Hostaria

We had tried Hosteria on a casual evening about a year ago and had a great there. So when we found ourselves hungry for some hearty Italian food after an Easter Friday thermal experience we decided to give it a try again. As soon as we arrived, Andrea welcomed us with a large smile, led us to a nice table by the window and took our coats. We dined at 6:30pm and there was still daylight out casting a nice glow in the modern decor of the restaurant.  At the back there was a large mirror lengthening the room and a large well stocked glass wine cellar.

The menu met our expectations, offering a varied choice of dishes following Italian traditions with antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni etc, modern antipasti, typical pasta dishes, a nice choice of meats and fish. We ordered our meal and received fresh bread and a delicious olive oil while waiting for our dishes. We asked for a glass of wine suggestion and our waiter offered a glass of a biological Italian wine (coincidentally the priciest choice) which we taste; however, it had a level of acidity we felt would not compliment our meal so we settled for a full bodied alternative.

As antipasti we ordered the polipetti alla Luciana; tomato stewed wild baby octopus with capers and the octopus carpaccio. Both were so good that we had to finish off saucing our plates with bread!

polipetti alla Lucianaoctopus carpaccio

Our main quickly followed; we had the seafood Mezzemaniche (a short and fat pasta) and the parppadelle with boar ragu. Once again it was very good; we sipped our wine and later on, are showed a desert menu.

From that point on, for an unknown reason, our nice dining experience goes downhill. The desert menu has limited choices with several gelato options and we decide to skip desert but go for coffee. But, our waiter seems to have completely forgotten our table and we need to call on him several times to refill our water glasses and to take our coffee order. Again after our coffee we wait a while for the bill, however the waiter promptly returns to collect payment. After paying and leaving a comfortable tip, we asked for our coats that had been so smoothly whisked away when we arrived, only to be told by the waiter “to go get them ourselves that they are at the back” before returning to the cash. We were left baffled by this attitude particularly given that the same waiter had a few minutes before rushed to a departing table to bring them their coats! How disappointing! This left us a bad closing feeling for this restaurant that had great food despite the inconsistent and downright unpleasant service at the end.

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:6
Venue:7
Food presentation:7
Food taste:8
Deserts:N/A
Wine selection /advice:7
Cost:8 (2 courses, wine and coffee =60$ before tax and tip)

Overall:7 (unpleasant service at the end dropped the rating to 7)

Address: 236 Rue Saint Zotique E, Montréal, QC H2S 1L1

http://www.hostaria.ca/

Hostaria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Jun I

Look no further, Juni is the best sushi restaurant in Montreal! We were told and now we’ve experienced and it did not disappoint!

As we started the evening early, we had a sparkling wine aperitif and a Kyoto old fashioned. The old fashioned was nice, but sparkling and without many “Kyoto features”.

The menu was nice, sushi centric and not overly “fusion”, there was a nice selection of sake and we ordered a Junmai Ginjo to accompany our dinner. We had the sashimi starter which was a nice modern dish with various sauces. As we were sharing, we appreciated the attention paid to the presentation and the service: the scallop included on the platter had been split so we could easily share it.  We ordered a large selection of sushi, sashimi, uramaki (nori inside) and tokubestumaki (the “specials”) for our meal.

Juni 6Juni 5

All we ordered tasted very good and fresh; the sushi rice used was smooth, at the perfect temperature with a very balanced acidity level, the other ingredient were all fresh and served very generously. The more we ate the more we wanted so we had to reorder a couple of times as it was so good.

We were stuffed so we skipped on desert and finished our meal with a toasty genmaicha.

The service at the restaurant was nice, the waiter were knowledgeable; no confused look when we asked for genmaicha. However, the restaurant was full which slowed down the service.

We spent 4 hours at this restaurant having excellent sushi! The decor reminiscent of Tokyo sushi bars with a modern twist just called for relaxation and enjoyment, what a great time!

