Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chez Doval

This little Portuguese restaurant is located about a 3 minute walk from my old place, in
little Portugal… ah, the memories! I had been once, many many years ago with my
parents. To be honest, I didn't remember anything about it. So I went back with ze wife
and two of her friends.

This restaurant is very authentic. The owners are Portuguese, the barman's Portuguese, the
waiters are Portuguese, and everybody's mama's portugese. You know what I mean? :)
Stucco walls and wood paneling are an integral part of this restaurant. The place has two
rooms separated by a little hallway. Portugese music is being played by a dude with a
guitar in the other room. The room we were in was very small and it seemed like there
were too many tables+chairs. I understand how you have to have as many seats available
for your clients to make as much money as you can but come ooooooooonnn, I could
have eaten off the next table's plates!

Anyhoot, we got bread (that was dry and cold) quickly with little, I don't know how to
explain it... garlicky pieces of bread that were harder but full of flavour. Anyway, bad
explanation...but they beat out the bread by a lot.
The menu was a tad too huge, too many choices to choose from. I'm always happier
with a simpler menu. They had the Portuguese classics like cod, sardines and chicken, of
course! I had none of those. I decided to have the quail. Wait, no... SIX quails :p. Ya,
that plate was huge! They were juicy and nicely charred. I don't remember who ordered
what but the octopus was squishy.. and there ain't nothin' worst than that! The piri piri
chicken was very spicy... actually TOO spicy. And I an handle spicy. Oh and the soup

was homemade. Like TOO homemade. You know what I mean? Oh and the plates were
cold. COLD!

We had pasteis de nata for desert. This was our go to desert when we were in Lisboa. I wasn’t as much of fan of it as ze wife but I still liked it. This one.. meh. It was OK. It was cold and not as tasty as the real thang. It’s better warm and with a pinch of cinnamon. YUM! Anyhoot, after these OK pasteis de nata, they gave us a shot of porto. That woke me right up ! It was a nice little gesture.

The service was ok but not exceptionnal. The waiter was pleasant at first and then, as
more and more people came in, his smile faded a bit. He was also the only waiter for
about 40 people. He didn't serve the wine well either. Grrrr. There was a guitar player in
the other room that finally came in our side of the restaurant near the end but instead of
singing portugese songs, he sang québécois songs. Why oh why? Also, at the end of the
night, sharing the bill proved to be so difficult. That got annoying really fast.

And now, the scores!

Food: 7

Service: 6

Maybe it was a bad day…I really want to believe that Chez Doval is better than this. It
really does remind me of Portugal. And I loves me some Portugal :p

Restaurant Chez Doval on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 28, 2013


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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Joe Beef

Another great review by my bro's fried, Erik. Thank you for going to so many restaurants that I don't have the money to go to, hahaha! 
Not only is it one of the best restaurants in Montreal for its cuisine, Joe Beef is also renowned for its creativity, its ambiance and of course, its history.
Named after a 19th century innkeeper, this restaurant has become an institution in Montreal and a single visit there will show you why. Nestled in Little Burgundy, which is known for its boutique eateries, Joe Beef serves up what can be described as french cuisine with an accent on meats and seafood. For those who aren't counting calories, as an appetizer I would strongly recommend the foie gras Double Down (which is not comparable to the KFC version!). The horse tartare is also delicious. For the main course, everything is good and your choices are not scarce. I personally enjoyed the rabbit with prune sauce. If you love steak then you should try the prime rib for two. Don't forget your appetite because this piece of meat is larger than the plate! It's important to know that they make slight changes to the menu on a regular basis depending on the season and availability of certain ingredients on the market. May be worth trying something that's new on the menu.
Now that we've covered the food, it's time to discuss about the other part of the meal. Wine! Their wine selection, as advertised on their blackboard, is very extensive therefore you should ask your waiter for his/her recommendation on which wine accompanies your meal selection. 
Joe Beef offers an intimate setting yet it's loud enough to keep you awake. You can go there on a date, as a couple or with a group of friends. No restrictions here however you have to reserve because this place is always full. Oh yes, and the only reason that will make you think twice about coming back is the price, because it's not cheap!.  Having said that, you get what you paid for which is excellent food and wine.  
Food: 10/10
Service: 8/10
I've been to over 100 restaurants in Montreal and Joe Beef remains in my top 3 in terms of quality of food. 

