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Kosher restaurants and food in Montreal

Summer is around the corner and that means lots of Kosher tourists will flock our city. I saw that someone did this last year and I disagreed with most of his recommendations for good Kosher food and restaurants in Montreal. So here's my two cents:

For elegant, fine dining places:

Mortys Steakhouse, 5395 Queen Mary, Montreal 514-481-2000
This is really Montreal's best Kosher restaurant. They openned last year and its owned by the people at El Morocco. They serve top quality beef, dry aged, the works. They also have a great fish menu. This is an authentic steakhouse, the decor is very New York and the food is awesome. It's perfect for birthdays, dates, business meetings and just if you want to spoil yourself. The service is fantastic, its very warm and hospitable. They had a rocky start, but 1 year later, the food is incredible and everything is perfect from start to finish. They hired a chef who worked in a very big Steakhouse institution in Montreal (Moishe's) and they do a great job.

El Morocco, 3450 Drummond, Montreal 514-844-6888
Montreal's oldest Kosher restaurant, openned in the late 70s and still open today. Something unique for Montreal. The food is authentic morrocan, although they have some items that are not moroccan. They also own Mortys, so they serve some of their steaks. It's Montreal's only Kosher restaurant downtown, so its great for tourists who are staying in hotels around it. They also cater for Shabbat and can have it sent to your hotel. The food is incredible and the decor is really nice. It was a little downhill a few years ago, but they went through a nice facelift a couple years ago and are back on top. Probably my 2nd most favorite place after Mortys. The service is also very nice.

Ernie and Ellies, 6900 Decarie, Montreal 514-344-4444
I put this restaurant in the elegant section. It's not really elegant, but I didn't create a 'do not visit' section, so i decided to put it here. This used to be a great kosher restaurant! For the last few years, it really went downhill. The food is gross, the service is outright rude and the management doesn't care. They make all their money in takeout and catering so the restaurant only exist to get rid of the food they couldn't sell at their catering or takeout. So I'm writing this in hopes that someone from Ernie and Ellies reads this and makes some changes!

Exodus: Closed, but was replace with Mortys, see above.

Family friendly place, moderately priced:

Rahamim Glatts, Cote st Luc Road, near TCBY
They just openned this place and only went there once. My theory is that they figure that since Exodus closed, they wanted that clientele. I'm not sure if they've succeeded, but its not a bad restaurant, its not great either. The food is decent. They have italian, french and moroccan. I think with the right effort, they can become much better. I'll review it again later.

Yakimono Sushi, 4210 Decarie, Montreal 514-484-1515
Probably the best Sushi in Montreal. They have lots of choices and the prices are very fair. It's not a big place, so you need to reserve if you're going to be more than 4 people. They also do takeout. If you want great sushi, this is the place. Beware, they don't much besides Sushi.

Pizza Pita, 6415 Decarie, Montreal 514-731-7482
The name says it all. Good Pizza. It's like a Kosher equivalent of Domino's. Good Pizza, good prices, family friendly. Don't expect stone oven thin crust pizza here! But for what it does, its great.

Exception 5039 Queen Mary, Montreal 514-344-0508
A really nice restaurant, too bad its only Dairy. They have some great sandwiches, omelettes and pasta. The decor is gorgeous and really well tought out. They also have incredible pastries and cakes. Definitely one of Montreal's best Kosher restaurants in this category.

Fast food, counter places:

Chez Benny, 5071 Queen Mary, Montreal 514-735-1836 (also another one in SaintLaurent)
Not what it used to be, but still pretty good. The food is tasty, the quantity is good and the quality is decent. They could be a little more polite, but i guess it comes with the territory. The place to go for a Shawarma, Fallafel or some grilled stuff.

Prime Grill, 5334 Queen Mary, Montreal 514-656-9900
I used to love this place, now I just like it. The food is Israeli. They have the best Fallafel in the city. Their Shawarma is good. Their service is friendly, which is unique in this type of Kosher restaurant. It's a small place, but its very well located on Queen Mary.

There are other Kosher restaurants in the city, but they're either not worthy of mention or totally out of the way. For a complete listing of Kosher restaurants in Montreal approved by the MK (Vaad Hair of Montreal), go to:

http://www.mk.ca/restaurants.html

 
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  1. yakimono the best sushi in montreal? a bit of a stretch

    2 Replies
    1. re: berbatov

      I think the OP meant best kosher sushi, not the best ever.

      1. re: berbatov

        I said "probably".... but definitely good considering the limitations of Kosher cuisine, i.e. No real seafood! I heard some new owners just took over the place, so let's wait and see if they do a better or worst job than current management.

