Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Jun 13, 2007 02:19 PM

Montrea Locals - What do you consider the best small hole in the wall resto?

Looking for restaurant that is maybe still flying under the radar but has a great local following? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If they're off the radar, I doubt that anyone here would know about them. This place IS the radar.

    5 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      I'm sure they're some neighbourhood restaurants that produce good food, that will never be reviewed by Montreal restaurant critics(critics tend to focus on certain areas of town, & usually only review new restaurants), and never(or very rarely) get mentioned on the food boards. I was actually going to post a similar topic as this.

      1. re: BLM

        Alright then, name away. I love nothing more than trying out great new restaurants. I'm just pretty sure that people on this board aren't keeping secrets. Unless they are, and in that case: BOO!

      2. re: SnackHappy

        BAHN LAO THAI on Decarie up near the Cote Vertu Metro station is a true Thai Cambodian family style joint that serves up the most authentic Thai I have had since I was working in Thailand. This family run joint has the qualifying hole in the wall characteristics, that make the experience worth the drive. most traditional meals are on the menu, but be aware that these are made home style, and have some regional variation.

        The owners know their stuff, and the food comes out fresh, hot and tasty. One of the more interesting items is the beef jerky, which is served hot and crisp with a dipping sauce. The Larb Gai is not the typical version found in Bangkok, and may be a Cambodian variation, as it not only has ground chicken, but also gizzards and heart. A bit surprising if you are not expecting it.

        1. re: fedelst1

          I think it is Thai and Laotian food (not Cambodian)...hence the name.

          1. re: fedelst1

            Larb Gai is a Lao dish, which typically has chicken gizzards. Larb Seen is a beef version with tripe. The dried beef jerky is a Lao flash-fried beef jerky dish called "Seen Hang" (salty) or "Seen Savanh" (sweet with sesame seeds). The name of the restaurant reflects the mixture of Lao and Thai dishes..."Banh Lao Thai" pretty much means Lao-Thai Home.

          1. I think a lot of lower end restos get left off this board for the reason that "really amazing" restaurants get more talk than good, decently priced places. A great exaple of this is that Khyber pass gets only one recent thread on the board while AuPdC is mentioned in about 12 recent posts. Khyber pass is a great restaurant (in fact one of my favourites, and by no means a hole in the wall) but because it's only a couple of blocks from AuPdc, when out of towners ask for recs of places to go in that neighbourhood, they aren't told about it.

            Is there a particular neighbourhood you're looking to explore, or is this a montreal-wide hole in the wall hunt? Also, does the place have to be small and grimy, or just dirt cheap?

            48 Replies
            1. re: Moosemeat

              I also think that most smaller restos are ethnic and this is not very mainstream for the Montreal board. The same places (APdC, Toque, CCP, Brunoise, etc) get discussed ad nauseam to my chagrin. There doesn't seem to be a lot of interest to discover the great ethnic cuisines that our city offers.

              1. re: hungryann

                Among locals, there's a fair amount of discussion of ethnic eateries and food stores. But, for better or worse, much time on this board is spent responding to tourists' questions, and tourists tend to be seeking a more French and often more upscale experience. Though hard to believe given the recent (and seasonally predictable) rash of "what restaurants should I not miss during my three days in Montreal" queries, the percentage of non-tourist-related posts has increased in the last year or two. It's a trend to be encouraged, though the US-centric nature of Chowhound means there's always going to be significant percentage of questions from outsiders looking for the biggest, best and trendiest.

                1. re: carswell

                  I would venture to call Daou a low key eatery that MUST be experienced. It is certainly off the beaten path and it is a true taste of Montreal - considering we have one of the largest lebanese populations in north america.

                  1. re: celfie

                    ..note that there are 2 Daou restaurants,...go to the one on Faillon

                    1. re: CMT

                      The one on Faillon is better(it owned by the same family I believe).

                      1. re: BLM

                        what's better about that location? i can't see how the VSL one could possibly be beat!

                        1. re: celfie

                 the taste test and let us know...especially hot dolmas entree and fish, grilled chicken.....

                    2. re: celfie

                      Owned by the same family but I think the one in VSL is much better. Maybe its just a matter of the way you are used to having these dishes prepared.

                      1. re: thelonious777

                        DAOU is same family but since 2 different chef food can have a difference.

                        The one on Faillon looks like a cafeteria for the decoration.

