Thai, Portuguese, and Casa de Espanol
Chao Phraya's great if you like your Thai food gussied up, stripped of all thrills and Sino-Outremontized to the max. For more authentic tastes, you'll probably have better luck across the street at Phayathai (107 Laurier West) or at the unfortunately named Mai Thai (365 Bernard West).
If you're talking Portuguese grills, the Plateau's Portugalia and Romados top the list of centrally located joints. If you're looking for something fancier, Ferreira downtown.
Are you serious... Mai Thai was really one of the WORST thai restaurants in Montreal. Recommend anything else but that. Its not like they are in Montreal all the time. So why not try something good.
And not that I dont love Romados but again they are VISITING Montreal. Romados as delicious as it is is a dive and take out. I really wouldnt eat there as a dinner place when visiting a city. Saying Romadoes is casual is an understatement. I would Def say Janos which is pretty similar to Romadoes but at least you have table servive and seating. Also Chez Doval for Portuguese. Here are the top 5 Portuguese rest the Mirror chose for best 2008 CHOW.
1. Romados (115 Rachel E., (514) 849-1803) MOSTLY TAKE OUT!
2. Jano (3883 St-Laurent, (514) 849-0646)
3. Chez Doval (150 Marie-Anne E., (514) 843-3390)
4. Coco Rico (3907 St-Laurent, (514) 849-5554)
5. Ferreira Café (1446 Peel, (514) 848-0988)
1. La Sala Rosa (4848 St-Laurent, (514) 844-4227)
2. Casa Tapas (266 Rachel E., (514) 848-1063)
3. Pintxo (256 Roy E., (514) 844-0222)
4. Club Espagnol de Québec (4388 St-Laurent,
5. El Gitano (3507 Parc, (514) 843-8212)
Top Thai Food:
1. Thai Express (various locations)
2. Cuisine Bangkok (Faubourg, 1616
Ste-Catherine W., (514) 935-2178)
3. Chu Chai (4088 St-Denis, (514) 843-4194) Vegetarian
4. Chao Phraya (50 Laurier W.,
5. Thai Grill (5101 St-Laurent, (514) 270-5566)
Absolutely serious. Had a fine (for Montreal, not a great city for Thai) meal there a few weeks ago, certainly light years better than any I've had at Chao Phraya since before they redecorated. But, hey, don't take my word for it!
Karpati: "I'll come right out and say it ... some of the best Thai food I've eaten in Montreal"
thomasein: "I found the food excellent and somewhat more imaginative than usually found in Thai restaurants."
A few hounds have reported less satisfactory results, so consistency may be an issue. Still, calling it one of the worst restos in Montreal -- a city filled with places that toss some basil, coconut milk and sugar into a stir-fry and dub it Thai -- goes way beyond the pale.
«they are VISITING Montreal»
So? Dives and take-out joints that serve great food are off-limits to visitors? Where does the OP say she's looking only for a sit-down, tablecloth resto with a wine list? Read the Chowhound manifesto. If you hang around here for a while, you'll see that Romados is exactly the kind of place many visiting hounds want to know about. And, IMHO, its chicken is way better than at the gloomy Janos, which like Chao Phraya lost much of its mojo when it expanded and redecorated.
There were plenty of reports from visitors raving about meals they have had in Romados. It is an experience to wait in line and rub shoulders with locals and get smooched by the big knife lady. This is what I would prefer to do when I am visiting, experience the city as it is, and I assume most chowhounds are in the same page (otherwise they'll probably go to Zagat).
The tables are not too comfortable to eat at (especially when a million people waiting in the line are drooling at your plate), but the OP could do a takeout and call it a picnic at Parc Jeanne Mance (and also observe another type of local, hipsteris frisbius).
My absolute favorite chicken still is at Portugalia. But they just serve grilled meat, and plain fries (unlike Romados's fries, which belong to a different class). Other places (including Romados) will more homestyle dishes in their menu such as soups and pork&clams.
If one needs to sit down, I'd rather eat at Portugalia, Roi du Plateau or Doval instead of Janos, which I have mixed feelings about.
The Mirror's Best of Montreal poll is a joke. If Thai Express's ranking first isn't enough to clue you in, ruminate for a minute on the fact that it has at one time or another declared Les 3 Amigos the city's best Mexican restaurant, Domino's the best pizza joint and McDonald's one of the top sources for poutine.
Casa Tapas is worth going to http://www.casatapas.com/ In the Spring and Summer months they have Sangria which I wait all year for. They make it just right!
Another good place I just went to for Greek Style Tapas is Ouzeri: St Denis, (514) 845-1336
4690 Rue Saint-Deni
For Portuguese I would definitely recommend JANOS on BLVD ST LAURENT. Janos has the best Portuguese chicken Ive ever had.
For Thai Food hands down of all the Thai Restaurants in Montreal the best is always CHAO PHRAYA on Laurier. http://www.chao-phraya.com/ The food is always spectacular. Each dish has it's own unique flavor and the soups are the best of all the restaurants.