      2. El Morocco is kosher? Are the owners Jewish? Because it occurs to me that halal and kosher rules are, except for shellfish, virtually identical and therefore any Muslim-owned restaurant can be roughly considered kosher.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Shattered

          Yes, El Morocco's owners are of Jewish Moroccan origin. There are many Maghrebi Jews in Montréal, as well as in France and in Israel.

          Halal and kosher rules are indeed very similar but people who strictly observe one of those dietary laws might not want to eat foods prepared under the other. One of the main differences for couscous and co. would be that Muslim Maghrebis might put butter in couscous (served with meat). (I'm not of Jewish or Muslim origin but have worked in settings where we had to accomodate various dietary requirements).

          1. re: Shattered

            > El Morocco is kosher?

            Yes, according to the city's official kosher guide:

            http://www.mk.ca/restaurants.html

            > any Muslim-owned restaurant can be roughly considered kosher.

            If you wanted to get into that line of discussion, the general Kosher board would be the place for it, not here.

            1. re: kpzoo

              El Morocco is Kosher and owned by Sephardic Jews, Moroccan I think. I think the owner is also the Chef. An no, Hallal and Kosher are very different. Usually, a muslim will eat Kosher, however, an observant Jew cannot eat Hallal. My understanding is that Kosher is a couple of steps beyond Hallal (cannot mix dairy with meat, meat slaughter is a little more complicated with Kosher, etc.)

              1. re: davidfine

                For meat, those who keep Halal will not eat animals with canine teeth, as opposed to the split hooves/cud chewing that Kosher requires. The rules for slaughter are also very different. Kosher fulfills all the requirement for Halal, but not the other way around.

            2. re: Shattered

              El Morrocco is no longer recognized as a Kosher restaurant by MK.

              1. re: MontrealChick

                El Morocco was sold by its Jewish owners earlier this year to non-Jewish owners, who kept the same menu, but it is no longer kosher.

            3. El Morocco, and they make a nice service of the tea at the end (It is my favorite kosher restaurant in Montreal). I loved the food there. Additionally, for tourists staying downtown, if you just want to grab a bite/fast food, there is Yossi's Dizengoff cafe in the hillel house. I agree with the above on Ernie and Ellie's, mediocre.

              1. BS"D

                Too bad that there's nothing in your kosher listing presenting the unique Montreal specialty: Montreal Smoked Meat. Considering that it's been touted on the nonkosher boards as there being nothing else like it, a unique charcuterie experience in the world, one would thing that great examples could be found among Montreal's kosher restaurants. Yet, no word.

                12 Replies
                1. re: ganeden

                  One sad aspect of food in Canada in that pretty much all really good kosher deli has disappeared. You will find kosher smoked meat in Montreal, but it doesn't taste anything like the real thing, and hasn't in decades.

                  1. re: embee

                    For Kosher Montreal Smoked Meat, go to Chez Papa Ernie.

                    They just recently opened, and are pretty good.

                    Here's a link to a recent article about the restaurant: http://www.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/The...

                    The restaurant is at 5839 Decarie Boulevard (corner Bourret) - they have free Valet parking.

                      1. re: zsero

                        That list is for restaurants under the hashgacha of the "MK" a.k.a. the Montreal Va'ad Hair. Chez Papa Ernie is under the hashgacha of the KSR, which is more or less the Sephardi council hashgacha.

                        1. re: JulesNeverBeige

                          Jules, would you have a link for KSR? A friend of mine in Paris, of Moroccan origin, keeps kosher and would definitely like to know this when she visits Montreal.

                      2. re: pjudef

                        I went there tonight, and had a smoked meat sandwich, which was delicious. There were other lovely-sounding things on the menu, so I may find time to schedule a second visit next week.

                        I also visited Kosher Quality, where I picked up a sausage I'd never heard of before called "karnatzel"; I haven't tried it yet.

                        1. re: zsero

                          You should listen to the words of Romania, Romania and will hear about eating Karnatzel(ach) and dring wine.................

                          1. re: zsero

                            If it's a really good one, it will kill vampires.

                            1. re: embee

                              Vampires definitely do NOT keep kosher.

                          2. re: harold.r

                            And if folks don't know each other they just introduce themselves. At least, this happened to me when I was there in August. The people at the table next door introduced themselves and started a conversation, we ended up sharing side dishes, and one of them ended up giving me a lift back to the Metro!

                      3. What is the best (kosher) place to get those famous Montreal bagels people are always talking about?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: serenarobin

                          While there is nothing unkosher about a Fairmont or St Viateur bagel, they are not under any kind of supervision. I'm afraid you're out of luck.

