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Oct 25, 2007 09:47 AM

Hidden gems around Guy/Concordia

I work in that neighborhood and am (believe or not) is getting a little bit bored with some of the usual suspects like Boustan and Bangkok. Does anyone have other lunch favorites, holes in the walls, and raunchy looking but tasty spots for lunch? I am open to any couisine, and I can walk perhaps up to one metro station each ways (Peel to Atwater). Thanks a lot!

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  1. I spend most of my time around there too and these are my typical choices:

    Avesta for Turkish food on Ste-Catherine West.
    Sushi Kanto in the Faubourg.
    Cocktail Hawaii on Maisonneuve.
    Manna for Korean on Bishop.
    McKibbins for a big fat burger.
    Bistro Nicolosi on Crescent Street for salads (though it's not cheap!)
    Bardecco on Lincoln for pizza and subs.
    Chop Crazy for salads (under Simons)
    Aqualunch for Fish (also under Simons)
    Basha for Lebanese (also under Simons)

    21 Replies
    1. re: mainsqueeze

      Oh, and I think Saffron on Ste. Catherine (corner St. Mathieu) is pretty good for Iranian, but the service is abysmal.

      1. re: mainsqueeze

        the new korean place in the faubourg is very good

        1. re: celfie

          Actually, I found Kim-Chi quite bland and not that authentic. It's watered down Korean food on par with all the other chains run by MTY Group.

          1. re: celfie

            I prefer Manna or Maison Bulgogi for Korean.

            1. re: mainsqueeze

              My vote is for Maison Bulgogi. Even my Korean mother approves of the place, and she is very picky about her Korean food. Great bulgogi, great pa jon (Seafood pancake/crepe/pizza with green onions), great soups. And the kimchi is good there, better than other places I have tried in Montreal. Good kimchi is key!

          2. re: mainsqueeze

            I had dinner at Saffron once, but my impression was that the quality/price ratio was too low. But the point is, I think it's been closed for awhile now...

          3. re: mainsqueeze

            Anything else can you add about Bistro Nicolosi?

            1. re: Fritzy

              They have these lunch specials - I think you can have a sandwich, salad, and dessert combo for something like $12.50. I've ordered the salad lunch combination meal ($11.50 or so, includes a dessert) a couple of times. They usually have a selection of about five salads and you can pick three. I've been pretty pleased with them for the most part. They also sell pastries that are made on the premises and cookies by weight. Their coffee is decent. The only thing I have disliked there are the macarons, which were stale.

              It's right near the Musée des Beaux Arts, and I think they get a lot of their clientele from that. It's the type of place my grandma would probably love to go to post-museum visit.

              p.s. there's no table service - you order at the counter.

            2. re: mainsqueeze

              There's Pret a Manger that just reopened on Ste Catherine for Chinese, and that great little hole-in-the-wall dumpling place whose name I can never remember just above de Maisonneuve on St. Marc. MB for sandwiches on (I think) Stanley, and Vasco da Gama on Peel. Java U as well. Mister Steer on Ste Catherine. The food place in Ogilvy's basement. Cafe Holt. Not all necessarily holes in the wall, but definite lunch alternatives....

              1. re: cherylmtl

                Can you suggest some dishes from Pret a Manger? I recently got a pork dish (from the red menu), but I wasn't impressed. I don't know much about Chinese food, and since everybody raves about the place I want to give them another chance assuming that I mis-ordered.

                1. re: emerilcantcook

                  Try the spicy japanese tofu rounds with ground pork bits and diced peppers and onions - it's on the red menu though I forget the name
                  Plus the steamed japanese tofu rounds with mushrooms (same menu)
                  Any of the hotpots
                  Which pork did you have? If you like sweet-ish things, there's a pork chop dish with sweet-and-sour like sauce with onions (though not the gloopy sticky red stuff used in sweet and sour chicken balls and the like) in the regular menu (forget the name, too, sorry for not being more helpful)
                  Beef with black bean over flat broad rice noodles
                  Hu ysiang eggplant
                  If you like spicy, ask for extra spicy because otherwise it'll be pretty mild

                  1. re: chilipepper

                    Thank you for the suggestions. I don't remember the name of the pork dish. I didn't completely dislike it, but as you can see it wasn't very memorable ":)

                    1. re: chilipepper

                      I tried the steamed japanese tofu with eggplant and pork, and it was tasty and very soothing.

                    1. re: MickFlanagen

                      Just throwing in my two cents... I definitely recommend McKibbins. Any pub that lets you choose how you like your burger because they grind the meat on the premises is OK with me.

                      1. re: afoodyear

                        I don't know who told you that Mckibbins ground their meat on site but you were misinformed. In fact the food practices there are abysmal. I was working there serving after working as a chef for my last job, and honestly I wouldn't even eat there with the free meals. Also the practice of serving rare hamburgers is not a legal practice in Quebec, Their fish and chips and chicken strips taste like leather because they are all pre-fried at the beginning of the week in a giant batch then fried again to order. Disgusting. Over priced beer. Don't go.

                        1. re: afoodfriend

                          Interesting. Less than well done burgers are fairly common for an illegal practice :o Always good to have a scoop from someone working in the kitchen.

                          Their beer prices are more or less in line with anyone else's IMO though.

                    2. re: mainsqueeze

                      I finally got to Cocktail Hawaii this weekend - so a very belated thanks for the recco. Walking in, I was a bit overwhelmed at the visual "menu wall" - a huge panel with dozens of squares, each with a picture of a dish. We told the fellow at the cash that it was our first time there, and he enthusiastically (and very helpfully) pointed out where the "breakfast combo" section was on the wall, then the sweet crepes, the savoury crepes, the waffles, and the fruit cocktails.

