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La Carreta

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La Carreta (350 St. Zotique)

If you are in the mood for some seriously sumptuous El Salvadorian cuisine, then you have to check out this popular local haunt.

La Carreta is loved for their papusas, which are packed to the brim with deliciousness. While there are lots of other items on the menu (the shrimp and seafood appetizer is fantastic!), the papusas make this place a true delight.

For dessert, try the fried plantains with sour cream -- heavenly!

The service at La Carreta is friendly and attentive; the decor is warm and comfortable; and the horchata is something that everyone must try at least once (spiced cold milk drink). If you want some comfort food that just feels great, head to this little slice of papusa heaven.

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  1. Have you been to El Amigo (51 Rue Saint-Zotique E. near St-Dominique)? How does La Carreta compare as they sound very similar! Thx.

    12 Replies
    1. re: kpzoo

      I have been to El Amigo, and I prefer La Carreta. El Amigo is great too, but I think the papusas at La Carreta are better.

      Also, El Amigo tends to come with a loud television blaring Spanish-language soaps.

      For my money, La Carreta is the better option.

      1. re: fraisefatale

        Cool, thanks! I definitely have to try La Carreta. Yeah, that blaring TV is a distraction!

      2. re: kpzoo

        La Carreta is a fine restaurant, but I find it a bit expensive compared to the other Salvadoran places in the neighbourhood. I tend to favour Los Planes on Bélanger for pupusas. They certainly have the best curtido i've had in this town. La Carreta has a nicer decor since the post-fire renovations, but that is also reflected in your bill.

        1. re: kpzoo

          Menu slightly different - El Amigo also has Salvadorean adaptations of sort-of Spanish dishes. La Carreta is prettier, El Amigo has a more Salvadorean clientele, yes, the blaring TV (annoying) and is also a BYOB.

          But I have another restaurant close by to suggest, "Zitto e Mangia", of all things an Italian-Salvadorean restaurant in a lovely corner spot, Clark & St-Zotique, opposite Parc de la Petite Italie. The owners are a couple, him Italian, her Salvadorean. They have lovely delicate pupusas and various other Italian, Salvadorean and generally Latino dishes, such as empanadas. Good, not expensive and pretty. Open in mornings as a café. Also a BYOB.

          It is very new and perhaps will take a little while to get its bearings but three friends enjoyed our light meal there. I had the pupusas, one friend a Salvadorean chicken dish, another a pasta with pancetta.

          Zitto e Mangia 6660 Clark, Montréal QC H2S 3E7 514.544.9397

          1. re: lagatta

            Lagatta, have you, or anyone else on this board for that matter, checked out Gloria Fusion Latine on Bélanger near the Plaza? The menu looks pretty tempting, but the place is almost always empty, when I go by there. I've wanted to try it, but always chickened out and ended up at El Tropical instead.

            1. re: SnackHappy

              No, I haven't. The menu looks lovely - especially some of the daily specials, but it is strange that there is nobody there when there are so many Latino people in that immediate area now. I'll have to make a point of going there when a friend who is a scholar of Latin American studies, who lives 2 minutes from there, gets back from an educational trip to Mexico and Cuba. Snack Happy, have you been to Itacate? It is a very cute tiny Mexican restaurant on Beaubien just east of St-Dominique.

              Julie already started a thread on Itacate: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/560021 As you can see, she doesn't like El Amigo so much! Since then, I've eaten the chicken mole there and a couple of other things, and have been pleased (nothing terribly innovative, but good, well presented, and as people said on the Itacate thread, very welcoming and friendly owners. http://www.itacate.ca/

              1. re: lagatta

                I stiil haven't made it out to Itacate, but it's on my short list along with the new Mexican place across from Hot-Dog Élégant, the Guatemalan place on St-Zotique, Cafe Cubano, the Creole place where CasaNova used to be...

                1. re: SnackHappy

                  The Creole place looks intriguing. CasaNova was a definite step downwards from what had been a friendly and pleasant family-run Argentine resto, Tanguito.

                  Tanguito was always full. The couple running it were rather elderly, perhaps they were tired and got a buyout, who knows. Lots of us miss it.

                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    That place I thought was across from Hot-Dog Élégant is actually one block west and is called Taco-Miendo. We unfortunately gave it a try, tonight. We will not be going back. It's not that the food is vile or anything. Well, the frijoles looked really gross and we didn't dare taste them. It's just that everything we had seemed to have been made by someone who either didn't have a clue or didn't really give a crap.

                    1. re: SnackHappy

                      Thanks for warning me - one never knows with such little holes in walls. That place was a Vietnamese hole in wall before (making normal greasy-spoon fare as well as a couple of vaguely Vietnamese or Chinese dishes).

                      Do eat at Itacate, though - it is very nice and such a cute, friendly place - and please check out "Zitto e mangia" - I don't think the latter has quite got its bearings yet, but it is promising as an unpretentious, not-overpriced little resto in that area, and I like the Salvadorean-Italian family-style twist.

                2. re: SnackHappy

                  SnackHappy, I'm looking at a Spanish-language shopping paper, and Gloria fusion latine has an "especial de tacos - 99 cents cada uno - Tacos vegetarianos, tacos de frijol, tacos et pollo y muchos mas".

                  1. re: lagatta

                    Mmmmmm... 99 cent tacos de muchos mas. Now, I definitely have to go.