                        The one in Ville St-Laurent on Marcel Laurin boulevard is more upscale in terms of decoration.

                        As for prices, I have no memory if it's the same prices for both.

                      2. re: celfie

                        Agree completely with this. Although you are likely to run into Celine and Angelil there. I've seen them at least three times so I think it is/was one of their haunts.

                        1. re: SpellMan

                          Which one? If it is the Faillon branch, Angelil grew up near there. That area has long had a Lebanese community (as well as francophone Québécois and Italian immigrants). There are two mostly-Lebanese Orthodox churches in Villeray - one at least (St-Nicolas) has a foodie-worthy bazaar. Daou is also very close to Chez Apo. The décor is really sad though. It was nicer when it was a tiny byow hole in the wall, but that was decades back.

                    3. re: hungryann

                      > There doesn't seem to be a lot of interest to discover the great
                      > ethnic cuisines that our city offers.

                      *I'm* very interested! :-)

                      For a hole-in-the-wall, how about Aux Délices de l'Ile Maurice in Verdun? Tiny place, massive portions, tasty food from Mauritius. Only been there once but it was very memorable and I've been meaning to go back. The chef himself comes out and tells you what's available that day in a very entertaining way (at least I found it entertaining - you might not. ;-).

                      Not sure if it qualifies as "under the radar" as it's already been reviewed all over the place, but it's worth a try if it sounds appealing.

                      Some reviews:


                      (in French)

                      1. re: kpzoo

                        I'm a frequent visitor to Montreal, not a resident, so my experience is a bit limited. However, the best out-of-the-way holes in the wall my Montreal friends have introduced me to are:

                        - Kieu Anh, 7491 St-Denis, a few blocks north of Jean-Talon. Amazing Vietnamese, specializing in dishes from the north. All of us had the grouper -- it comes on a big platter, with a bowls of broth, noodles and greens, so you can assemble the dish yourself.

                        - Caribbean Curry House (Maison de cari) - 6892 Victoria, in Plamondon. Great roti, red snapper, patties, etc.

                        1. re: kpzoo

                          Oh wow, thanks! I've always wanted to try Mauritian food but I didn't know we had any Mauritian restaurants here. I'm definitely going to have to try this out!

                          1. re: kpzoo

                            Without a doubt Delice a top contender for hole in the wall. The chef/ Owner Sylvestre is colorful in more ways than one. Considering you can basically read the menu from what he got smeared on his shorts and tank top. This place is not for the faint of heart. From the tennis balls on the feet of every chair to the late night extravaganza that happens after 9:30, the experience is about as interesting as the food.

                            Massive quantities, nah, these are super massive. Considering you are greeted with the cabbage baji, and then asked the usual Chicken, Sausage, Smoked Salmon or Eggplant question, then this is followed up with what is usually a very good curried soup.. then comes Sylvestre to offer you dinner. If you happen to be lucky enough to come on a night where he has the Civet de Caille, I recommend it. ... and at the end of all this... the bill is below $15.... go figure.

                            This place is not for the faint of heart, and not for food snobs, it is for people looking for an interesting experience, who can let down their hair and relax.

                            1. re: fedelst1

                              I must say, I've tried this place and was underwhelmed.

                              The fired cabbage and the soup that came first were sheer pleasure, and the portion for the low, low price is MORE than a good deal!

                              But the main course - choose your own culinary adventure of pairing a meat of choice with a sauce of choice - was a bit bewildering, and seems contrary to what a chef's role is - making these pairing choices for you according to their knowledge of food. Plus it didn't seem very 'authentic' to me. Maybe I missed some options on the menu...

                              It's worth a trip for sure, and it certainly a unique restaurant experience! The chef is great, and I think i'll even try it again, but perhaps this time I'll try the civet de quail, as recommended by fedelst1 !

                          2. re: hungryann

                            The reason that those restaurants are discussed so much is that every other thread on this board is started by tourists asking for reccomendations. Mostly wanting to know whether to go to this fine dining establishment or that bistro. It can't be helped that some people are going to want ot talk about 200$ tasting menus with wine pairings, foie gras lobster rolls or $80 steak plates. These people are foodies. They come here to eat and they have money burning holes in their pockets. They want an experience that will make their foodie friends jealous. They're not going to have $1.75 pupusas or portuguese chicken.

