Monday, August 17, 2009

Montreal restaurant round-up


My husband and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Montreal this weekend. A little too impromptu it turned out because we were unable to get reservations at any of the restaurants we had scoped out earlier in the week, or get tickets to the evening semi-finals of the Rogers Cup. (There were some available just the day before.)


We did end up getting a table at Da Emma, a very popular Italian restaurant on the edge of Old Montreal. So, popular in fact, that there is large display in the entrance of all the famous people who ate there: Winona Ryder, Steven Spielberg, Penelope Cruz, Zach Braff, Will Ferrell (hey, if it's good enough for Frank the Tank...).

The food was petty good — free bruchetta was awesome; spaghetti with cheese, salt and pepper, amazing (really); linguine with porcini mushrooms, a little salty; and tiramisu, very good, but too expensive for the portion.

Here are some other things you should know about Da Emma: it's in the basement of a building that used to be a women's prison, the menu is entirely in Italian, but the wait staff will translate, and no that's not Brad Pitt in the picture above.

Another restaurant of note that we visited was Kalalu, a Caribbean place on St. Denis we stopped at for lunch after a morning of shopping. This was our first experience with authentic Caribbean food and it was delicious — especially loved the Griot (marinated pork) and the mashed plantain fritters. Unfortunately the restaurant wasn't air conditioned and there was a heat wave going on, so given that the food was very spicy, I think the only way I could have possibly been hotter is if I were playing in Rogers Cup that afternoon. They did give us complimentary granitas — shot of ice fruit and "alcohol" to fortify us for the steamy walk back to the hotel. (Very considerate of them.)

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Koko the restaurant/bar in the hotel we were staying at, if for no other reason than it is exactly the type of place that I wished I could have gotten married in.

See:



Sadly, there were no such large, modern indoor/outdoor lounge spaces to accommodate us in Ottawa, so we had to go with something more staid. (Turned out alright though.)

But, Koko is a great restaurant in its own right — excellent duck confit and lentil salad.

Thanks for letting me share some of my Montreal culinary experiences. I'll be back in December, so I'm still looking for suggestions. (Au pied du cochon is already on the list.)

Best,

kh

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