This is my first post to Chowhound. I live in Vermont and teach Spanish at a high school in Burlington. Another teacher and I are bring a dozen of our Spanish students to Montreal in a few weeks to expose them to food from different Latin American countries and Spain. I know of a few places to go, but I'm looking for suggestions on authentic, relatively inexpensive places that serve food from different Spanish-speaking countries. The idea is to visit four or five places, maybe spending about $5-10/student at each place. So we're not necessarily looking for full meals, but more of a sampling tour. Any ideas you could all provide would be great. I spend a fair amount of time in Montreal and I know of a few places, but I would appreciate your advice.
Perhaps a market or two would be great as well.
I wanted to report back on the great day we had in Montreal and thank you all for such excellent suggestions! Taking 10 or so 13 year olds around Montreal in the rain could not have been more fun. We basically ate and walked all over the Plateau and Jean Talon area for 10 hours straight. We wound up going to four restaurants as well as Jean Talon market and Sabor Latino, which was great.
The restaurants we went to were:
La Carreta (Salvadoran) : It was pretty empty when we got there but I had called ahead of course and the owner (Reina) was ready for the group. We basically ordered whatever she suggested and kept it to a small plate per person. We had several different kinds of pupusas, which were tasty but a little soggy, a couple of fantastic tamales de ejote (the favorite), some yuca frita, which wasn't great, Reina was super friendly and I would go back their to order something a little more adventurous.
Cafe Las Americas (Colombian) was the next place we went. It was decent. We had some colombian chorizo, which in my opinion was not as tasty as Guatemalan or Mexican chorizo. We had several other things, but apparently they were not that memorable, because, I can't recall what they were. The one thing that was incredible was something called the "Aborrajados" which were basically plantains stuffed with cheese and fried in a dough. It was really tasty. I'm going to try to make those at home.
Cafe Cubano was the next place and this was the favorite of our group. The owner, this guy named Arlei, was awesome. Really friendly and tried to get to know some of the kids and engage with them. It was a great cozy spot. Very small and the bar takes up half the place. We had some typical Cuban dishes that were excellent (camarones al ajillo, moros [black beans and rice], and ropa vieja). I wanted to hang out there all day and have a few drinks. I'm going back at some point soon.
The last place we went was Club Espagnol. Big disappointment, but I didn't really expect too much. The kids were exhausted at this point and couldn't really eat much. We had pulpo gallego which is always fun. The disappointment was really with the atmosphere. It's like a big hall that looks like a conference room and we were basically the only folks in there. I wanted to work something out with Pintxo and Casa Tapas but I called both of those places and they were not friendly at all or interested in having our group come by. I can understand, but they could have been a little friendlier explaining that to me. The guy at Casa Tapas basically hung up on me. I've been to both of those places and had good meals. I know they are more upscale, but I could have done without the attitude.
Anyway, we had a really fun day. It was memorable for the students, and I really want to thank you all (especially kpzoo) for all the suggestions and offers of advice.
266 Rue Rachel E, Montreal, QC H2W1E6, CA
There was a cuban resto on Amherst called Cuba Saveur Tropical, but I think it closed. I'd suggest a stop at Club Espagnol for tapas. I remember their flamenco show being on Wednesdays, but a post on kpzoo's spanish thread suggestion says its on fridays...
Once in a while we'll have a really good central american style breakfast (horchatas, aguas frescas, papusas, chicharrones, beer, etc) at Restaurant Iris on Jarry a block east of St. Laurent.
50 Rue Jarry E, Montreal, QC H2P1T1, CA
For Mexican, you can't get much more "authentic" than Iguanas Ranas, though it's location might be a bit out of the way for you, i.e. there is not much else around there. However, it is easily accessible by metro (station du College on the orange line). On Saturday nights they have a live Mariachi band. You should be able to eat fairly decently for your price range because you generally order the meat for sharing, e.g. carnitas or barbacoa, and make your own tacos.
I am no maven on any of this food but I had to find a seasoning called Bijol which brought me to Sabor Latino. Altho a Latin grocer there is a fast food section at the back with easy take out or eat in food. I took out the Tamale and if memory serves me right they had food from all different Spanish regions including. Unfortunately not being so close to the area I haven't gone back but these two different tamales were uniquely good. The kind that stay in memory and are always saying 'I need to go back'.
And just a heads-up to the OP and others: there are actually two Sabor Latino locations. 1) 436 Rue Belanger E., which is near Jean-Talon market and the burgeoning "Latino" neighbourhood around Beaubien metro station and 2) 4387 Boul St-Laurent, which is on the more action-packed and interesting for a tourist St-Laurent strip, also known as "the Main." I believe #1 is larger?
There's a Cuban place on Beaubien called Cafe Cubano. It's very small, so you might want to arrange something with them before going. The food is hit and miss, the service is erratic, but the people are nice.
168, Rue Beaubien Est
There are a few Colombian places in town, but I know next to nothing about them. Las Palmas on Rachel is a fun little(tiny) place. I've only had their empanadas and I really enjoyed them.
