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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!

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  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

                          ...do 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:

                      http://www.montrealfood.com/restos/de...

                      (in French) http://www.voir.ca/restos/chronique.a...

                      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.
                              http://www.montrealfood.com/restos/el...

                              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!

                                  http://www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iID...

                                  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 http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/f... 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.
                                                Cheers!

                                                (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)
                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4134...

                                                    The piri sauce makes it Portuguese.

                                                    1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                      Hi Joe, also check out these threads:

                                                      Portugese Chicken Restaurants
                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/622544

                                                      best Portuguese grilled chicken in Montreal? resto or takeout
                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719249

                                                      Ranking Portuguese restaurants
                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/465174

                                                      Enjoy!

                                                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

                                                                Pushap
                                                                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

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Pushap
                                                                  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.
                                                                        Sigh...

                                                                        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.

                                                                  2. Two of my favourite hole in the wall places are MESSOB D'OR (Etheopian, on monkland) and Jolee (Sri-Lankan, on victoria). Though neither of these places is easy on the stomach they're both a joy for someone who really loves spicy food.

                                                                    Jolee is just dirt cheap, with prices so low it makes you question where they get thier meat from.

                                                                    Messob d'or gets cheaper the more people you go with, and is super cheap as long as you stick to thier combo dishes.

                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Moosemeat

                                                                      Does anyone know for sure if Messob d'Or is still in business? I walk by it a lot but I haven't seen it open in a long, long time, though the sign's still there. I liked it too....

                                                                      1. re: kpzoo

                                                                        They're still open. 5pm-10pm daily, closed mondays.

                                                                        1. re: Moosemeat

                                                                          I adore pan fried dumplings and I really liked Ravioli Manchuria on St-Mathieu south of Concordia, although I haven't been in a while. Are they still around?

                                                                          1. re: Venusia

                                                                            The Ravioli Manchuria restaurant was sold not too long ago to new owners. The name has changed, but they're still pan fried dumplings on the menu(on the revamped menu). Haven't eaten there since the changeover.

                                                                            1. re: Venusia

                                                                              What used to be Manchuria is now called Restaurant Nouveau (or nouveau restaurant?), I think. I've eaten there recently and it's quite good, with cheap lunch specials, but it's not as dumpling-centric as it was before, which is disappointing.

                                                                              Restaurant Jolee on Victoria sure is a hole, alright, but not worth going to in my opinion. The food was alright but when I saw the state of the kitchen (disgustingly filthy, food on the floor, grime everywhere, stuff on the walls), I immediately regretted having eaten. I will never go back.

                                                                              1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                Jolee had been cited a few years ago by the food inspection dept of Mtl for a rodent problem. I had the same feeling after I ate there back in 2003; never went back.

                                                                                1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                  Sorry, I was all wrong on that one. It's called Restaurant du Bonheur.

                                                                                  1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                    I went there for lunch a few days ago and it was alarmingly empty. The dumplings weren't much special (in fact they were a little bit too thick and heavy) so I am worried that with the new owners they won't last too long. Seriously, at lunch time at Concordia ghetto, we were the only customers.

                                                                                    1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                                      Any places in Montreal for great Chinese pan fried dumplings?

                                                                                      1. re: BLM

                                                                                        Do you mean Pot Stickers? The ones at Kam Fung are pretty good.

                                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                          I was thinking specifically of the ones that was available at Manchuria, but I'm interested in all Chinese pan-fried dumplings. The ones at Manchuria were not considered pot stickers or were?

                                                                                          1. re: BLM

                                                                                            Is there a difference between a potsticker and a pan-fried dumpling?

                                                                                            1. re: Venusia

                                                                                              Pan-fried dumplings are fried up after boiling. There are the same as boiled dumplings but they go in the wok for a minute before serving. That's what they served at Ravioli de Mandchourie. Pot-stickers are cooked in oil in a pan to which you then add a bit of water to finish off cooking. I believe this is also how gyoza are prepared. I prefer pot-stickers to boiled or pan-fried dumplings.