                          1. re: embee

                            A lot of people confuse Jewish or Kosher style restaurants and actualy Kosher certified restaurants. Montreal has great Smoked Meat restaurants, Schartz being one of them, but as Jewish as it is, its not a Kosher restaurant.

                          2. re: serenarobin

                            To get great Montreal bagels that are kosher, there are a number of great bakeries to choose from (in fact, kosher bakeries in Montreal are known citywide for their excellent baked goods).

                            Here is a listing from the MK (Montreal Kosher Vaad Haiir): http://mk.ca/bakeries.html

                            My favorite bagels are at the Homemade Bakery at 6915 QUERBES - 514-270-5567

                            The MOUNT ROYAL BAGEL FACTORY has the most choice in terms of flavors- 709 LUCERNE ROAD
                            514-735-1174

                            1. re: serenarobin

                              There is a fabulous kosher bagel place (with hashgacha) at the corner of Lucerne and Jean-Talon, whose bagels are on par with St-Viateur, if you go early enough and get them piping hot right out of the overn.
                              MOUNT ROYAL BAGEL FACTORY 709 LUCERNE ROAD 514-735-1174

                            2. How close are these restaurants to the downtown area, where we would be staying in a hotel? Would we need a car to get there or is there public transportation access?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: flo220

                                Except for El Morocco, none of these restos is downtown. Many are a few blocks' walk from a metro station, including Snowdon (orange/blue line) and Villa Maria (orange line) stops. So if you're comfortable taking the metro and doing a bit of walking, you don't need a car. If you're not, you'll need a car or could take a taxi. :-) Have a great trip!

                                1. re: kpzoo

                                  You can get a 3-day metro pass for $17 http://www.stm.info/English/info/a-ca...
                                  (I'm in the middle of researching my vacation; I've only been to Montreal once before, and that was just for one day, for a wedding, so I didn't get to see anything or eat anywhere.)

                              2. Prime Grill isn't listed at http://www.mk.ca/restaurants.html or at Shamash. Has it closed?

                                More questions: I'll be staying downtown, at Rene Levesque and St Laurent; am I correct in assuming that the nearest shul is Lubavitch on Peel and Sherbrooke, and that the nearest kosher food is the milchig cafe at Lubavitch, plus El Morocco a few blocks away?

                                1. We ate at El Morocco last night. We very nearly didn't, because when we got there it appeared that it was occupied by some sort of private simcha, and we thought it was closed. The first person we asked outside told us it was closed. But luckily another person corrected him, and told us that there was a second room that was still open as a restaurant. We told our waiter that there really needs to be a sign out front in such a situation, so that people won't just turn around and go away.

                                  Having negotiated that, the rest of the evening was lovely. They were out of lamb, so we ordered harira, cigars, a mixed grill, and a beef tongue tagine, with vegetable couscous and normal salad, and then finished with mint tea. Everything was delicious, especially the tongue. The merguez in the mixed grill was beef rather than lamb, but for some reason it was must moister and more tasty than other ones we've had, which is not what one would expect. The staff were friendly and cooperative, and we never had to wait for anything.

                                  1. I tried Prime Grill yesterday, and had a falafel. Nothing sprang out as super-special, but it was as good as most falafels one would find in NYC or Israel. Some of the other items looked interesting, but I wan't in a mood for meat.

                                    1. Tried Chez Benny last night. The chicken with ginger and mushrooms sounded nice, so I ordered that. Well, it certainly had ginger and mushrooms in it, and the mushrooms were quite tasty, but the chicken was tasteless, the salad it came with was practically tasteless, and the sauce it was in did not give the white rice it came with any sort of taste. The place was packed, so it must be doing something right, but next time I'm there I'll steer clear of the Chinese menu; maybe they do better on the grilled meats. That next time won't be on this trip, however; I haven't got time for repeat performances. Tonight I hope to try Yakimono, and tomorrow I leave.

                                      1. Last Montreal update: Yakimono.

                                        I had trouble finding this place, because Google Maps refuses to show it (and just defaults to a random location on Boul. Decarie) and Mapquest lied to me and told me it was all the way down the hill near Cote St Antoine (though now that appears to have been fixed). So after an unplanned walking tour of that stretch of Decarie, I eventually found it, right across the street from Station Villa Maria, from which I had begun my hike!

                                        I'm not the hugest sushi fan in the world, so I was looking for non-sushi items. On other people's recommendations I had the salmon tartare. It was good, though it didn't seem to warrant quite the raving reviews I had heard about it. I would have it again, but not before trying other things. Then I had the fish and chips, which was very good. Not the best I've ever had, but definitely worth getting, and nicely presented with tubs of tartar sauce for the fish and ketchup for the chips (at least I assume in that order!), and a nice salad in a separate tub.

