Previous Next

Avocat au Crabe at Chez Alexandre: ampersandyslexia

Eating while traveling gives us the opportunity to taste a country, and participate in its traditions and customs.

BUT SOME OF THE most memorable culinary experiences that I’ve had were in dining establishments that contrasted local cuisine: a Moroccan meal in Paris, Indian food in Christchurch, or Argentine asado in Costa Rica. Part of the charm is the juxtaposition.

Montréal is a North American foodie heaven. And a major supporting factor to this epicurean positioning is the multitude of ethnicities that have chosen to establish new lives and enterprises in the city. Local gourmands rejoice in the diversity.

Here are 10 ways to savor the international offerings.

Ethiopia: Nil Bleu

Dish from Nil Bleu: TMAB2003

If you have yet to encounter the Ethiopian eating experience, you are in for a messy treat. At this well-known Montréal institution you can chose from a variety of stewed dishes that include chicken, lamb or pulses (vegetarian). All meals served with crêpe-like fermented flatbread, which you use to sop up the stewy deliciousness. Eating with your hands makes the experience all the more jovial.

Brazil: Lele Da Cuca

Located on an unassuming street just a step off ‘The Main’ (Boulevard St. Laurent), this eclectic Brazilian restaurant features a selection of wallet-friendly, yet delicious, “Table d’hote” choices. Try the feijoada (national dish of Brazil), and enjoy the adorable man strumming his guitar to South American standards. Reservations recommended. Bring your own wine or beer.

My vote for the best potatoes in the city, garnished simply with cumin and cilantro. The friendly Syrian owner often mingles and chats as he replenishes water glasses. On the weekend people share poetry & music as the restaurant becomes a makeshift cultural center.

China: Restaurant Beijing

Restaurant Beijing (also used as feature photo): Gary Soup

I know I’ve stumbled across an authentic Chinese resto when there are actual Chinese families dining inside. Located unsurprisingly in the heart of Montreal’s Chinatown, you might have to wait for a table at this no-frills eatery, but it’s worth it as you’ll be in the company of folks who know good Chinese food. The lemon chicken and Chinese broccoli are personal faves.

Mexico: Chipotle & Jalapeño

An authentic Mexican eatery and food boutique in the Montréal Gay Village. Start with one of their savory traditional soups, continue with a bean burrito and finish with a flan or custard. And if you like something you ate, buy the ingredients and recreate the magic!

France: Alexandre Restaurant

You’ll be convinced that you are sitting in a Parisian bistro at this charming downtown restaurant. It’s a chic ‘Brasserie’ that takes pride in remaining unpretentious, which ironically is pas très francais. Try the French onion soup to maintain full French immersion.

India: Resto Bombay Mahal

Mmmmm. Butter Chicken: ginnerobot

If you’re willing to go the distance for amazingly delicious and ridiculously cheap Indian food, then you’ll head up to the heart of Park X, one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Bombay Mahal serves up the best butter chicken in the western hemisphere. And they can adjust menu piquant levels from Caucasian-spice-trepidation to jalapeño-hotness-warrior. Servers are pleasantly playful.

Portugal: Chez Doval

There are a ton of options for eating Portuguese along Boulevard Saint Laurent (The Main) ranging from fancy high-end bistros to hole-in-the-wall cafés with animated, older Portuguese men. Chez Doval is a cozy, affordably romantic, middle-of-the-road option. There are many options on the menu, but the classic rotisserie chicken always seems to be calling my name.

Afghanistan: Khyber Pass Cuisine Afghane

For many novice ‘Foodies,’ Afghani cuisine isn’t the most obvious of choices. But with basic ingredients, such as fresh yogurt, coriander, garlic, onions, tomatoes and potatoes, Khyber Pass does great job of creating saliva-inducing dishes from classic middle eastern fixins. Bring your own wine.

Quebec: Aix Cuisine Du Terroir

La Belle Province is what you eat when you want to eat like
you’re in Montréal: yawper

If you’re visiting Montréal, then you’ll probably want to sample the local culinary offerings. Many would argue that poutine is the national dish, and you can swing by any location of La Belle Province to sample this workin’ class Quebecoise fare. But for a real treat, ‘AIX’ is the place for higher-end, creative dining. The rotational menu takes into consideration seasonal produce, ensuring that the meal will be both fresh and local.

Community Connection

Ready to stuff your face some more? Well Fed and Socially Conscious in Montréal has more ideas for great things to eat in Montréal.

And in special honour of Canada Day, MatadorTrips has a feast for your eyes with Canadian Natural Beauty Across the Country.



About The Author

Daniel Baylis

Daniel Baylis is a writer, traveler and conversationalist. He is currently spending 2011 traveling across the world, exchanging work for food and accommodation. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys jogging, iced coffee, honing his amateur photography skills and bringing down invisible ninjas with random, but deadly high-kicks. Join his adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

More By This Author

view all →
  • Pingback: Daily Travel Links | AdventureWorthy

  • Pingback: 25 Romantic Honeymoon Destinations

  • Kirsten

    Please don’t go to La Belle for local food, if you really want to try the poutine (fries with gravy and sauce) go to La Banquise on Rachel street. The have the best in town and are open all the time.
    I would also highly recommend La Nile Blue, always take friends from out of country and they love it. Very friendly staff. It’s like going on vacation.

  • Pingback: 13 Weekend Getaways From 13 Major U.S. Cities

  • Me

    La belle Province? yuck… seriously wouldn’t eat there if I were starving. La Banquise for poutine as per Kirsten. 
    Also surprised that there was no mention of Pied de Cochon on Duluth – one of the best Montreal eating experiences ever… taking traditional Quebec style food to a whole other level.

Eat in bed or underwater, drink from an IV bag, or chow down on 8000 calories in one...
Get off the bridge, take a left, and get ready to eat.
A Matador Nights editor gives her favorite local spots to eat and drink in the Garden...
Where can you find half a pound of sirloin topped with 2 fried eggs, 6 slices of American...
Tony and his team arrive in a foreign land, stake out suspicious-looking digs, and design...
Matador's staff pick their favorite places in the world to eat. And we're a pretty...
Everything was fried separately before assembly; be prepared to feel incapacitated.
This is not a schmear campaign against the other cities famed for their boiled bread.
This Halloween, learn how travelers can ward off the evil undead.
Happiness can be found in greasy foods.
How lovely to have fatty food arrive in an athletic stance!
Cure your cravings for Spätzle, Wienerschnitzel, and Salzburger Nockerl.