Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Feb 19, 2014 03:44 AM

Portuguese culinary tour

My friend is going to Portugal in June and I thought it would be fun to have a mini portuguese culinary tour of Montreal's most authentic places before she goes just to be able to make comparisons.

I'd like to bring her to a good bakery, a casual restaurant for lunch and a typical grocery store. Ideally in the same neighbourhood so we can walk all the way.

Any suggestions? I read the posts and already figured out Romados and Ma poule mouillée could be contenders, but are they only take-out places?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Where in Portugal is she going? There are major and significant regional differences.

    To answer your question both Romados and Ma poule mouillée have tables.

    10 Replies
    1. re: EaterBob

      The Algarve region (Porto, Portimao and Lisbon).

      1. re: carolilas

        Not to disappoint you (your friend will probably be quite happy to hear this though): Montreal's Portuguese food is almost a Montreal invention. I think it would be much easier to find rotisserie chicken in Montreal than anywhere in Lisbon or Porto. In those Portuguese cities, you are more likely to find fish-, seafood-, and pork-based dishes than the usual chicken-and-potatoes offered here.

        There was another thread discussing where to find a "Francesinha" (a traditonal dish from the Porto area) in Montreal, and I think there was no place serving it, what with all the Portuguese restaurants around here!

        The grocery stores (or Portuguese deps, actually) might give you a better idea of what to expect across the Atlantic: lots of salted cod, "unusual" (by Canadian standards) cuts of pork and beef (a lot of them cured or salted as well), lots of sausage etc. You should definitely try Alim-Pôt (20 Roy Est, i.e. Roy and Saint-Laurent) and Soares & Fils (130 Duluth Est, i.e. Duluth and De Bullion) to see what the ingredients look like.

        For some typical small plates, you could also try Café Vasco da Gama (on Peel). Their "pastel de bacalhau" does justice to the best ones one can find in Portugal.

        Sorry to disappoint... Best of luck!

        1. re: alinemramos

          Don't forget Épicerie Benfeito, at the corner of Villeneuve and St-Dominique. Great Chouriço. Alim-Pôt should be much better known as a good butcher's and charcutiers, for people on a budget (and not only!)

          Strangely, I googled Benfeito, and some sites gave a Villeneuve address and others a St-Dominique address, both logical for its location...

          Aline, chez Doval has always had the dishes you mention, but also chicken.

          You don't disappoint at all. It is normal for foods to change in emigration.

          1. re: lagatta

            +1 Chez Doval for a casual place. Jano on St-Laurent is also great one, cheap prices but nice setting with a varied menu. To clarify on Romados, the seating is basically lunch-counter style. The food is great, but go elsewhere if you want a restaurant setting and service.

            1. re: Shattered

              Thanks, Shattered and lagatta for bringing up Chez Doval. I've never been (it's on my list now!).

              And I definitely second the Jano ("Jano's" according to some) recommendation! Very good, quite varied and not expensive.

            2. re: lagatta

              I think Benfeito changed addresses when it was renovated; but it's on the corner.

              1. re: Maximilien

                Yes, it hasn't moved, and of course there are streetviews. I was there this week to buy chouriço.

                Their daughter Meaghan is an Olympic athlete! (diver)

          2. re: carolilas

            Just to specify, the Algarve is in the south, not Porto or Lisbon.

            1. re: williej

              I'll tell that to my friend (she gave me the wrong description) :)

              Thank you so much for all your recommendations!

        2. Portugese stores:

          Boutique Lisbonne : 4179 St Dominique (I've not been since they moved )
          Marché Picado: 4553 St Laurent.
          Benfeito 4800 St Dominique (more a small coner food store)
          Marché SA : 4701 Saint-Urbain (same thing as benfeito)

          All 4 stores are walkable from each other.

          1. How's Casa Minhota on St Laurent these days? I haven't been in over 15 years but that may be an option.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JerkPork

              A reliable, solid option......!