                                        Definitely worth another visit the next time I'm in Montreal.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: zsero

                                          about Chez Papa Ernie... I finally decided to give this new place a try. It seems that since Mortys Steakhouse opened its doors last year, everyone is trying (unsuccessfully) to duplicate their theme. Well, I must say, I was not impressed by Chez Papa Ernie. The food was just OK, nothing more, but the service, was an absolute disaster! Their staff was bordering on rude and arrogant. The food was not that great, it wasn't bad either, but you could get better.

                                          Their steak was very tough, nothing like the amazing steaks at Mortys which are so soft and tender. I guess they don't use prime cuts of beef and don't age their steaks either...

                                          They're trying to be this "family" restaurant, but its really a dump. It's a tiny little place in an old duplex in as sketchy part of the city! Of course they have Valet Parking, I wouldn't DARE park my car in that area.... Anyhow, if you're looking for good value, I recommend Chez Benny. If you're looking for quality and top service, go to Morty's Steakhouse, it's really Montreal's best Kosher restaurant, by far... if it was in NYC, it would be compared to The Prime Grill or Le Marais.

                                        2. We just returned from Montreal where we hosted Sheva Brachot at Ernie and Ellie. The experience was first rate. Although the arrangements were made on short notice, the management was friendly, courteous and forthcoming . On the evening of the event we arrived at the restaurant and found the spacious private party room beautifully arranged with the tables set with special table cloths and festive cloth coverings on the chairs. Throughout the evening the service was very attentive, the food very good, abundant and very fresh. The salads, soup, salmon, chicken, grilled vegetables and desserts were beautifully served. The restaurant went out of their way to cater to our guests and make the evening special.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: erfalk2000

                                            Will be spending a couple of weeks in Montreal and just wanted to see if there is anything new - so far on my list from the above Morty's. El Morrocco, Chez Papa Ernies, and Yakimoro - anything elese -

                                          2. Just went to Montreal. Here's my report:

                                            Cheskie's (in Outremont): pastry. I didn't love it, though it wasn't bad.

                                            Homemade Bakery (Querbes, in industrial block N. of Outremont Hasidic area): WONDERFUL. By far my best experience of the day- HOT bagels.

                                            Mt. Royal bakery (Lucerne near Snowden neighborhood): OK but not worth going out of the way for to the same extent as Homemade. But if you happen to be in the neighborhood you might as well eat there.

                                            Chez Papa Ernie's- mixed bag. Negative: I had smoked beef sandwich, didn't think it was all that wonderful (OK, mind you, just not going out of the way for).

                                            Positive: they fill you up with lots of little bean-salad type things before, and you can order a green salad along with the meat too, so you can eat reasonably nutritiously and be satisfied. Big servings for lunch when you consider all that stuff.

                                            Also, I saw someone else eating the karnazel and it looked really good-wish I'd ordered THAT instead.

                                            El Morrocco: very good. Eat there. I had the chicken w/honey tagine- quite good, mainly because of the tagine part (the chicken per se was a little dark-meaty for me, but the sauce made up for it).

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: lewyn

                                              Visited Mortys Steakhouse again, www.mortys.ca definitely as good as it was last time I went. Great steaks, very elegant setting and incredible service.

                                              1. re: lewyn

                                                Well, the chicken was part of the tagine, as a tagine is a kind of stew (and the earthenware vessel it is cooked in). Mmm, dark-meaty chicken! The best!

                                              2. My strong advice is to avoid Mortys restaurant. The food is average, prices are high, ambience poor and service especially appalling. For example, despite the restarant being almost empty we were not allowed to move table to one that wasn't right by the door. A request to replace chips and vegatable on the menu with a side salad got a complete refusal. For that 18% is added to your bill. Steak was overcooked and not tender. Bill not far short of c$100 per head for 2 courses and no wine.

                                                Also, re El Morocco there is some question whether it is still kosher - people in town think it may not be (only very recent). Can anyone confirm for sure

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: zsero

                                                    El Morocco is not kosher anymore.

                                                    I'm a little surprised about your Mortys review, I go there all the time and get excellent service, including being able to replace my potato by a salad. As for the steak, always cooked to perfection (medium-rare). Very tender and soft. As for moving tables, its always best to make reservations there, they give out the best tables to people who reserve. It's not cheap, but then again, prices compare to other big steakhouses. They have a prix-fixe menu for $30 that includes at 16oz ribsteak, appetizer and dessert, can't go wrong with that. I'd give them a second shot, maybe you were on a off-night or something, I've had no problems there. I don't understand that people get an overcooked steak and still eat it. Return it and ask for another one.. Was Morty there himself that night? He's really great.