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Latino/Spanish food

j
jromm Mar 5, 2011 05:17 AM

Hi everyone,

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.

Thanks!

  1. kpzoo Mar 5, 2011 05:27 AM

    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.

    La Caretta
    350 St-Zotique
    (514) 273-8884
    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&q=la+carreta+montreal&fb=1&hq=la+carreta&hnear=Montreal,+QC,+Canada&cid=930790744249746754&z=14

    That whole area is full of Latin American places, for example El Amigo (Mexican/Salvadoran) just down the street.

    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=4379814980938356989&q=Restaurant+El+Amigo+2,+Rue+Saint+Zotique+East,+Montreal,+Quebec,+Canada&hl=en&dtab=0&sll=45.532588,-73.611362&sspn=0.025437,0.023592&ie=UTF8&ll=45.532507,-73.611231&spn=0.037217,0.066948&z=14

    We just recently had a thread on Spanish food, you should check it out:

    Spanish food advice needed
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/769547

    Good luck, sounds like a lot of fun!

    2 Replies
    1. re: kpzoo
      kpzoo Mar 5, 2011 05:31 AM

      There's also Itacate which has good Mexican, also very reasonable, but is a bit smaller than the two I mentioned above.

      http://www.itacate.ca/
      67 Rue Beaubien Est, Montréal, QC H2S 1R1, Canada +1 514-276-5880

      http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid...

      1. re: kpzoo
        m
        maj54us Mar 27, 2011 08:57 AM

        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!

    2. p
      picklebird Mar 5, 2011 06:52 AM

      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.

      9 Replies
      1. re: picklebird
        j
        jromm Mar 5, 2011 09:28 AM

        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!

        1. re: jromm
          kpzoo Mar 5, 2011 09:49 AM

          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
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692951

          El Jíbaro, Eche pa Echarle and other hole-in-wall Peruvians in north end?
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/655721

          Melchorita
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/723258

          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)
          (514) 303-8316

          More churros ideas here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585503

          La chilenita - Chilean
          152, Rue Napoleon, Montréal, QC H2W 1K8 (514) 286-6075 ‎
          http://maps.google.ca/maps/place?hl=e...

          -----
          Chicho's Restaurant
          6580 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2S3C6, CA

          1. re: kpzoo
            j
            jromm Mar 5, 2011 10:40 AM

            Kpzoo, this is really helpful. Thank you so much.

            If possible, we might seek out a Cuban/Puerto Rico/Caribbean place as well. If anyone has any further suggestions, please let me know.

            Thank you all again!

            1. re: jromm
              kpzoo Mar 5, 2011 11:06 AM

              My pleasure! I don't know of any Cuban or Puerto Rican restaurants, but if you do expand to other Caribbean cruisine (Jamaican, Trinidadian, etc.) - let us know here or start another thread as there are tons of options. :-)

              1. re: kpzoo
                j
                jromm Mar 7, 2011 04:40 PM

                Hi kpzoo, we're just sticking with spanish-speaking countries, at least this time around. I can't believe how great all these recs are. I'm a chowhound convert. This will make a big difference in planning the day.

                1. re: jromm
                  kpzoo Mar 7, 2011 06:03 PM

                  Excellent, glad it's been a help. I'd love it if you'd report back after the trip to let us know how it went!

          2. re: jromm
            cherylmtl Mar 5, 2011 05:43 PM

            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.

            1. re: cherylmtl
              j
              jromm Mar 7, 2011 04:38 PM

              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.

              1. re: jromm
                cherylmtl Mar 7, 2011 10:07 PM

                That's it - they also have about 6 or 8 tables now, so you won't have problems seating everyone.

        2. o
          OliverB Mar 5, 2011 11:03 AM

          Spanish was just covered in another thread, so here's some more recs...

          PERUVIAN:

          - Villa Wellington - 4701 Rue Wellington

          MEXICAN:

          - 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

          1 Reply
          1. re: OliverB
            m
            Maximilien Mar 5, 2011 11:22 AM

            " Los Clásicos - 4561 Rue St-Laurent"

            has been closed for a lonf while and its mexican replacement as well.

          2. SnackHappy Mar 5, 2011 05:13 PM

            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.

            Café Cuba
            168, Rue Beaubien Est
            (514) 658-1464

            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
            (514) 987-1243 ‎

            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.

            El Tropical
            6794, Rue Saint-Hubert
            (514) 270-9102

            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.

            Churros Montréal
            7497, Rue Saint-Hubert
            (514) 271-6006

            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.

            http://www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iID...

            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

            El Tropical
            6794 Rue Saint-Hubert, Montreal, QC H2S2M6, CA

            Churros Montreal
            7497 Rue Saint-Hubert, Montreal, QC H2R2N5, CA

            1 Reply
            1. re: SnackHappy
              j
              jromm Mar 7, 2011 07:12 AM

              Thanks so much. These are really great. I will take a look at a map and try to figure out what makes the most sense. We'd probably park our van and use the metro to get around. Thanks, SnackHappy.

            2. f
              foodinspace Mar 6, 2011 04:54 AM

              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.

              3 Replies
              1. re: foodinspace
                b
                blondee_47 Mar 6, 2011 09:01 AM

                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'.

                1. re: blondee_47
                  f
                  foodinspace Mar 7, 2011 05:07 AM

                  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?

                  1. re: foodinspace
                    l
                    lagatta Mar 30, 2011 02:55 AM

                    The Bélanger location is much larger. It is just east of Jean-Talon Market, so no lack of interest for visitors.

                    -----
                    Jean-Talon Market
                    7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

              2. c
                chickenbruiser Mar 7, 2011 05:55 AM

                There's a colombian place Las Americas 6700 clark (corner St. Zotique). Food was decent IIRC. Cafe Cuba was also okay but is TINY with room for about 10 or so.

                -----
                Cafe Cuba
                168 Rue Beaubien E, Montreal, QC H2S1R2, CA

                1. porker Mar 7, 2011 03:47 PM

                  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.

                  -----
                  Restaurant Iris
                  50 Rue Jarry E, Montreal, QC H2P1T1, CA

                  1. j
                    jromm Mar 29, 2011 08:10 PM

                    Hey everyone,

                    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.

                    Thanks again!

                    -----
                    Casa Tapas
                    266 Rue Rachel E, Montreal, QC H2W1E6, CA

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jromm
                      kpzoo Mar 29, 2011 08:33 PM

                      Wow - what a day! Thanks so much for reporting back. I'll have to check out Café Cubano - haven't had Cuban food in years. Sorry to hear you got the 'tude at Pintxo and Casa Tapas - that's just rude. Hope you make it back to try some more things yourself.

                      1. re: jromm
                        f
                        foodinspace Mar 29, 2011 08:56 PM

                        Wow, a foodie school trip sampling different ethnic foods...I wish I had a trip like that when I was a kid. Thanks for the report! See you again soon.

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