                      I had the "Rosa" crepe with fresh strawberries & achta cream, drizzled with strawberry coulis. Delicious. Not too rich and just the right amount. I also had a "lemonade" with it - which turned out to be something like a fresh-lemon slush, flavoured with a bit of orange-blossom water if I'm not mistaken. I watched it being made-to-order with fresh lemons. It was nice, but the taste was a bit odd - probably due to the orange-blossom water, which I like but am not used to in a drink. I think I'll try the strawberry "juice/slush" next time. My hubby had the "Costa Rica" breakfast combo platter - scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, sausages, a small crepe, strawberries & mango, and a coffee. A bit of everything - and he was a happy camper.

                      Great value, friendly service, and I'll go back for sure. I definitely want to try one of those incredible-looking fruit cocktails next time... looks like a meal in itself!

                      1. re: kpzoo

                        Those cocktails are really filling. I forget what it's called, but I like the one with strawberries, mango, avocado juice, and this pink concoction they call "fruit punch". It's topped with achta, honey, and nuts.

                    3. There's also that strange café/hair salon place on crescent, north of Maisonneuve. It's called Benelo. They have pretty good lunches. The quiches are alright. I think the guy makes all the desserts, too. My only complaint about that place is that the coffee they served me tasted like burnt. I'd give them another shot, though.

                      1. More suggestions - Nocochi, which is right near Concordia, and Premiere Moisson on Sherbrooke near Guy.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: cherylmtl

                          I love love love the cookies at Nocochi but I find the food pretty blah.

                          1. re: mainsqueeze

                            I find their salads pretty decent. But the cookies alone are reason enough to go there...

                            1. re: cherylmtl

                              Yes, I am a big fan of their cookies as well. It is my 4:00 carb rush on those days I have to work until late. Kind of a self-bribe.

                            2. re: mainsqueeze

                              Yeah, the food at Nocochi is pretty meh and the servers are a bit clueless.

                              Those cookies are awesome, though.

                          2. I love Santangelo's roast veal and porcetta sandwiches.
                            The bistro at the Musee des Beaux Arts is also very nice, though somewhat pricey for an everyday lunch.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: eoj

                              Yes, Santangelo's is very good; but I wish they could do something with their bread. Then I could eat there every other day.

                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                I understand how you feel. It feels like their ciabatta bread is something that came out of my mom's bread machine. Not horrible but not very authentic.

                                Anna's groceries on de Maisonneuve near Fort, under an apt. tower has some pretty decent value baguette sandwich, however it is sometimes a little inconsistent. I haven't been there during the whole summer though. Their baguettes are around 10~11inch long, the other ingredients which are not coldcuts are tomato, cucumber, some white sauce probably mayo and what seems to be swiss cheese. Doesn't have that tangy flavour you would get at santangelo, but the simplicity is quite enjoyable (when the bread isn't a little bland), and it is a little cheaper. They also have caviar and russian pastries. On the sign outside, it says they also have crepes, soups, hotdogs, fries and poutine. I'm not sure if they still have all those items because the first time I entered the place last winter, I was looking for poutine, but the guy said they don't make poutine anymore.

                                1. re: emerilcantcook

                                  I agree about the bread at Santangelo. I prefer the "kaiser roll" (not a real kaiser) than the "ciabatta" (not real ciabatta AFAIC).

                                  By the way, Santangelo is moving as of September. They're going to be on Lincoln just west of Guy. I don't remember their new address but the guy told me there's a black awning.

                              2. I would recommend Damao for their sushi; service is slow for their "hot dishes", but I went once recently and I think they're improving in that area.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Vincci

                                  Really? I thought the sushi was preeeeetttty mediocre. Kanto is five times better, easy. The only problem with Kanto is that the man who makes the sushi takes forever.

                                  1. re: mainsqueeze

                                    i agree. their sushi is pretty mediocre and expensive at Damao - their other dishes though always look so nice.

                                    has anyone been to that new japanese place tucked away beside the creepy 24h internet cafe on st catherine between st marc and st mathew. it looks really good - perhaps ill go this weekend.

                                    1. re: celfie

                                      Ack! Sorry for suggesting a dud, I haven't been to many sushi places in Montreal, and being from western Canada (No other Canadian city can touch Vancouver sushi, I think), I've really lowered my standards when it comes to Montreal sushi.

                                      I live in the area so I'll definitely look into trying both Kanto and "the place beside the creepy place". Thanks!

                                    2. re: mainsqueeze

                                      I walked by Kanto the other day and while I didn't order anything, the menu looked like it was just rolls and salmon nigiri. Am I missing something here?

                                      1. re: Vincci

                                        It is a very limitted menu. He doesn't use that many ingredients. But what he does make is quite delicious. You might want to ask him if you're looking for something in particular that you don't see on the menu board.

                                        1. re: mainsqueeze

                                          Plus at Kanto Sushi it's all made fresh to order, the prices are really decent and they give you a nice little salad with each order.
                                          It's great - I go there pretty much once a week! Highly recommended and worth the wait!

                                          1. re: mainsqueeze

                                            I discovered he has a paper menu with more options under the counter. You just have to ask to see it. I'm not sure why he hides it!

                                            1. re: mainsqueeze

                                              I guess i should mention that they now have a new improved paper menu (this one is laminated) and sometimes they ask you if you want to see it. Maybe they were ashamed of the old one because it was all wrinkly.