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:7
Venue:8
Food presentation:7
Food taste:9
Deserts:N/A
sake selection /advice:8
Cost:7  ($110 per person before tax and tip)

Overall:9

Address: 156 Avenue Laurier O, Montréal, QC H2T 2N7

http://www.juni.ca/

Jun-I Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nora Gray

We had heard good comments about this Griffintown Italian restaurant and we were curious to try it. When we arrived for our 6pm Thursday reservation we entered a cozy venue with a minimalistic décor; and almost empty.

We are quickly installed and given the menus. We were pleasantly surprised by the strong presence of rabbit dishes on the menu and by the number of non-pasta options. It seemed to be a seasonal menu with various options presented as the freshest ingredients are available.

We order the mezzo Garganelli with tomato sauce and the baked seafood as antipasti. Both of the dishes were good, the only down side was the fact that the seafood mussels were a bit chewy.

A mere two minutes after we have finished the appetizers we got our main dishes. As secondi, we got the chestnut raviolis with rabbit and the veal picatta. Both dishes were very tasty but a bit on the salty side. Even though the mezzo version of raviolis was small (only 4 raviolis), the veal portion was just right.

IMG_5427
Veal Picatta

As soon as we finished our secondi, we were presented with the dessert menu, from which we ordered the Meyer lemon pavlova with passion fruit. The mix of lemon and passion fruit was good to cut the sweetness of the pavlova, which was very crispy.

IMG_5430

 The service was so fast that by 7PM we had finished our meal and the bill was ready (without us asking for it). The service was very friendly but we felt a bit rushed since there was no time between dishes.

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:7
Venue:7
Food presentation:7
Food taste:7
Deserts:7
Wine selection /advice:7
Cost:6 (3 courses and wine = 55$ tax in +tip)

Overall:7

Address: 1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal, QC H3C 1H2

http://noragray.com/

Nora Gray Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pho Lien

Over the years, we have had several discussions on the best Pho in Montreal. We heard various different names but consistently people urged us to try Pho Lien on Cote-des-Neiges. Finally the day came and we excitedly entered the small dining room on and early Sunday evening. It was packed and bustling with waiters making their way through the closely set tables. After a bit of a wait, a waiter shows us to a well located table. The room has a simple family style décor and we have a comfortable table by a pillar and away from the door.

We browse through the extensive menu and on this cold winter night, set our sights on a bowl of warm pho; we pick the Tai, Nam, Gau, Gân, Sach, that comes as per the name with rare beef, flank, brisket,soft tendon and tripe.A plate of garnishes that included bean sprouts, basil and lime promptly arrives followed shortly after by our bowls of pho. The broth is hot and has a delicate flavor of anise and cloves, the noodles are plentiful as well our meat choices. After the addition of some hot sauce, bean sprouts and basil leaves the pho is quickly savoured and it spread its warm throughout. The pho here is good! So is the fresh made lemonade we ordered to accompany.

IMG_5406

But so is the pho as Pho Bang New York or at Pho bac 97! Actually all those place have a very similar menu and the pho taste quite similarly good. And when I look at the décor of those places it is also quite similar, as if all the pho places in Montreal were just a giant pho franchise!

Where is the giant pho making plant that supplies all the pho restaurants of the city? Is there a pho franchise mafia in Montreal? 🙂

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:7
Venue:7 (This is a family style restaurant)
Food presentation:7
Food taste:8
Deserts:N/A
Wine selection /advice:N/A
Cost:10 (1 course =10$ including tax)

Overall:7

Address: 5703 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal, QC H3S 1V7

 

Pho Lien Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Damas

We were quite intrigued by Damas, the Syrian restaurant that has been the talk of Montreal. The menu seemed to present a mostly typical fare of the region so as intrigued as we were; we were also a bit sceptical.

Upon arriving for out 7:30pm reservation, the place was bustling, full of customers that seemed to be having a great time.  We passed by a great looking and well stocked bar, where the barman was expertly making martinis to get to a large backroom with an open air kitchen. The room is decorated in warm red tones, carpet, tapestry banquettes, and a red draping on the ceiling with an Arabic writing of the word “Damascus”. All across the room there were oriental lamps hanging from ceiling providing for a delicate warm lighting; in all, it was a very pleasant room and as we were led to our table a delicate delicious smell was titillating our taste buds.

