Hungarian food in Montreal? Or other central European
Are there any Hungarian restaurants in Montreal? What about German-Austrian etc...? Or even eastern Europe like Russian? I think I saw a Romanian grocer near cotes-des-neiges and possibly a Russian grocery in Brossard near Kim Phat but I'm looking for a restaurant. Thanks!
Cafe Europa on Sherbrooke is a mix of Eastern European cuisines (usually filled with Eastern European clientele). Pleasant place...
Has anyone been to Troika recently?
64 Prince Arthur E, Montreal, QC H2X1B3, CA
Restaurant Stash Cafe Bazaar
200 St Paul W, Montreal, QC H2Y1Z9, CA
1620 Rue Sherbrooke W, Montreal, QC H3H1C9, CA
1650 Av Lincoln, Montreal, QC H3H1H1, CA
Troika Restaurant & Bar
2171 Rue Crescent, Montreal, QC H3G2C1, CA
115 Rue Saint-Viateur W, Montreal, QC H2T2L2, CA
I went to Troika this past week. I've been walking past it on visits to Montreal over the past 15 years, and I was looking forward to finally trying it.
The manager (or possibly head waiter) let us know the kitchen was out of pelmeni, varenyky, and foie gras, 3 of the selections on the appetizer menu, as soon as he came to take our order. I had planned to order the borscht and pelmeni, but after learning pelmeni were not an option, I decided to go with the borscht, share the piroshki with my friend, and try a main. The manager recommended Baba Galina's Russian-style goulash. I haven't seen goulash on a Russian menu before but decided it was worth a try, after the manager mentioned he thought it was delicious.
The borscht was a tasty vegetarian version, and the absolute best part of our meal. The piroshki were filled with a bland minced chicken mixture (the 3 meat piroshki mentioned on the menu were not available), and the filling tasted like the piroshki had been pre-frozen then microwaved. I've only tried piroshki twice before, and the wrapper on these ones was closer to a blintz wrapper than the others I've tried. The Russian-style goulash was very tender, and contained many strips of pimento or roasted pepper. It tasted ok, but it did not taste like Hungarian goulash, and the sauce was thinner than any Hungarian, Austrian or German goulashes I've ordered or made. I could not detect much paprika. My friend's stroganoff was also a very large portion. Both the goulash and stroganoff came with noodles, and no vegetables.
The restaurant was 7/8 full while we were there. It seemed at least half the tables were taking part in some sort of $15/person all you can eat Russian Zakouski (mezes/appetizers) meal that was offered through some Groupon-type promotion.
The decor at Troika looks more like a nightclub than an upscale Russian restaurant. When I googled recent reviews, it looks like it might have briefly been operating as a supper club last year, before turning back into Troika.
The current incarnation of Troika isn't what I'd consider upscale, in terms of food or service, but the portions of the borscht and mains are extremely generous (although expensive compared to La Caverne), and the manager and servers are friendly.
2 borschts, 1 piroshky, 1 goulash, 1 stroganoff, 1 vanilla/coffee cake and 2 teas came to $89
before tax and tip.
I got the impression that Troika may have changed hands fairly recently, or a younger generation may have taken over. There seemed to be a lot of servers, considering the number of tables, but at least one seemed clueless regarding how to clear dishes or cutlery. The night we dined there, apart from one middle-aged, non-Russian server, almost all the staff were under the age of 35. I would have expected at least one older Russian-speaking manager or bartender at a restaurant that's been around since 1962, although, it's quite possible older Russian-speaking staff weren't working the night we dined there.
Much of the food tasted like it was reheated, and I got the feeling some corners were being cut, that probably weren't being cut when in Troika's heyday. While the food was generally ok, I don't get the feeling the current Chef is inspired. I was surprised that no vegetables accompanied the $25 and $27 mains. There were no special efforts in terms of presentation, apart from some dill-flecked "Bechamel" that came drizzled over the piroshki. The mains were simply meat and noodles, with no garnish apart from chopped dill. The food we ordered tasted more like "home cooking" made with short cuts than fine Franco-Russian cuisine made by a Russian chef.
It's quite possible that Troika is still in transition. I hope it comes full circle, and becomes an inspired, upscale Russian option, rather than a so-so place that packs in diners with coupons.
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I did some more research on Café Rococo as suggested and yeah, nothing too impressive. The menu is a bit dodgy to me.
I will certainly check out the Polish/Russian places with high reviews. I wonder if there is a market for good Hungarian in Montreal? Maybe I'll retire to the kitchen.