Cafeteria Las Palmas
14, Rue Rachel Est, Montréal
One place I love is El Tropical on Plaza St-Hubert. It's owned by a lovely Guatemalan couple and they serves Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Mexican food. I recently noticed that now serve arepas, but I havent' tried them. The pupusas are good and much cheaper than at La Carreta and the atmosphere gets quite lively in the evenings when they fire up the karaoke machine.
6794, Rue Saint-Hubert
I also second the rec for Churros Montreal. They don't have enough room for your group to sit down, but it's the only place in town to get a Urugayan empanada and the churros are very good. It's also in the same neighbourhood as many of the places reccommended in this thread so it could be good for a quick stop or for dessert.
7497, Rue Saint-Hubert
On the same street is Venezuelan place Tasabroso. I've never been, but it recently got a good review from Maeve Haldane in the Hour.
Los Planes, La Carreta, Sabor Latino, El Rey Del Taco, El Amigo, Itacate, Eche Pa Echarle and a few others are all in this same part of town. It think there is also a Dominican place on Beaubien. Maybe someone else here has more info about that. There's a Honduran place on Beaubien and Clark, but It's rahter forgettable food-wise.
Cafeteria Las Palmas
14 Rnchel E, Montreal, QC H2Y, CA
6794 Rue Saint-Hubert, Montreal, QC H2S2M6, CA
7497 Rue Saint-Hubert, Montreal, QC H2R2N5, CA
Spanish was just covered in another thread, so here's some more recs...
- Villa Wellington - 4701 Rue Wellington
- Maria Bonita - 5269 Ave. Casgrain
- Restaurant Itacate - 67 Rue Beaubien Est
- Iguanas Ranas - 1486 Rue De l'Eglise
- Los Clásicos - 4561 Rue St-Laurent
- La Hacienda - 1148 Ave. Van Horne
EMPANADAS + CHURROS:
- La Chilenita - 152 Rue Napoléon
- Barros Luco - 5201 Rue Saint Urbain
- Churros Montreal - 7497 Rue St-Hubert
- Supermarché Andes Gloria - 436 Rue Bélanger
My Mexican friend likes La Matraca for Mexican food at 4607 St. Denis.
Latino market is Sabor Latino at 4387 St. Laurent.
There's a Spanish store (food and books), Librairie Espagnol at 3811 St. Laurent @ Roy. In the same vicinity (about 4 blocks away) is Pintxo: http://pintxo.ca/ I wonder if they might arrange something for you. It's kind of an upscale restaurant.
Thank you guys all for these suggestions. I really appreciate it. This is a big help. I've been to Pintxo a few times and I will definitely call them to see if they could arrange something off hours for our group. I've also been a sort of "taqueria" right off the Jean Talon market that I remember being pretty good. Does anybody second that?
Any leads on Peruvian/Ecuadorian/Bolivian fare anywhere? Puerto Rican or Cuban?
Thank you all!
I haven't been to the taqueria near JTM but have seen some sort of "meh" reviews.
For Peruvian, check out these threads:
Chicho's Peruvian Chicken on Blvd St. Laurent
El Jíbaro, Eche pa Echarle and other hole-in-wall Peruvians in north end?
A few other ideas:
Churros & empanadas at Che Churro - Argentinian-owned
6543 Ave. Somerled - Montreal, QC. (this is in the NDG neighbourhood and may not be convenient location-wise)
More churros ideas here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585503
La chilenita - Chilean
152, Rue Napoleon, Montréal, QC H2W 1K8 (514) 286-6075
6580 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2S3C6, CA
If the taqueria you're referring to is "El Rey del Taco", on the north side of the market on Jean-Talon, it's very good for what it is - and very reasonable too. Definitely worth trying, and there's plenty of room for a group of students there. And then you'd be right at Jean-Talon market, although it's still going to be an indoor market at this time of the year.
That's sort of what I was thinking. I believe the taqueria was either "El Rey del Taco" or just to the right of it, a few steps closer to the entrance to the market. I seem to remember them having a counter with about 10 stools and they cooked the food right in front of you and then in the back was a small grocery.
La Caretta is a great, casual Salvadoran place with very inexpensive food like pupusas, tacos and tamales, and they have a separate room in the back.
That whole area is full of Latin American places, for example El Amigo (Mexican/Salvadoran) just down the street.
We just recently had a thread on Spanish food, you should check it out:
Spanish food advice needed
Good luck, sounds like a lot of fun!
I had lunch take out friday from Itacate.
I had the burrito Casa for take out and it was disappointing. I was full of hope for this big square sandwich. It was bland with no flavors what so ever.
They had me a marinated pork but it tasted like a stew that was in the fridge for a few days. The texture and the taste wasn't freshly cooked marinated pork. Nothing beat freshly cooked food. The rest of the sandwich was also so bland the cheese, beans and rice mixture that compose the sandwich were never detected in my mouth. So no explosion of flavors there.
And for 11$ tx in it wasn't a good deal at all. The salsa was very good. and the salad portion was a joke. The dressing was good but the quantity was maybe a 1/4 of a tea spoon.
Haven't anything else there so I can't judge their other plates. But the Burrito was a big FAIL and expensive!