                            People don't come here from out of town looking for Mexican or Indian or Chinese food. They are mostly looking for some sort of French or Market type restaurant because that's what Montreal does better than most other cities in North America.

                            Personally, I can't afford to go to Club Chasse et Peche, Toqué or Joe Beef. I can splurge every once in a while and go to a nice place, but I spend most of my restaurant dough on cheap ethnic restos because they give me the most bang for the buck. I've discovered a lot of places because of posts on this very board.

                            Khyber Pass gets mentionned regularly here, and there are long threads about Indian and Mexican food that keep getting bumped up. I wish we spent more time chowhounding than talking about fine dining, but the fact of the matter is that people here seem to get more excited about fine dining and destination restaurants than about where to get the best roti, pozole or banh mi.

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              > They're not going to have $1.75 pupusas or portuguese chicken.

                              Oooh, you just reminded me of one of my favourite holes-in-the-wall!

                              El Amigo - 51 St-Zotique E.

                              A large selection of homemade Mexican & Salvadoran specialties, including pupusas. Yum!

                              1. re: kpzoo

                                Do you like El Amigo better than nearby La Carreta? 350 St Zotique E. Both are good; El Amigo (television blaring, in Spanish) is a little more hole-in-wallish, La Carreta rather prettier.

                                Have you had any of the other specialities, beyond the (yummy) pupusas? They do a kind of paella, and "hungry man" type specialities with steak, beans and all manner of food. I haven't but would be interested in knowing if any are good.

                                One I'm still mourning though is Tanguito, a wee hole-in-the-wall Argentinean resto with excellent empanadas, little steaks, torta pascualina (sort of like a quiche or vegetable tart; also a speciality of Liguria (Genova) Italy - many Argentineans hail from that area of Italy. It was always packed but closed to be replaced by an indifferent-looking Italian place run by non-Italians - I think they are from a South Asian country. An Argie friend thinks the old couple running the place might have been able to sell it off at a profit and retire.

                                I'm glad celfie mentioned Ange & Ricky - scarcely a restaurant at all but such tasty Haitian and other island foods: Ange & Ricky, 195 Jarry E.

                                Another non-restaurant not to be missed is Lahmadjoune Beyrouth-Yerevan, 420 Faillon, 270-1076 for their great lamajoune and other savoury pastries and takeout dips, stuffed vine leaves, etc.

                                And a whole series of cheap, small South Asian restos on Jean-Talon West (in Parc-Extension, past the Loblaws)...

                                I'm just resigned to any of these boards focusing on places that are far too rich for my blood - in either sense.

                                1. re: lagatta

                                  > Do you like El Amigo better than nearby La Carreta?

                                  I haven't been there, but now will have to try it! Is the food similar? Yes, the TV blaring Spanish soap operas and news about Paris Hilton en Español is a bit annoying at El Amigo, but I suppose that's part of its hole-in-the-wall charm. ;-)

                                  At El Amigo, I must admit I tend to go for the $10.95 combo platter of chicken taco & chicken enchilada (+ rice + beans + salad), just because both are so delicious.... I had a fried plantain as an appetizer recently that was tasty, but had more of a dessert feel to it. When I was there recently with a group, my friend had a "typico" Salvadoran chicken-onion dish that looked scrumptious (and my friend found delicious) - I will have to try it next time.

                                  > And a whole series of cheap, small South Asian restos on Jean-Talon West
                                  >(in Parc-Extension, past the Loblaws)...

                                  Agreed. My fave is Bombay Mahal (1001, rue Jean-Talon Ouest - 514-273-3331) and I'd go there more often except it's always absolutely packed and once you're seated the wait even to order can be excrutiatingly long - especially when you're hungry. My friends and I tried to beat the crowds by going around 5-5:30 recently, but even then it was packed! I adore the channa samosa (samosa swimming in spicy chick-pea curry) and masala dosa (giant pancake-like thing wrapped around spicy potatoes, with a thin dal dipping sauce.

                                  We tried Halal 786 up the street once (766 Jean-Talon W. - 514-270-0786) when Bombay Mahal was too packed and it too was delicious, but the choice of dishes was a little less interesting to us. A lot of dishes with the same combination of ingredients - chick peas, spinach - which I love, but it was hard to find other things to order as we were with someone who was allergic to fish - too bad, because they apparently h ave some kind of whole fish fry that's supposedly fantastic!