                                                                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                Interesting stuff and, yes, you are correct this is exactly how the Japanese make gyoza (and the Koreans make mandu).

                                                                                          2. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                            I was about to concur on the Kam Fung fried dumplings; then I realized the post was from 2007!! Decided to concur anyway because in 2010 the fried dumplings I had on Monday were great! I liked all the Dim Sum we tried (and with 5 of us from different regions of the US) we tried a LOT. My only disappointment was the sticky rice, it was just good : )

                                                                                          3. re: BLM

                                                                                            There's a great little place on St. Marc just north of de Maisonneuve on the east side - I can't remember the name, unfortunately. It's a tiny place, and let's just say you're not paying for the decor. But they make good dumplings...

                                                                                            1. re: cherylmtl

                                                                                              Is that Le Roi du WonTon, the one with the picture menu on the wall behind the counter?

                                                                                              1. re: chilipepper

                                                                                                No, it's the one next door, I believe - the menu is on the side wall, when you walk in.

                                                                                  2. re: Moosemeat

                                                                                    For the record in case anyone reads this - Messob d'Or is officially closed. RIP!

                                                                                2. re: Moosemeat

                                                                                  Messob is now closed, unfortunately...

                                                                                3. a nice place is a small lebanese shop on the block before the parisian butcher shop in CDN that one of you really likes. They make amazing skewers of shishtaouk on charcoal - their baguette sandwiches include the skewer (there are others to choose from) veggies including a pickle and lots of hot sauce. good stuff.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: celfie

                                                                                    Could the place you have in mind be Boucherie et Grillade Farhat, 5595 Côte des Neiges
                                                                                    514-738-4045, between Cote St. Catherine & St. Kevin?

                                                                                    There are a few other places in that area that I have seen recommended, though I have never been to any of them myself:

                                                                                    For Portuguese grilled chicken, Restaurant Mavi, 5192 Gatineau, 514-340-9664.

                                                                                    Dao Vien
                                                                                    5623A Côte des Neiges
                                                                                    514-341-7120

                                                                                    Pho Lien
                                                                                    5703 Côte des Neiges
                                                                                    514-735-6949

                                                                                    Lao Beijing
                                                                                    5619A Côte des Neiges
                                                                                    514-731-8978

                                                                                    A U de M hangout:
                                                                                    Librairie Olivieri
                                                                                    5219 Côte des Neiges
                                                                                    514-739-3303

                                                                                    For Indian food,
                                                                                    East India Tea Company
                                                                                    3533 Queen Mary
                                                                                    514-344-2217

                                                                                    Kam Shing (Lower Côte-des-Neiges)
                                                                                    6730 Côte des Neiges
                                                                                    514-731-1401

                                                                                    I would be curious to learn what people on this board think of them.

                                                                                    I visit Mtl frequently enough from the US so I follow the hole in the wall scene. BTW with the US dollar dropping against the loonie, more visitors may have to look for something other than the same old same old top end dining.

                                                                                    1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                      As reported in the Restaurant Closings thread, East India is no more.

                                                                                      Am pretty sure your OP is referring to the imaginatively named Sandwiches & Brochettes www.montrealfood.com/restos/s-and-b.htm (3513 Swail, which is a short street one block north of Queen Mary running between CDN and Decelles, 514 737-9283). The food is honest and fresh and the people running it are sweet but I can't see going out of one's way for it.

                                                                                      1. re: carswell

                                                                                        Actually I purposefully omitted Sandwiches & Brochettes since it seemed to be a cut below the others. Farhat is the better of the two.

                                                                                        I list I offered was put together by someone from the U de M so he specialized in the neighborhood.

                                                                                        BTW, I have not found the food at au Duc de Lorraine very exciting, I do love their croissants and brioches. That however is hardly a hole in the wall, but it is in the CdN neighborhood.