Joe Beef on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Caravane Café

Caravane Café opened right around Christmas time, only a couple blocks away from our place. It was nice to see the youngsters (the owners seem quite young) make this place what it is today and transform the old bakery that was there (man, that lovely smell that came out of that bakery every time I passed by... yum!). Anyhoot, we don't usually go to cafés next to our place... but we wanted to see the changes that were made.

You go in and it's so darn cute! There's about 20 seats (including two at the side counter) and it gives the student a new place to study instead of Van Houtte, Starbucks, or Second Cup in Upper Côte-des-Neiges. Even though I hate coffee, I like the smell of it and this place has plenty of that!

We were just going there to check out the place and see what they had to offer. They have about 8 varieties of sandwiches, 1 salad of the day and 1 soup of the day. They also have some crème brûlée in cute little white pots. Ze wife found it 'sooo cute'. They have a bunch of coffee (they make their own blend), tea and hot chocolate. All at a very reasonable price! Mama loves low prices (ps: 'mama' is me ;)

I had hot chocolate, ze wife had the chai latte and we shared the crème brûlée. The crème brûlée was really good and unctuous, with a smooth texture. Just great! On top of it, to make sure it had a nice crispy top, it was torched right when we bought it. The hot chocolate was good but not the best. It was obvious that it was made from powder. The chai latte was watery just like my hot chocolate. It didn't taste like the amazing (yes, amazing!) one we make at home with love (and wait until it has seeped into the milk). I'm sure the coffee's good... but we don't drink coffee!

The service was great: very nice waitress, very friendly. She was quite pleasant.  She was the only one there and she was quick and efficient! I like me some quick and efficient restaurant peeps!

And now, the scores:

Food(and beverages): I'm gonna have to half it...drinks: 5.5 and crème brûlée: 9
Service: 10 (ok, we only had 2 drinks and a crème brûlée, but still)

If you need a nice place to relax in a pleasant environment, perhaps a place to study or just a place to have a little coffee, go to Caravane Café!

ps: They also have a great terrasse for summer fun!

Caravane Café on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


 Here is a review written by my bro's bestest best friend, Erik! Enjoy! (He lived in Japan so he knows what he's talking about ).

Kazu is by far the best Japanese restaurant in Montreal, and they don't even serve sushi!

This fairly new restaurant on Ste-Catherine st. West serves up "Izakaya" style cuisine which can be compared to tapas bars in Spain.  The concept of the Izakaya is to have a casual bar-like atmosphere, where the guests can have a few drinks after work, and combine that with a small kitchen that will cook up just about anything that can be shared between friends or colleages. 

Montreal has opened its fair share of Izakayas over the past few years, however few of them can compare to the real deal. Kazu is fully owned and run by Japanese (from Ibaraki origin, close to Tokyo). The entire wait staff is also from Japan which makes the experience that much more interesting.

The food itself is excellent and all the dishes can be shared. I recommend the fried gyoza, yakitori, Japanese Bibimbap (with beef rib), giant shrimp and ramen (only served during lunch). Don't forget to start off the evening with a pint of Sapporo on draft or a large bottle of Kirin beer!

Not only is the atmosphere great, the food delicious and the staff very friendly, but the price is also affordable (you'll be surprised).  The only down side is the fact that you have to wait in line an average of 30-60 minutes before getting in (for dinner) and about 5-10 minutes for lunch (they don't take reservations). But hey, that's a good sign isn't it!?!? They are also closed on Tuesdays. 