                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                    Bombay Mahal may have a very capable kitchen, but the filthy dining room is just beyond event my tolerance. i wish I could say something nice about this place, but although I am a tolerant person, I draw the line at sticky greasy tables, and filthy cutlery.

                                    On a positive note, Jolee on Victoria serves up some very good southern Indian / Sri Lankan cuisine that is absurdly inexpensive. With absolutely no decor worth talking about, the dining area contends with a continual flow of patrons coming in and out for a massive take out business that they run. During your meal, it is normal that over 100 people may come and go with take out orders.

                                    1. re: fedelst1

                                      Jolee has previously been cited (about 4-5 years ago) for rodent problems and sanitation issues by the city of Mtl. I've mentionned this on another thread but thought you should know since you find Bombay Mahal unacceptable. Jolee sort of had the same vibe last time I was there in 2003 but things may have changed?

                                      1. re: hungryann

                                        As of last year, things have not changed. The place is dirty, dirty, dirty. The kitchen is filthy. there are food bins on the floor in the hallway. The bathrooms are revolting. Since we've been there, my girlfriend refuses to go to any other Victoria street restaurant.

                                    2. re: kpzoo

                                      I like Bombay Mahal a lot: eggplant appetizer, butter chicken, nan bread, vegetarian curry... it's super busy all the time due to how tasty everything is, and I don't mind a slightly sticky table top. I just leave my jacket on :-)
                                      Actually I have driven all the way from Verdun for takeout from Bombay Mahal...

                                      I also went to Halal 786 when Bombay Mahal was jammed, and it was very nice too, and yet.... I can't explain it: everything we had was delicious. Maybe all it was was that I was subconsciously disappointed that I couldn't get my BM butter chicken fix...

                                      Halal 786 Restaurant
                                      768 Jean Talon, Montreal, QC H2R1V1, CA

                                  2. re: kpzoo

                                    Strongly believe La Caretta is better

                                    1. re: CMT

                                      Strongly second La Caretta as better.

                                    2. re: kpzoo

                                      Just pointing out here that El Amigo is now a byow (you can also bring beer). That makes it an even cheaper destination to go to with friends for a casual meal.

                                    3. re: SnackHappy

                                      "I wish we spent more time chowhounding than talking about fine dining"
                                      Amen to that! I completely agree.
                                      I go to those 'fancy' places (usually work related) and I enjoy them but what gets my juices flowing is precisely the hole-in-th-wall that serves killer food. To answer the OP, my two favorite places that don't seem to get much attention here are:
                                      -Nostos on L'Acadie for greek food (not technically a hole-in-the-wall since their brisk business has allowed them to expand)
                                      -Kuljit India in the strip mall of Marcel Laurin and Keller (a true mom and pop shop that serves delicious Punjabi fare on par with the restos in Parc EX; actually their menu is practically a carbon copy of Malhi Sweets)

                                      1. re: hungryann

                                        > Kuljit India

                                        Thanks for the tip on this - I'm definitely going to check it out.

                                        1. re: hungryann

                                          Ann, what do you think is best at Kuljut India? Just went there for the first time Saturday(18th), & from my brief sampling of their stuff it was very good. Certainly a hole in the wall resto(never would of discovered it without you writing about them).

                                          1. re: BLM

                                            BLM, I am so glad you tried it. I have been secretly afraid that they will close because it's always empty when I go. However, I think they do a brisk take-out business. I hope it's enough because it would be a pity to lose such a good mom and pop place. On to my recommendations...
                                            1. Channa samosa (smashed up samosas with chick peas and doused by yogurt, tamarind sauce and cilantro - perfect balance of sweet, sour, tangy and spicy!)
                                            2. Aloo tikki - very good potato pancake
                                            3.Butter chicken - excellent, practically identical to the one from Malhi Sweet but the last two times I ordered it there was less chicken and it was mostly dark meat; could be a fluke
                                            4.CTM - I recently discovered this and if it is possible I love it even more than the butter chicken. The sauce is silky and has more depth and creaminess and nice big chunks of chicken tikka in it
                                            5. Malai Kofta - same sauce as the butter chicken but with cheese balls instead
                                            6.Navratan and eggplant dishes are also good versions
                                            7. Aloo Mutter although good it is not as good as homemade versions I've had at Indian friends' homes. I guess I am a little spoiled.
                                            That's all I remember off the top of my head. What did you have? Anything I should be discovering?