                                                                                        1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                          There've been two main CDN threads in recent memory-- www.chowhound.com/topics/98541 and www.chowhound.com/topics/358733 (the first includes a link to the list you mention) -- though neither is up-to-date; besides East India, Le Figuier, Arzou Express, Tentations Gourmet and Le Saphir (the Moroccan fast food joint cum butcher on Gatineau) have bit the dust.

                                                                                          Neither the food nor the coffee at Duc de Lorraine is very exciting, though I like the European feel of the place. And I agree about croissants and bricoches -- on a good day, that is.

                                                                                          I'd thought about mentioning Mavi, Farhat and Lao Beijing in this thread, but I'm uncomfortable with calling them holes in the wall.

                                                                                          1. re: carswell

                                                                                            Yeah, I wouldn't exactly call Librairie Olivieri a hole in the wall either. Or Daou for that matter.

                                                                                            As for La Carreta vs El Amigo, yes the general menu is similar, but El Amigo has more large combination specials - I think it would be cheaper for a real trencherperson. The Spanish TV blaring at El Amigo really annoys me (I speak Spanish, so it is harder to tune out). El Amigo's clientele is more specifically Central American though. There are lots of Central and other Latin Americans at La Carreta as well, but a larger number of francophone Québécois than at El Amigo.

                                                                                          2. re: VivreManger

                                                                                            Vivre I agree with you that Farhat is better of the two(refering to their grilled brochette baguette sandwiches), maybe the best of its kind in the city. Tried them both several times(doing a taste test side-by-side the last time). However the big 'but' is that Farhat screwed up my order my two last times there, & they refused to change it(it was their fault making me the wrong sandwich both times, & they refused to correct it(take it or leave it, I don't care)).

                                                                                            1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                              Just in case you didn't know Farhat around maybe 6 months ago, separated their butcher & restaurant sections. Their restaurant is now downstairs, while the butcher section is still upstairs.

                                                                                          3. re: VivreManger

                                                                                            no its not on cdn, it is on the perpendicular to CDN a the block before Boucherie de Paris but not on that street. At the corner is "coiffure zap"

                                                                                        2. ONE OF MY FAVORITES...

                                                                                          WILLENSKY'S

                                                                                          Light Lunch Where Mordecai Richler hung out as a kid. This 60-year-old institution is famous for its hand-pumped sodas, rickety wooden stools, and "The Special." Closes early and is never open on the weekend. 34 Fairmount W., 271-0247

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: BRIANTHEFOODUDE

                                                                                            Wow. I walk past that place all the time, and have never gone in. I'll definitely be rectifying that situation this week!

                                                                                            1. re: BRIANTHEFOODUDE

                                                                                              I've never understood this fascination with Willensky's ... I'm convinced it's a nostalgia thing, not a foodie thing because how can a bologna sandwich be that exciting??

                                                                                              1. re: eoj

                                                                                                They sell bologna sandwiches? I thought that was just a Maritime thing! Well, now I know where to bring my brother the next time he comes to town.

                                                                                                1. re: phedre

                                                                                                  A tip. Unless you want to bring all converstation to a screeching halt, hear a collective gasp from the other customers and get the evil eye from the staff, don't even think about ordering the special (bologna sandwhich) without mustard. Anyway, even if you do, they'll still put mustard on it. (And for the search engines of the universe, it's Wilensky's with one L.)

                                                                                                  1. re: carswell

                                                                                                    I consider myself warned.

                                                                                                    I make no promises for my brother though, who seems to take pleasure in the hairy eyeball.

                                                                                                    1. re: phedre

                                                                                                      Wilensky's isn't fine dining, but the special really hits the spot.

                                                                                                      Here's a good primer on Wilensky's: http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overv...

                                                                                                      Remember to read the rules before you order.

                                                                                                2. re: eoj

                                                                                                  I think it's also partly a cult-status thing because of its immortalization in Mordecai Richler novels.