Now, for the scores:

Food: 9/10
Service: 10/10

I would recommend going there in smaller groups due to the long wait times. Great place for drinks after work between friends or even for a date (preferable not a first date unless he or she doesn't mind the wait!). 

Kazu on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 18, 2013


Third time's a charm when it comes to Prohibition. Actually, I believe it was four. We tried to go there on many occasions only to be told that there were no seats or they were closed or it was a holiday. Sheesh! But we did end up going 2 weeks ago. This place, in the heart of Monkland boulevard, is always full. ALWAYS. I think we reserved 1 week and a half in advance for this, so it had to be good!

All the people trying to get in
The NON alcoholic bar
The place itself is in a half basement, kinda dark-ish, with a piano in the corner and about 60 seats. The ambiance was good: a lot of people, a lot of noise, a lot of forks and knives hitting the plates :) And this is not your normal breakfast place with eggs and bread on the menu; they have huevos rancheros and, wait for it, fried chicken with maple fried challah french toast. They also had eggs benedict with garlic yogourt! Ps: don't order the juice or the hot chocolate... they are store bought and really not what you'd expect from a good breakfast place. Oh, they also don't serve alcohol. Goodbye mimosa!

After trying to get there so many times, you start looking at the menu and so we all knew what we wanted right from the get go. I actually was debating between the huevos rancheros (they looked damn good) and the fried chicken. The latter won. Ze wife had the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote and sweet bacon.

Fried chicken and challah french toast
Wow! If someone can fry chicken, it's the cook at Prohibition. Yum yum YUM! Deeeee-freaking-licious! Man was that ever good. Can you tell I liked it? It was moist and well seasoned and HOT. I took tiny bites to make it last longer. OK, perfect bite: piece of chicken, piece of french toast dipped in maple syrup. Tiny food orgasm right there. The chicken was so good, the bread so soft and well, there ain't nothing wrong with maple syrup! 

Lemon and ricotta pancakes
Ze wife's pancakes were good and soft and blueberry-filled but the star of her plate was the bacon. Baaaaacon! I liked it so much that, even though I was full, I took a side order of the lovely stuff. Thick, melt-in-your-mouth bacon goodness. I could eat that bacon 3 times a day, 7 days a week. But I won't. That would be wrong (yet, so right!).

The service was so not up to par compared to the food. First, they seemed to be understaffed. Second, the waiters and waitresses were running around. Third, they were not that polite and fourth, our waitress kept on forgetting stuff. Like my friend's plate. Like my precious bacon. Like my watered down hot chocolate. Two different waiters also attempted to take our plates away before we were done and we had to tell them to back off! If I go back, it won't be for the bad service.

And now, the scores!

Food: 8.5 Don't get me wrong, my plate was perfect, but I tasted ze wife and ze friend's food and it wasn't AS good. But that bacon.... that bacon!

Service: 5.5 They forgot stuff and they were rude.

Definitely go with friends for weekend brunch. Have the fried chicken with a side of bacon and you'll be in heaven.
Prohibition on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Café Vasco da Gama

This place is right beside my job, like RIGHT beside it... so I was bound to go at one point or another. I guess I was a bit scared to go in what with all the serious business people coming in and out of the café.

For those of you who don't know, Vasco da Gama (or DE Gama), was a count and a Portugese explorer. One day, my dad and I made a lunch date and since we'd been to pretty much all the restos around my job, we decided to go there. It was quite nice. Quite nice indeed! Anyhoot, the place itself is quite long and narrow and has about 40 seats, most of them, very low... which is a tad weird at first but you get used to it. There was some spanish-y portugese-y music playing...  ;) Oh and I loved the tiles on the floor! Reminded me of Portugal :) The whole place was really pretty.

Basically, you go up to the counter, you pick what you want and then you sit and wait for your meal. People that work there are friendly, quick and efficient. They have to be because there are lots and lots of people eating there and getting food to go. The choices: there weren't as many salads as I'd wanted and the paninis were really overpriced. I will NOT pay 13$ for a panini, even if it has duck in it.

