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Sep 15, 2008 12:28 PM

Mexican in Montreal?

Looking for a good Mexican restaurant in Downtown Montreal. Staying on rue de Bluery next sat and looking for a good place in walking distance?

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  1. Sorry, but there's no such thing. If you want decent Mexican food you'll have to stray outside of the downtown area.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SnackHappy

      In Outremont on Van horne street there's a very good mexican restaurant call La Hacienda. Used to go there alot before moving outside Montreal. Your topic just made me want to go there again.

      It's not your typicall mexican style resto. It has a cuisine that is from a certain region but I forgot if it's the south or the north.

      1. re: maj54us

        How could I forget La Hacienda. It's really good. They have a great app of chorizo con queso fundido that is to die for.

    2. If you don't mind a bit of a walk, you could hike up St-Laurent to the newish Los Clasicos (or take the 55 or 80 bus north):

      3 Replies
      1. re: kpzoo

        Had a chance to eat at Los Classicos - awesome so far! I was very lucky and was able to order the chiles en nogado special, poblano peppers stuffed with apples, vegetables and probably pork, lightly battered and deep-fried and served with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. This special was in honour of Mexican Independence Day, so I hate to say, you won't be able to order it again until next year. I have been craving chiles en nogado for a while, and if you've ever made stuffed poblano dishes before, you will
        understand my elation to be able to buy them instead of make them!

        The chiles en nogado were a true luxury. The poblano was expertly roasted and battered. The filling was light and flavourful. I really enjoyed the chunks of apple amongst the vegetables, the apples added a nice sweet flavour to the filling. The walnut sauce was subtle yet complex, and very unique. The accompanying rice was very tasty, and more importantly, did not taste like it had been warmed and rewarmed a dozen times before serving, which has always been my beef about many a side rice dish in Mexican restaurants here in Montreal. I like it when a resto cares about the quality of the sides. I finished every piece of rice on my plate. The whole dish was so beautifully balanced and classy, subdued but still full of warmth and umami. Mexican cooking in Canada is often an extreme caricature of the cuisine, accompanied by oversized fruity Margueritas and loud mariachi bands. But the chiles en nogado at Los Classicos reminds me that Mexican cuisine can be so much more than Chi-Chi's and Les Trois Amigos.

        Hubbie had the chicken mole, and the mole is excellent. Deep rich smoky flavour, again very subtle yet complex. So far, it is my favorite mole in the city. This is not a punch you in the face kind of mole, it is refined and layered in spices. I also love the crema they put on top of the dish, looks like the real McCoy.

        Watermelon agua fresca was very nice, but I wish it was more watermelon flavoured. Still, it was refreshing. They serve tortillas from the nearby Tortilleria Maya, always a fine touch, and their homemade salsas were very good, although the tomatillo one was a touch salty.

        This is Mexican food I can eat on a weekly basis. Light, flavourful, complex, respecting Mexican tradition and not bowing to some Tex-Mex college crowd idea of what Mexican food should be. I'm excited, and will continue to explore the menu there.

        1. re: moh

          They have chiles en nogado on the menu at La Guadeloupe Mexicaine but the one time I tried to order it, it wasn't available. Has anyone else had the opportunity to try it there?

          Thanks for your report, Moh. Definitely one to check out!

          1. re: moh

            We went to Los Clasicos twice since they were opened, but only had a chance to eat once. First time was on a weekend evening where we showed up with no reservations. They said they could seat us if we wait, but after surveying the room where there was no food on any of the tables and seeing a party of maybe 18 people on a single table, all waiting for their meals (birthday celebration was it, I think), we decided that it is perhaps a tough night for the kitchen and agreed to try them another night. Went a few blocks down and slurped some Ramen-ya instead (still good as ever, and they now serve the tonkatsu on the side so that the breading doesn't get soggy)

            Tonight we dropped by again, assuming that the place would be empty on a weeknight. Nope, they were still busy. Good, because they deserve it. However, they seem to be overwhelmed with the demand and perhaps are a little under-staffed, so service is slow. Take a book, or better yet, your most talkative friend with you. But go, it is worth it.

            We were first served some chips and salsa. Salsa seems to be made in the house. I find the red a little bit too acidic for my taste, but this was indeed a matter of personal taste (the dining companion kept going for it all night). I preferred the verde despite the fact that it was a little bit salty (no prob man, i am a salt ho!). Then we ordered and waited for our meals, while going through two baskets of chips.

            I started with the sopa azteca which was a little bit on the saltier side again. I think most of the food we ate was a little salty for people who prefer less salt (not me, but warning to the high blood pressure peeps!). The soup is a generous bowl of tomato-chicken broth with lots of tortilla strips in it. It is garnished with a quarter of avocado, crema and guess what? Pork rinds! It is odd to go through the rinds while they transform from crunchy to chewy and then finally get soggy. It is noted on the menu that one could order this dish vegetarian-ized by taking out the rinds. One wonders whether this means they also take out the chicken from the broth?

            We also ordered mole enchiladas and tacos el pastor. Both were well made. The tacos had flavors that were clean and fresh, and came with a generous amount of fillings. The pork was not particularly bursting with flavor, but still was well made and comforting and a little bit of lime juice and some salsa made things much better.

            Mole was da hit (you know what i mean, kids are reading this). It is such an odd dish though, almost too dense, so I think it could get overwhelming after a while, especially considering that it was a generous portion. I wish it came with rice, beans, something to balance off the flavors but I don't think this is traditional with enchiladas (note to self: you can always order extra sides). Still the partner finished it and made sure that I don't get more than a bite or two. Their mole is incredibly deep but not too sweet. It is layered with spices, but is not "hot". I will perhaps try ordering it on the chicken next time, with some sides. Eating Mexican food without rice was a little odd.

            Although the place is very sparsely decorated, the atmosphere is very convivial. There is a great neighborhood feeling going on, and the servers are extremely friendly and seem to care. Overall, I am very happy with this addition. I think they might need to think about how they can minimize waiting times, but even if they don't, the food is worth it.

            Oh, they will start serving alcohol in two weeks. And a website with menu will be going up soon.

        2. There is a restaurant called Manana (or something like it) on St-Denis street. It is located north of Sherbrooke on the east side of the street. It is just past l'ITHQ. It is good and not too expensive.

          A little bit further north on St-Denis (just south of Mont-royal) is Cactus. I haven't eaten there in many years, but the food was good when I ate there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cricri7

            Last time I went, Manana was good, but not great.

          2. There's Casa de Meteo in Old Montreal but it's fairly americanized and very expensive for what you get. Food is all right, nothing more.

            1. This is a good opportunity to promote a little Mexican place tucked away in Pointe St Charles (Island and Richardson) called Mesa Latina. I had their empanadas for lunch the other day and they were among the best I've had in Montreal. They do have a menu du jour at lunch, which I have yet to try. It's a cute, friendly place and a good option in the culinary deficient Point. (I'm not sure if the food is wholly Mexican but they did have flags indicating Mexican nationality).

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodinspace

                Has anyone tried "Épicerie Mestiza" at St-Zotique & de la Roche? They're a new Mexican grocery store, and serve what looked like a really nice little Sunday brunch on their outside patio when I stopped by a couple weeks ago.


                1. re: julius_ii

                  Yes, I tried the brunch recently. Good food and a reasonable deal. I believe we had two or three generations of the family serving us. Very friendly.

                  They're offering a limited menu while they await restaurant permits, but can sell a few items for now. The owner has a line of homemade spices, jellies and other products that seem aimed at a more gourmet clientele than is typical for the neighbourhood.