                                                                                                3. re: BRIANTHEFOODUDE

                                                                                                  Sorry for the Spelling. it is... WILENSKYS
                                                                                                  I to, hate Bologna... But I love a Wilensky Special. and Yes it is very much a nostalgia thing. I reccomend making reservations in advance, haha... Dress code is strictly enforced hahahaha. Oh Ya, Dont forget to TIP BIG... Brian the Foodude in California

                                                                                                4. There's a tiny Caribbean place on De Maisonneuve across from Vendome Metro called Montreal Caribbean (5155 De M I think). Go for the lunch special rotis: tasty and super cheap.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: phedre

                                                                                                    I always thought that place was better when it was called Pick's.

                                                                                                    I remember stepping the metro and getting some take out dinner on my way home from work.

                                                                                                    1. re: phedre

                                                                                                      I like Jean's Trinidad Foods ... in the same area: 5914 Sherbrooke O.

                                                                                                    2. We went to Justine au vin (on St. Denis near Mont Royal est).
                                                                                                      Four of us wwent nd it was very reasonable and delicious.
                                                                                                      An extensive wine list and a good table d'hote. Do make a reservation because it is small although not all that busy when we were there (Weddnesday last week).

                                                                                                      1. Anyone ever try Cafe Via Dante on Dante Street? Different from other italian restaurants as they serve Nothern Italian food, quite different, a pop and sons place, a small resto with a lot of oomph and great food IMO.

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Richelle

                                                                                                          Yes but is it really a hole in the wall? In fact, with those prices can it be?

                                                                                                          1. re: carswell

                                                                                                            ...I agree that it "used to be" for both price/quality......now revenue generation has displaced both service and quality......"you should have gone there when........"

                                                                                                            1. re: carswell

                                                                                                              I myself was wondering about that...it does lean towards expensive.

                                                                                                            2. I'm putting my vote in for Afrodiziac, on Jean-Talon.
                                                                                                              You can read my review here: www.chowhound.com/topics/443121
                                                                                                              and a review from the hour here: www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iIDArticle...

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Moosemeat

                                                                                                                Reviewed in Todays Gazoo by the very qualified Sarah Musgrave.

                                                                                                              2. I will second the rec for Kieu Anh. So affordable, so delicious, and the service is so friendly! I love this place.

                                                                                                                I also like Banh Xeo Minh (1308 rue Belanger), which doesn't get many mentions here.

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                                                  Any specialities in particular at Banh Xeo Minh? (close by for me).

                                                                                                                  1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                    The problem is I don't remember what anything is called!

                                                                                                                    Definitely try the banh xeo if it's your first time. They have these round noodly things with shrimp that I like. I wish I could remember the name. Maybe Snackhappy can help.

                                                                                                                    I also like ordering durian and soursop shakes there but sometimes it's hard communicating what I want because they barely speak any english or french.

                                                                                                                    They have good banh mi there too if ever you're passing by and want to take something home.

                                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                      Their menu is very short, but the star is the banh xeo. I've also had some pretty good banh beo and bun bo hue there. I've also enjoyed the bun mang vit there, but i've never had it anywhere else.

                                                                                                                      The soursop and durian shakes are good if you can get them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                                        Banh Xeo Minh gets its day in the sun or, in this case, the Gazette. I'm glad to see them get some press because it's one of my favourite places. Although I'm pretty sure the ladies in Hampstead won't be coming out in droves to Rosemont for some banh cuon, good on them, anyway.

                                                                                                                        http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/f...

                                                                                                                        EDIT: Forgot to post the link.

                                                                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                                          That dessert they had is my favorite, Xam Bo Luong. It can be used as a sweet way to deliver herbal medicine.

                                                                                                                    2. re: mainsqueeze

                                                                                                                      Karpati gives BXM a pun-riddled thumbs-up in today's Hour. And, for once, a local reviewer even credits Chowhound (your post, one assumes).