                                            1. re: hungryann

                                              Seems you know your Indian food. Nothing too adventurous, on my first visit to Kuljit India. Tried Vegetable pakora, Chicken Tikka, Naan bread & Fanta orange for drink. In your list of recommendations, what's 'CTM'?

                                              I noticed on their menu, they have some kind of friend chicken(1 pound marinated Chicken Breast, deep fried in oil). When I was there just past 5pm Saturday, it was doing a brisk take-out business.

                                              1. re: BLM

                                                CTM = chicken tikka masala
                                                I don't know about the fried chicken. I will have to inquire next time.
                                                On a related note, I checked out the Indian festival today in Parc-Ex and there were some good eats. There was a kiosk selling pakoras, samosas and aloo tikki (made by some Indian ladies), another booth with chaat papri and pani puri (I think it was by a couple who used to own Shan E Lasalle but I could be wrong), a kiosk by restaurant Devi and another by Shalimar sweets. There was also another food kiosk by the restaurant on Jean Talon and Bloomfield. All in all a good afternoon munching on various chaat items, sipping mango lassis and getting a sugar high from syrupy jalebis.

                                                1. re: hungryann

                                                  The couple who used to own Shan E Lasalle? I only remember the mother & her son who were running it(after they first opened it for a year or two they close it, then shortly after that they reopened but that didn't last long).

                                                  Have you tried the food at 786 Halal restaurant on Jean-Talon West. If yes, what do you think? I remember eating a very good & spicy chicken tikka malala at 786 Halal.

                                                  1. re: BLM

                                                    Well, now that I think about it, the woman did look older (mid 50's)and the man was probably in his 30's. So I guess it was them because they are the only place I remember serving pani puri or golgappa. Good to know that they come out every year for this event. I have not went yet to Halal 786. It is on my list after all the positive reviews I have read here and elsewhere.

                                              2. re: hungryann

                                                Ann, did you read the Kuljit India review in last week's Hour paper by Joshua Karpati? Was reluctant to bring it up to you, as Josh didn't exactly have much praise for Kuljit.

                                                1. re: BLM

                                                  No, I didn't. I will look it up.

                                                  1. re: hungryann

                                                    Another restaurant review of Kuljit India in the Montreal papers. This time, in today's(Saturday) Montreal Gazette by Sarah Musgrave. Much more positive, than the Joshua Karpati review in the Hour paper last June. Here's the link I originally heard about this restaurant through CH postings by you.

                                                  2. re: BLM

                                                    It's not so bad...some of his criticisms though are unfair. I mean, come on, it's in a strip mall in VSL, your expectations should be modified accordingly. The family running it are not trying to challenge your culinary being, they want to offer tasty food that will make the average neighborhood folks want to come back for more. Obviously, you shouldn't trek from Repentigny to eat here!

                                                    1. re: hungryann

                                                      Hey Ann, do they deliver? Take credit cards?

                                                      1. re: C70

                                                        No to both queries, unfortunately.

                                            2. re: SnackHappy

                                              Speaking of banh mi, Sencha on St. Laurent between St. Viateur and Bernard has reopened, after being closed for quite awhile due a fire in the bar next door (which had undergone renovations a little while before the fire). Sencha certainly qualifies as a hole in the wall and exists solely to serve locals at lunch it seems. I doubt they'd survive if it wasn't for the Ubisoft lunch horde from down the street. Had a quick lunch there today. Only choices were chicken or beef - I had beef. Not the best banh mi in the city, I suspect -- pretty basic, but tasty and fresh. No daikon visible, only carrot.

                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                O la la . . .
                                                since yours in the 2nd "tourists here are looking for the trendy/expensive/etc" post,
                                                let me chime in as a Montreal visitor that was really looking for the delicious funky not-bank-breaking spots, and fabulous local cheese.
                                                As a NYer, I feel for you on the tourist glut - but if I was looking for newspaper restaurant reviews, I'd be looking in the newspaper. I hate it when Chowhound turns into every other predictable guide, and not all visitors are that way.

                                                (p.s. I love the local Portugese grills . . . )

                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                  I'm visiting from NYC this weekend.
                                                  Where do I get great Portuguese chicken (and what makes it Portuguese)?

                                                  1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                    Yer in luck! (scroll to top for address)

                                                    The piri sauce makes it Portuguese.