            2. Just wanted to second, third or fourth suggestion about Jano on Saint-Laurent. Tell them you are going to Portugal and you're bound to get some helpful info as I find their wait staff friendly. Also, the Portuguese church on Rachel and Saint-Urbain (can't remember the name--large grey facade) sometimes has festivals, Saint-Days or fundraisers and when they do, they have, in the past, served excellent caldo verde soup and other Portuguese traditional foods and pastries (belem tarts, etc.) inside the church. You can't get more authentic caldo verde than the soup I had there!

              9 Replies
              1. re: deborahm

                Santa Cruz. And of course the Portuguese association across the street on St-Urbain also has dinners.

                1. re: deborahm

                  Speaking of caldo verde: even though most of the food at Jano is delicious, their caldo verde (soup) is sub-par. So, if anyone's looking for it, they should try elsewhere, like the church you mention - but I've never had it there, so I can't comment.

                  1. re: alinemramos

                    Thanks for the warning! I was looking forward to try it...

                    Can others recommend a place for the caldo verde? We were planning to do this culinary tour in April so I don't know about the church...

                    1. re: carolilas

                      I would tentatively suggest Na Brasa on Duluth
                      Their caldo verde is tasty albeit subtle.
                      *However*, I don't know how authentic their version is.

                      The church has a HUGE celebration the weekend of August 9-10 (although I did not see caldo verde - eveyone was concentrating on grilling their own beef!), but perhaps someone can list an event before your April deadline.

                      I'd suggest the Portuguese association as well (mentioned by lagatta and Shattered).
                      Walking into an "association" might seem bewildering, but a friend/acquaintenance first brought mrs porker and I there last August (following the festivities at the church). Not to eat, but to have some drinks at the bar.
                      Everyone was very friendly to us strangers.

                      With that small expierence "under my belt" we returned with friends sans our Portuguese "chaperone".
                      Everyone was still very friendly with us strangers.

                      We have yet to eat there, but are looking forward to it sometime.

                      1. re: porker

                        Would you also recommend their chicken?

                        1. re: carolilas

                          Good Question.
                          I only ate here occasionally and its been about 18 months since our last visit. We had the soup everytime as we liked it.
                          Other items do not stand out, so based on this alone, I'd say theres better chicken to be had elsewhere.

                          Romados seems to be the standard to which everything is compared, but to me, not the kind of place where I'd go out for dinner.
                          A few places do their chicken ahead of time, so timing can be everything - you may get great, moist chicken, or you may get mediocre bird.

                          I tend to like Portugalia as they do their chicken to order. It takes longer, but worth it I think.
                          Does this make Portugalia the perfect choice?
                          They do have service issues (some people love them, some hate them) and they also have their ups and downs, but in general, I like to have a glass of wine here while waiting for chicken and ribs.
                          (they don't have caldo verde either).

                          As a side, I always wanted to try the Cafe Central Portugais a block west of Na Brasa on Duluth (and a block east of St. Laurent).
                          Its a kind of quasi men's social club.
                          I've had drinks here with the wife and our Portuguese friend mentioned above, but Mrs. Porker would feel a bit uncomfortable going here to eat, just her and me.
                          The kitchen apparently does not have a very set menu, its what the cook feels like doing.
                          Has anyone stopped in here for eats? Impressions?

                          1. re: porker

                            I ate at Cafe Central once last summer. Like you said, the menu isn't really set, so I just asked the barman what he could make me. He made a steak sandwich: cut a nice slab of sirloin off a roast right in front of me, fried it, and served it on nice fresh bread. It was really good, and good value at $7 (it was a generous size, a small steak). I'll be back when it's nice out again... and when I have that strange urge to hide out where no-one I know would ever possibly find me, and there's nary a woman to be found.

                            The church/Portuguese Association (they're pretty much the same on the food side of things) doesn't serve caldo verde, if someone was asking that above. It's the same soup every time I've been: a pea & vegetable soup.

                            1. re: Shattered

                              Thanks for the I gotta figure a way to try it without the wife...

                2. You can eat-in at Ma Poule Mouillee....check out their daily specials as well!