, I am THE WORST decision-maker ever. Something looks great and then *poof* – Urbanspoon rates it at 60% and the reviews warn you against slow service, lukewarm meals and orders gone awry. Back to square one.
So in the spirit of being judgemental, I’ve decided to help guide you around Montreal neighbourhoods and save you from scouring likes and lists of countless reviews.
Every once in awhile, I will pick an area or a theme and give it a good once-over. I’ll try to be fair and give a shout-out to the places I think are worth checking out, when, and why.
Following up to my last review of local hang-out Ludger, I’m sticking with the St-Henri theme.
There is argument as to whether everything east of Atwater is actually Little Burgundy (and then Griffintown) but I still consider up until Vinet to be the St-Henri I have come to know and love. Stay tuned for reviews of the many (and growing) number of eateries opening in those neighbourhoods. I have intentionally left out a few spots for lack of anything (nice) to say but I am always happy to hear your opinions.
Where have you snacked and dined in St-Henri? Have I hit it on the nose or do you disagree? Come on people – am up for some culinary sparring!
In no particular order…
A great place for a pricey meal, tasty bistro food with a twist, yelling above the high-energy din and feeling like you’re in Westmount without actually going there. Don’t skip dessert, they are unreal. tuckshop.ca
My go-to cheapo Chinese/Malaysian/Thai/Whatever take-out. Oddly located and the only resto in a several block radius. It can be hit or miss but I love that the family lives upstairs and that it takes only 20 mins to get your food. fang-chi.ca
The first of a new chain of pizzerias using fresh ingredients at reasonable prices. Their caesar salad is outstanding and their individual pizzas inventive and consistent. There are always a good dozen hot sauces on-hand to spice it up and home-made lemonade to cool you down. ffpizza.ca
Another pocket-friendly local take-out or eat-in spot. Don’t expect fireworks but there is a real Thai woman in the kitchen and their pad-thai is perfectly decent. Choose your heat-level from 1-6 and try one of their many options of foreign beers. makmak.ca
Old-school diner ecently renovated and revived. Famous for its steamies, Nathan’s hot dogs and now an abundant Poutine selection. The day Green Spot has to shut down is the day I give up on St-Henri. Greenspot on restomontreal
Quoi de n’Oeuf
As far as I can tell, this was the first “hot spot” when St-Henri put up its first round of condos next to the Atwater Market a good 15 years ago (that’s a guess). Weekends still see lines out the door and lunches are packed with local business owners and anyone looking for honest, hearty and quality breakfast food. Quoi de n’oeuf on RestoMontreal
Boulangerie Sweet Lees
Opened by two siblings in an old garage recessed about 10 feet from the street, this bakery does sweet and savoury. It was the first of the influx of St-Henri bakeries but is somewhat hidden on a residential street. Try their scones and soft, somewhat experimental cookies. sweetlees.ca
A very pricey and selective menu in a location easily missed. I don’t think it’s received too many accolades but I do know the chefs are trying to do something different with good ingredients (one is former chef at the now defunct DNA). I gave brunch a try once and it was tasty but a few dollars more than warranted. restaurantevoo.com
Cafe Mariani **SORRY – CLOSED!**
One of the first establishments to mark the neighbourhood with a nice corner spot next to Sir George Etienne park. A small but varied hot and cold lunch menu and a celebrated brunch menu. It’s a generally nice hipster-ish atmosphere. lecaffemariani.com
From the same owners as the Wellington, Monsieur B, Les Héritiers, Les Canailles and O’Thyme these guys have done something great with the BYOB concept. No need to hit-up Duluth for mediocre food. The atmosphere is vibrant, you can have a gourmet meal without worrying about skyrocketing the bill with a single bottle of wine. It’s solid. smoking-vallee.com
Another new bakery on the west side of Notre-Dame. Across the street and with a family relationship to Tuck Shop (respective owners are brothers). They have some tasty bite-size delicacies not for those of you willing to sacrifice calories for a few bites of delight. rustiquepiekitchen.com
If you’re ready to brave the constant line-ups, hit up this stall in the Atwater Market (in the winter they have an indoor location on St-Jacques nearby). Their steamed buns (pork and tofu) are ridiculously good as is their Laksa soup, replete with fresh and home-made ingredients. sataybrothers.com
I don’t know why I am mentioning this place only for the fact that they make this old school diner-style pizza I dream about. Its that buttery crust that gets me every time. I recommend take-out as the interior leaves a bit to be desired (although this is the real-deal St-Henri eatery and thus has its charm). miraclepizza.com
Le Vin Papillon
Haven’t tried it yet but have heard great things about this wine bar and tapas locale. Next door to and the new venture of Joe Beef and Liverpool House owners (and now celebrity chefs) David Macmillan and Frederic Morin. vinpapillon.com
Tacos Tacos. If you haven’t heard of Grummans either for its pioneering of Montreal’s food trucsk (they used their truck for private events for several years now), then maybe you know it for its vibrant lofty, warehouse space restaurant opened last year. Try the Bahn Mi tacos, salmon tartare and anything else they have on special for the evening. grumman78.blogspot.ca
Do I really need to write anything about this? Haven’t they received enough attention? Overrated? Not sure as I have yet to save up for this evening out. Apparently the double-down is plain ‘ol whacky. Feel free to share your Joe Beef experiences! joebeef.ca
I went a few years ago and was disappointed. No its not bad by any standard but with the plethora of high-end cuisine du terroir restos available, they don’t do anything significantly different and they may be riding on the success of their big brother next door (see above). Feel free to debate! Liverpool House on Urbanspoon
The veritable English pub that attracts young 20-somethings from around the city. Their menu is quality pub food. Great burgers, a delicious bavette & fries, variety of sandwiches and hearty salads, addictive home made chips, Sheppards pie, Fish ‘n chips and the like. There are also fun Brit bites like Scotch eggs and tea sandwiches to keep your stomach buffered in case you’re in for a night’s fun. burgundylion.com
I have been wanting to try this miniature BYOB that has been on Notre-Dame for many years. It appears to be truly home-cooked Congolese food and has many gushing over its warmth and flavours. Just gotta beef up my stomach before I give it a whirl. graciaafrika.com
Expensive wood-burning brick-oven Pizza. Nothing to write home about but it’s there if you’re in the mood. I’m partial to F&F but to each their own. Montreal pizza debate to come in near future! gepettopizza.com
Lili & Oli
Really this is a coffee place with a few baked goods. But their coffee, atmosphere and staff make this place a very local hang-out. Even though they have been assaulted on all sides (Starbucks & JavaU opened on the same block a couple years ago), they have braved the competition and survived thanks to a dedicated clientele. Lili & Oli on Facebook