                                                    1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                      Hi Joe, also check out these threads:

                                                      Portugese Chicken Restaurants

                                                      best Portuguese grilled chicken in Montreal? resto or takeout

                                                      Ranking Portuguese restaurants


                                                2. re: Moosemeat

                                                  Any or all of the above, small, grimey and yes, dirt cheap helps, too. We will be near Laurier Metro but it is not necessary to be right there in the hood. Thanks!

                                                  1. re: baconspit

                                                    check out the very recent cheap eats thread where many of us listed our favorite cheap eateries all over the city including the area where you will be

                                                3. Some of these are not under the radar but definitely qualify as great inexpensive eats:

                                                  Indian: Golden on St, Laurent, and Bombay Choupati (west island) for their fabulous dosa. I also still like the Thali at Pushaps near Namur metro, and the very yummy Shahi Paneer

                                                  Chinese: M.M.legende bakery: they do great buns, but the real find is the $6 lunch special. The eggplant Yu Hsing (Spelling) on rice is irresistable and a great deal. i also like the vermicelli with pork and pickled vegetables.

                                                  Thai: Can't ever go worng with Cuisine Bankok in the Fauberg. I prefer it to the the restaurant. My only sadness is that they no longer do the duck curry. But the squid with eggplant is divine, and I love the chicken soup.

                                                  Korean: My favorite is Maison Bulgogi on St. Catherine and Chomedey. The bulgogi is as good as my mothers (this is a very high bar). The kimchi is great. The pa jon is fantastic, and the soups are excellent, very good broths.

                                                  South American: Supermarche Andes. I reallylike their rice, and the tamales are yummy. and so cheap.

                                                  Pho: Pho Lien on Cote des Neiges and cote St. Catherine. Their broth is by far the best in the city. And their grilled pork with vermicelli is always perfectly seasoned.

                                                  Carribean: El Corridor on St. Laurent. Great goat roti and outstanding oxtail stew (When they have it). And the beef jamaican patty is also the best I've had.

                                                  Wow. i'm hungry now! All these places bring much much culinary joy. I have even considered sending their kitchens thank you cards for how happy they have made me!

                                                  19 Replies
                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    Impressive list there!
                                                    Where is the chinese place you mention?
                                                    I agree with all your asian recommendations except for Golden. Last time I went it was dissapointing; most of their curries were cloyingly sweet.

                                                    1. re: hungryann

                                                      Legende Bakery is on the south side of De La Gauchetière between Clark and St-Urbain. There's also one at 1565 Jean-Talon East.

                                                      I agree about Golden, also. I've never been impressed.

                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                        Oh, a Légende near me! Great! Baconspit, the Golden and a few other Indian restos are on St-Laurent a bit north of Laurier - a short walk west from the Laurier métro. I've never been there so can't judge.

                                                      2. re: hungryann

                                                        I hear you about the sweet curries, I guess i like that style. yes, MM Legende bakery is exactly where Snackhappy mentioned, i frequent the Chinatown location on de la Gauchetiere. That eggplant is great! (And not sweet like the curries at Golden). They have these "Daily special" menus in a plastic holder at each table. The eggplant is on that list.

                                                      3. re: moh

                                                        I'd have to enthusiastically agree with the above list, and add a few of my own.

                                                        Bulgogi is great, but I've recently discover Hwang BBQ on Upper Lachine, and I think they trump Bulgogi. Superb neighbourhood joint.

                                                        A big yes to Bangkok at the Faubourg, the closest thing this city has to real Thai food.

                                                        Coco Rico on St. Laurent is my meat heaven.

                                                        For Szechuan, Niu Kee on "upper" Clarke blows away anything else and leaves me with the prickly ash detox shakes.

                                                        1. re: bomobob

                                                          I almost completely forget a place I haven't been to in a few years, but is sensational, and that's the hard-to-find Mauritian joint on Hickson in Verdun, Les Délices de l’ile Maurice.

                                                          Also, a true gem, though a bit off the beaten path for many of us city dwellers, is Shahi Palace, a mind blowingly amazing Pakistani resto on des Sources in the Waste Island.

                                                          1. re: bomobob

                                                            Good to know about Shahi Palace. Have often passed it and wondered. Any specific dish recommendations there? What about the other indian restos on that same strip? I can't remember who or where but I had heard that Kwality is also very good. Can anyone confirm? How about Pushap, is it as good as the Pare location in Mtl?

