REAL CHINESE RESTAURANTS IN MONTREAL?
Are there any real Chinese restaurants in Montreal? By that I mean places which don't only serve western Chinese food and serve a large Chinese clientele?
The Chinese food in Montreal is definitely not comparable to Toronto or Vancouver, however there are a lot of decent "non-western" Chinese restaurants:
- in chinatown: Keung Kee, Beijing, and also New Dynasty, Kam Fung for instance
- ville st-laurent: Fu Kam Wah and President
as well as a couple of options in the South shore
Niu Kee, on Clark *above* René Lesveques (hidden in the shadow of the HydroQuebec building. It is really good. I can't remember what cuisine it is exactly, but I seem to remember northern: very spicy/garlic-y. It's small so expect to wait at the usual times, and try not to go alone.
My Chinatown favorites are Mon Shing and Beijing. Like all establishments it can be hit or miss on some days.
Mon Shing tends to offer a better value and Beijing's Salt & Pepper Squid is probably the best I've sampled (beating out anything I've tried in Toronto or New York).
Granted, these are mainly Cantonese-style restaurants so if you're looking for Szechuan or other, you'd best check out other reviews.
P.S. On some days you might catch local celeb Mitsumi Takahashi of CTV lunching at Beijing....
Thanks for all your replies.
Here's the result of my own research:
Great authentic dim sum: Rouge Ruby, mostly Chinese clientele.
Real Chinese, great Jook (congee), excellent chicken: Hong Kong.
Stay away from Kam Fung. Never got to taste the food, the staff was
so nasty that we walked out. (My wife speaks fluent Mandarin)
re: Larry Racies
ugh, went to Ruby Rouge on a recent trip to MTL and the staff (not the ladies with carts) kept accusing us of *losing* the order sheet when they never gave us one, then they took it away halfway through the meal and again accused us of losing it! I was beginning to lose it with them! service was poor but somewhat understandable as it was a very busy time on a sunday, though the waiter had no qualms about hanging around as I was determining his tip..letting me know that he won't charge us for the napkins and hot sauce! is that a new thing in Montreal dim sum restos, to charge for hot sauce??
on a somewhat separate note, does anyone know if VIP is still good, and MonNan? I remember eating at those places a very long time ago when I lived there but have not had many ops to have non-dim sum in Montreal in recent trips.
re: CookEatSleep, I didn't think so when I first moved to TO but we do actually have better Chinese food than MTL (I met a Chinese guy from SanFran on a recent trip to Vegas who told me he used to drive up to TO for Chinese food when he lived in Chicago! OK that was long and confusing but you get my drift!). one thing I think MTL Chinese places do make better though is the treasure bean curd soup. I've yet to find a place that makes it well in TO. :(
Just arrived in MTL today on vakay, and went to Chinatown, looking for authentic (i.e. non "cantonese" westernized, sanitized, modified, etc.) Chinese food. After studying several menus and talking woth some people, we went to one that is just outside Chinatown (Crossing Rene Levesque) - the restaurant is on a corner (sorry I did not take very good notes since we are not totally familiar with the area). However in chinese, it means little cow in the corner - or something like that. The entrance is a red door and you have to go upstairs. As far as authentic - it is Szechuan authentic. So be prepared to cry and sweat if you are not used to this particular cuisine. But PLEASE don't ask them to modify the food to your taste - some others who appreciate the authenticity of these dishes will thank you!
Do try the "beef boiled in water" or "fish boiled in water" which has a handful of dried red peppers floating in the dish.
Highly recommended for authenticity.
Based on location and logo (the business card features a stylized, toque-wearing cow's head in the upper left corner), it sounds very much like Niu Kee. Used to be outstanding though reports have been mixed since it changed hands a year or so ago. Downtown's Tapioca Thé has replaced it in the affections of several former fans. For discussion on each, click the Search This Board link at the top of the page and plug the restaurant's name (between quotes) in the search box.
If you get a chance, try Nui Kee again. Yes, the place went severely downhill after the new owners took over. However, I believe you will find that they have greatly improved.
Actually, I would have to say, in some cases the food is even better in the way it is not as oily as some of the original dishes used to be, and the taste is spot on.
Some of the more popular items on the menu such as the eggplant, the Kung Pao Chicken, and the Cumin Beef are as good as it gets.
I would say that compared with meals at Tapioca The, Nui Kee is now slightly ahead (as my preference). If I were to eat at either, I would have to say that my decision would probably be based on geography.
A friend and I dropped by Niu Kee for early dinner yesterday, my first visit since the change in ownership. The walls are nearly bare, stripped of Beijing Opera pics and posters, making the near-windowless interior seem stark. Service was prompt and friendly. The winner among the three dishes we ordered was the crispy fish in spicy sauce: breaded fish nuggets with vegetables in a somewhat spicy, somewhat sweet and sour sauce -- complex and not at all cloying, at least when piping hot. The most remarkable thing about the kung pao chicken was the meat (succulent, silky-tender, subtly imbued with the flavour of the marinade); spicing, especially the Szechuan peppercorns, could have been significantly more intense, and green onions were mostly AWOL. The flavours of the stir-fried eggplant with red and green bell peppers were savoury and deep, though the dish was a little, um, breathless in the wok hay department; most obvious here, but also evident in the other two dishes, was a welcome lack of oiliness. The steamed rice was passable, the tea in no way memorable. With one Tsingtao, the bill was $40, including taxes but before tip, for the two of us.
So, far from the disaster I'd been fearing. Indeed, on the basis of this single experience, I'd rank Niu Kee as one of Chinatown's better restaurants these days. That said, despite our stressing to the server that we liked the food spicy, the fire level was code yellow-orange in the chicken dish and blue-green in the other two dishes -- leagues away from the endorphin rush-inducing levels encountered at Tapioca Thé or the old Niu Kee. Unlike others, it would seem, my luck at Tapioca has been consistently good, the food often exhilarating, the experience addictive. I often find myself longing for a taste of their cumin beef or chile chicken. Though I'll gladly return to Niu Kee when in the area, I don't expect to be jonesing for its food in the coming weeks.