                                                                                                                      "Banh Xeo Minh serves up perfect summer food that is light and airy. They also offer a whole array of homemade snacks to take out, like whole bananas sheathed in a grilled sticky rice crust, and (a long-time favourite of mine) a spongy sausage made from mushrooms mixed with pig ears and noses. What's snout to like?"
                                                                                                                      http://www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iID...

                                                                                                                      1. re: carswell

                                                                                                                        "Gelatinous steamed rice flour plays a big role in many of the dishes on the short menu, as it does in my erotic life."

                                                                                                                        Rowr!

                                                                                                                    3. Bun's on St Catherines. The whole menu is : Hamburger, double hamburger, grilled potato's and pop. Homemade burgers on a grill.

                                                                                                                      Toi, moi et Cafe on Notre Dame. Great food low prices and the brecky....mmmmmmm!

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: bigfellow

                                                                                                                        Just tried the Kogo at Picks on St Marc and St Catherine.
                                                                                                                        Very interesting experience. Same look as Buns, but their signature is the Kogo. Its a pogo with a twist. Instead of using a cornmeal based batter, they use a flower based one. It is then studded with cubes of potatoes and deep fried. I recommend. Its delicious.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Dusty08

                                                                                                                          they use a flower based one...

                                                                                                                          Does it bloom in the fryer? ;)

                                                                                                                          Sorry, couldn't resist. You probably meant flour.

                                                                                                                        2. Italian food is a weakness of mine and I really enjoy Rôtisserie Italienne 1933
                                                                                                                          Sainte Catherine W. Atwater or Guy-Concordia metro. They have a counter where you order your food and they will call your name when it's ready. Table and counter top seating in a small but cute atmosphere. The owners are the real deal. I love these guys! Now opened on weekends which it wasn't in the past. Only accepts cash $. Fair priced! fast! excellent excellent food. It is also very convienient if you are going to a movie at the AMC

                                                                                                                          1. My most recent and delicious discovery: Falafel Freiha in Laval. I have posted more details on the cheap eats Laval thread.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: hungryann

                                                                                                                              >People don't come here from out of town looking for Mexican or Indian or Chinese food.

                                                                                                                              Absolutely untrue. Am here from NYC with hubby and our 16-year-old son, in part because the eating rivals our home town. Have had velvety dim sum at Ming Do, excellent lunch at Bombay Mahal, rockin' chicken at Rotisserie Romados, yummy crepes at Lulu B., good burgers/vegiburgers at La Paryse... Les Delice de L'Ile de Maurice is closed until the day after tomorrow... any other suggestions?

                                                                                                                              1. re: ebecker

                                                                                                                                for real good mexican food i go to El Rey Del Taco in Jean Talon market outstanding tacos and churros

                                                                                                                            2. went to Bun Viet for lunch on saturday with my family. My first reaction when i walked into the restaurant was : "OMFG IT STINKS THE SMELL OF MAM!!!" (i still can't stand it hahaha), which, oddly enough, is a good sign that this place is authentic (afterall, their specialty is bun bo hue and bun nem, both dishes which contains nam). It took me a good 10 minutes to get used to it. The menu is very simple, they only serve things with bun, so

                                                                                                                              - Bun bo hue,
                                                                                                                              - Bun Nem
                                                                                                                              - Bun vit mang (duck with bamboo shoots)
                                                                                                                              - Bun rieu
                                                                                                                              - The dried version (bun cha gio etc)

                                                                                                                              No dessert, no spring rolls. Just bun. We asked the waiter/owner and he says they only do bun stuff.

                                                                                                                              The meal was great. My mom got the bun mam (which i cannot comment since i really don't like that), the brother and dad got the bun bo hue and i got the bun vit. Everything was VERY spicy (my bun vit is not spicy.. could have used more duck though), not watered down. Flavorful, couldn't really detect much MSG (probably because the spiciness killed off our taste buds). A cafe xua da was mandatory to turn off the fire

                                                                                                                              all in all, it's a great hole in the wall.