I ended up having three salads: beet salad, lentil salad and somekind of niçoise salad. All quite tasty I'd say. Tastier than they looked anyway. This was served in a long plate with 2 pieces of bread with some olive oil. A nice addition to the plate, I found.  I didn't write down all the little details about the three salads. I just know that the beets were a tad undercooked (I HATE that!). The niçoise: lots of green beans, not much tuna. The lentils were actually very tasty, with somewhat of a citrus sauce. Quite tasty indeed! It was a very nice mix of flavors: the earthy-ish taste of the lentils and the punch of the citrus sauce.

I have nothing to say about the service. It was good and it was quick. They're used to the table turnover, you can tell. I also took the rest of my lunch in a doggy bag and the waitress came back with it in 2.5 seconds (I swear!).

And now, the scores.

Food: 7/10 I mean, we're talking salads here
Service: 8/10

A good place to go for a quick lunch or if you want to take something to go.

ps: They also cater small and big parties!
Café Vasco Da Gama on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sushi Yu Mi

It's nice to have friends that invite you to restaurants :) This friend had bought a coupon that included one shared salad, and our choice of [shared] appetizer plus plenty of [shared] sushi and a [shared] desert. This place is in Westmount on Sherbrooke (métro Vendôme) and is in somewhat of a basement so we almost passed right by it. It's a normal looking place, nothing fancy, far from it, but cute and red... lots of red. It also has a take-out counter, which is always essential when it comes to sushi.

We were both starving when we got there. We looked at the menu and took a while to decide between really great sounding choices. It all sounded so good! We decided on the lobster, shrimp tempura and crab 'signature dish' served in a wonderful filo cup. Man, I could have eaten 10 of those! I described it as being 'TOO good'... the mix of seafood (actual lobster claws!), nice little mayo based sauce, lettuce and radish sprouts was amazing. All in all a great dish. Then we had the Yu Mi salad: lobster, snow crab, shrimp, seasonal greens and a selection of fresh tropical fruit with sweet potato tempura and seaweed. This, again, was damn good. DAMN good! The presentation was great too, with little flowers adorning the plate.It was so colorfoul! It had a nice dressing with sesame and soya and again, the lobster was just... just... GREAT! Can you tell I love lobster?

Then, we had the sushi. It was so pretty! There were about 25 pieces on a rectangular plate. We ordered the salmon extrava (caviar, tempura, asparagus, enoki, cucumber, and chive), the warm shrimp, tuna and mango (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, mango and enoki), the salmon, asparagus and mandarin (salmon, asparagus, chive, mandarin, cucumber, omelet and creamy sauce), eel and avocado (grilled eel, crab mix, avocado and chive) and the crab and caviar( soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber, radish and spicy sauce). On top of that, we had some avocado hosomakis. De-DAMN-licious! It wasn't your run of the mill sushi: it had enoki mushrooms sticking out and asparagus! Who knew asparagus would be good in sushi? I surely didn't. They were all scrumptious! I loved the fact that one of them had mandarine in there and I really liked the warm shrimp one. They were really original I found and I loves me some sushi so this was a great GREAT culinary experience. I must also say that I'm not really an eel-loving girl but I loved the eel in the roll.

The desert was really nothing special, compared to the meal we'd just had. We shared a piece of cheesecake. The tea that came with the desert was very fancy though. I can't really explain it but the bag was kind of opened with a stick going through it and resting in the cup. It seemed fancy anyway!

The service was ok. I mean for a while there we were the only clients there (until the next table became full and one of them started crying?!?!). The waitress explained us the menu and the choices we made. Then we bought a bottle of wine and she had trouble opening it. But then again, she must not open many wine bottles. She was nice and smiley, which, as I've mentioned before, is always nice!

And now, the scores!

Food: 9/10
Service: 8/10

This is such a great place and not many people seem to know about its existence. If you'd like to eat original sushi, go there!

Sushi Yu Mi on Urbanspoon