                                                            1. re: hungryann

                                                              As much as I hate to admit it, there are a few good eats in the West Island these days, most of them, not surprisingly, in that little are of des Sources, and all from the Indian subcontinent.
                                                              Shahi's mutton palik (mutton/spinach) is one of the great foods of my life, with tender, succulent pieces of mutton buried in the most aromatic and flavourful spinach. I order it hot, and it is wonderfully spiced.
                                                              Kwality is also very good. I haven't been to that Pushap in a while, in fact since they were over on Gouin, but it was very good. Not quite like Pare, but still excellent.
                                                              Over in Pushap's old Gouin location, just west of Sources is another Pakistani place. I can't recall the name, but a bunch of us went there a while ago, and it was amazing.
                                                              Some people rave about Shed Tandoor (I think that's the name) across the street from Shahi, but I went once and would never go back.

                                                              1. re: bomobob

                                                                I ate at Pushap in spring 2010. It was quite tasty and incredibly cheap, but very dirty. I am quite tolerant but I'm very glad I didn't see the kitchen. We got a box of sweets to go, also very cheap. The gulab jamon was among the best I've had, but the other sweets were generally chemically or with a bad texture. I would go back if I was broke and in the area, but definitely would not go out of my way for this.

                                                                Pushap Restaurant
                                                                4777 Boul Des Sources, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y3C6, CA

                                                                1661 Av Dollard, Lasalle, QC H8N1T7, CA

                                                                1. re: rthibode

                                                                  not sure where you live but there is a Pushap branch near Namur Metro. that might be closer for you

                                                                  1661 Av Dollard, Lasalle, QC H8N1T7, CA

                                                                    1. re: rthibode

                                                                      The Pushap on Sources is a lot cleaner than the one near Namur...

                                                                      Pushap Restaurant
                                                                      4777 Boul Des Sources, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y3C6, CA

                                                              2. re: bomobob

                                                                I really loved the food and service at Chez Hwang. The seafood Pa Jeon was particularly delicious.

                                                                Maison Bulgogi was a lot cheaper though.

                                                                1. re: bomobob

                                                                  Have you been to Niu Kee since the ownership change last year? I used to be addicted to the place, but haven't been too thrilled with it since the change - I haven't found a decent Szechuan place since, although PM will do in a pinch.

                                                                  1. re: cherylmtl

                                                                    Funny you should mention that, because I was there a month or so ago after not having been for quite a while. The hot eggplant was as sublime as usual, but my favourite chicken dish was completely different than it used to be, and I dare say, a little disappointing. I thought it was just a bad night, but now I'm thoroughly depressed...

                                                                    1. re: bomobob

                                                                      It wasn't by any chance the kung pao chicken, was it?

                                                                      1. re: cherylmtl

                                                                        Same thing happened to you, huh? No character at all. Squishy peanuts, rubbery chicken, devoid of any sort of sauce worth remembering.

                                                                        1. re: bomobob

                                                                          I feel your pain. That was one of my favourite dishes there...

                                                                          1. re: cherylmtl

                                                                            In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't order the kung pao shrimp, which, in my mind, is virtually unequalled on this side of the globe. Or I guess, was.
                                                                            The very first time I had it, and every subsequent time, I was quite certain it was among the very best Asian dishes I'd ever tasted on this continent.

                                                              3. Café Presto on Stanley, next to Chez Paré. Great Italian food at ridiculously low prices. $3.95 for nonna's lasagne and $1.95 for a lovely salad. Amazing!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: swissfoodie

                                                                  Yes, that is utterly astonishing given the dead-centre downtown location. I have to remember that place to provide a decent alternative for hungry friends who don't want to make the trek to Le Faubourg...

                                                                  1. re: swissfoodie

                                                                    After reading this, tried Cafe Presto recently when visiting Montreal (my home town). I went at lunch on a week day with my wife and daughter, and so were probably obviously from out of town. First of all, the food is not great. Mediocre at best. My wife's food was lukewarm. You could do better at a food court.

                                                                    Secondly, the owner tried to rip us off by adding a tip directly to the bill, plus a $10 "mistake" that brought the "ridiculously low price" of a lunch for 3 to $38! We argued it down to $25 and left very unimpressed.

                                                                    1. re: ptslim

                                                                      I never understood the enthusiasm with Presto either. My meals there were mediocre, and the bill adds up so fast.