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              Bun Viet
                                                                                                                              7058 Rue Saint-Hubert, Montreal, QC H2S2M9, CA

                                                                                                                              1. When I think of a "hole in the wall resto" I think small, cheap, dirty and really something that should turn you off but somehow pumps out great food. In my mind, the best, smallest, dirtiest place is the greasy spoon known as Cosmos. Yeah I said it and if you are a local montrealer who has never eaten there you should be ashamed of yourself. For those of you who know what I'm talking about you have to agree that it is just a solid breakfast joint despite being pretty gross.

                                                                                                                                Cosmos barely seats 10 and it is honestly just great. The atmosphere is so friendly and there are typically long waiting times but definately worth it. That having been said, it is definately not healthy and you should moderate your visits there.

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: mark_vi_

                                                                                                                                  Does it have to be dirty and unhealthy? Vietnamese Nhu Y is tiny and pretty cheap, very plain but spotlessly clean (at least when we've been there).
                                                                                                                                  Nhu Y 134 Rue Jean-Talon Ouest Montreal, QC H2R 2X1 - (514) 948-8884

                                                                                                                                  I have been to Cosmos but frankly didn't enjoy it - I felt ill afterwards.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                    I'm just saying personally I associate a "hole in the wall" as being a dive of a place, dirty and unhealthy. For instance, there is a tiny sushi restaurant in etobicoke called Kaji which is elegant and charges 120$ for a set menu. But I have trouble calling it a hole in the wall place even though it can be classified as such. Really its semantics.

                                                                                                                                    On a side note, I will definately go check out that vietnamese place!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mark_vi_

                                                                                                                                      A resto that is a) elegant and b) charges 120$ for a set menu is out of bounds as a hole-in-the-wall, I think (though that does sound very good and I have friends in Etobicoke - for us it would be a special occasion place though). Nhu Y is not elegant, and many times cheaper, but it isn't dirty. Tiny restaurant run by a couple who (when I went there) didn't speak much French or English. No food communications problems though.

                                                                                                                                      Edited to add: Nhu Y is also a BYOB - you can take your own wine or beer.

                                                                                                                                      I hope you've reviewed Kaji on the Ontario board!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: mark_vi_

                                                                                                                                    Cosmos is flat out great. I keep forgetting about it. Just not in my regular path. I need a pilgrimmage brekky soon I think.

                                                                                                                                  3. A neighbourhood fave is Figaro on Fairmount, just a bit West of Parc Ave. Le Petit Italien on Bernard is perfect for Spag & Meatballs and a great glass of vino. Chez Justine on Van Horne is excellent and the owners (French) always have an interesting variety of wine by the glass. Just tried JUN-E on Laurier, and it was good but not great. If you like Greek, Panama on Jean Talon is good and surrounded by cheap and tasty Indian places (most of which are filthy..but que sera sera). And a New Zealand place is offering some yummy meat pies at Parc and Mount Royal. Oh and lastly, the great neighbourhood Greek called (???? the one with the vine-covered terrace) on Parc just north of Mount Royal is always good.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: SpellMan

                                                                                                                                      You mean Philinos.

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Philinos Restaurant Bar
                                                                                                                                      4806 Av Du Parc, Montreal, QC H2V4E6, CA

                                                                                                                                      1. re: SpellMan

                                                                                                                                        And it's not a "hole-in-the-wall", at least by any definition I'm familiar with (probably one of the pricier Greek spots in town, actually).

                                                                                                                                        Btw, the "New Zealand place" is Tourtiere Australienne:
                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/695871

                                                                                                                                      2. how about vegetarian (well, maybe some fish)?

                                                                                                                                        merci

                                                                                                                                        1. I personally think that Saigon Palace on Papineau near sauve seriously got some great pho. Great broth and great cha gio. my favourite cheap eat in the neighboorhood.

                                                                                                                                          1. Rexs in Verdun...great breakfast, subs taste fresh, great michigans...what can I say!!

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: verdunbutcher

                                                                                                                                              I totally agree! It is the definitive greasy spoon in my opinion and those cheap breakfasts are hard to beat, especially after a big night!

                                                                                                                                            2. Well, I hate to even mention it (because the more popular it is the longer it takes to get a table), but Chez Josée on Duluth has amazing, cheap brunch, smoothie and AMAZING sandwich (especially veggie pate or chicken) for like $8 last time I checked.

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: Little Edie

                                                                                                                                                The seafood soup at Chez José, which I believe is served only on Fridays and Saturdays, is fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Little Edie

                                                                                                                                                  This is my favourite b'fast joint ... the smoothies are delicious and generously sized and the chocolate-citron crepe (only available in summer) is *so* good.

                                                                                                                                                2. No one has mentioned Patati Patata (mini burgers and poutine)? Or how about La Chilenta for empanadas? Also love the $2.50 banh mi in Chinatown, somewhere on St. Laurent south of Maisonneuve; never quite got the name, but the counter also sells this really yummy sticky rice dessert thingy too.

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                                                                                                                                                  Patati Patata
                                                                                                                                                  4177 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC , CA

                                                                                                                                                  1. I usually go to Chien-Chaud Victoire (on Beaver Hall corner De La Gauchetière) for the very best Hot Dogs in town (with a good old fashioned bottled Spruce Beer ;) ).

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                                                                                                                                                    Beaver Hall
                                                                                                                                                    1073, Cote du Beaver Hall, Montreal, QC H2Z 1S5, CA

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                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Har_Gow_Freak

                                                                                                                                                      They have re-located to just the other side(on De La Gauchetiere corner Beaver Hall).. Suppose to be re-opening later this month.

                                                                                                                                                    2. the Pho place on Cote des Neiges, on the corner just opposite the Jewish General Hospital! It's a hole in the wall in that it's really tiny... but it's VERY popular! We are always willing to wait in the 20-person lineup that spills out the door and down the steps... We love love love their spicy soup (Thu-Sun only). That;s really the only reason we go there: it's so fresh! Weve tried the spicy pho at a few other places closer to downtown, just to compare, and FEH... the one on Cote de Neiges is the only place that makes "real thing."

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lizlefebvre

                                                                                                                                                          Poissonerie Rayan on Cote des Neiges has the best seafood I have eaten in the city. They can deep fry, bbq or sautee tons of fresh fish and different seafood and the employees are very nice and recommend the best cooking techniques for what you order.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I posted this over 3 years ago - LOVE that it
                                                                                                                                                          - must be all of the wonderful Montrea (sic) restaurants!

                                                                                                                                                          1. Brit and Chips! Thats all I have I have to say! Absolutely best fish in chips in MTL! The most delicious meal especially for that price!

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                                                                                                                                                            1. re: restoprestige

                                                                                                                                                              the tamales at Sabor Latino on Belanger

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: restoprestige

                                                                                                                                                                From Brit & Chips, what fried fish you liked the best?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BLM

                                                                                                                                                                  I have taken the fish of the week and liked that (sole, etc) but last time it was a fish from australia and it didnt appeal to me. I also liked the salmon even though it seemed odd to have a batter around it. Frankly I have gone 3 or 4 times and agree the prices are good but find battered fish too heavy for my taste, I was hoping they would add one or two grilled fish to their menu. I liked most of the fish i had but enjoyed the lemon batter which i think was the weekly special.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wilmagrace

                                                                                                                                                                    went there twice. first time excellent with the maple syrup batter second time got orange crush batter and it truly sucked. wouldnt go back. i think i only liked it first time cuz i was starving and the shock value was so great. but batter way too heavy it was like eating donuts with fish in it. fries kinda greasy too

                                                                                                                                                              2. le reservoir outstanding beers and really great brunch on duluth and st laurent