After a little wait our waitress bring us our menus that offered a large selection of cold and warm mezzes, traditional grilled Syrian food and  other Syrian specialties with exotic names.

Several dishes on the menu catch our attention, and after a few questions answered by our waitress we decided on a set of cold mezzes, the “akhtabout” a warm mezze of grilled octopus and a plate of the fish of the day “samke harra” to share. We also decided to each try the Greek and Italian wines offered by the glass.

We first taste the cold mezzes that are individually presented in small ceramic bowls topped with olive oil and paprika. They are served with warm mini pitas and all taste fresh; from the traditional hummus to the walnut, beets and aubergine spreads. It is all very tasty and the warm bread keeps on coming.

The grilled octopus arrives and we soon have to shift our attention. The octopus comes in thin tender slices topped with capers, chickpeas, onions. It was delicious and we breeze through it and want more of it even though we are starting to get full. We just have enough room left for the stuffed porgy fish which is the perfect dish to finish our dinner, the skin was crunchy and the seasoning was optimal with the right balance of acidity with the creamy tahini sauce, the tomatoes and the cilantro. Each dish that came tasted better than the other.

Two and a half hours later we are stuffed and decide to wrap up the evening with a desert of baklava flavored ice cream and a Turkish coffee. The ice cream was good even though the flavors were a bit light. The Turkish coffee tasty and was presented on a pretty ceramic tile.

During our dinner, the service was great. Our waitresses asked and pleasantly accommodated for our food restrictions.  Once we decided to take away our left over mezzes, they promptly came back individually wrapped in 4 little packages and a paper bag. The room was packed on that Friday night and this affected the efficiency of the service as there was an extended wait time between the dishes.

Our evening at Damas was very pleasant. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and most importantly the food was absolutely delicious! But as most highly rated restaurants in Montreal you can’t be on a tight budget to enjoy Damas!

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:9
Venue:9
Food presentation:8
Food taste:9
Deserts:7
Wine selection /advice:7
Cost:7 (3 courses, wine and coffee = 75$ +tax+tip)

Overall:9

Address: 1201 Ave. Van Horne, Montreal, QC   H2V 1K4

http://www.restaurant-damas.com/

 

 

 

Damas Cuisine Syrienne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sel gras

On this visit to Sel Gras we had a casual dinner at the bar. It was an unusual environment as that evening there were two groups of over 10 people celebrating birthday parties. This made for a very loud and noisy dining environment and it would have been good if mentioned at the time of reservation.

We had a Cava based dinner that started with some freshly shucked oysters that were delicious. The barman grated the horseradish and he shucked the oysters in front of us.

IMG_0399

We followed with an octopus ragout with fingerling potatoes and chickpea puree. I was surprised when the dish came, as it was presented as an octopus soup in a bowl that you had to eat with a spoon. But it was delicious. We asked for some bread to accompany our ragout and after a short wait, freshly toasted cinnamon bread arrived. It went perfectly with the octopus ragout.

IMG_0406

Our main dishes were an arctic char with wild rice and shrimp sauce and a mushroom risotto with squash, brussels sprouts and confit duck. Both were good and very generous portions.

The desert menu was composed of 3 cream based deserts and one chocolate one. We settled for some coffee and port both very good.

The service at the bar was good but affected by how busy the evening was. Water glasses stayed empty for long periods of time.

Despite a couple of issues, it was a very pleasant evening with most importantly tasty food. Sel Gras is a place that makes you want prolong the evening as long as possible.

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:8
Venue:5
Food presentation:7
Food taste:8
Deserts:N/A
Wine selection /advice:8
Cost:8 (2 courses, no wine but coffee = 60$ +tax)

Overall:8

Address: 5245 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1S1

http://www.selgras-montreal.com/

 

 

 

Sel Gras Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Palm Court Afternoon Tea at the Ritz-Carlton

The Palm court is an international tradition for afternoon tea and the one at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal does not disappoint. In a cosy setting with plush chairs and sofas, it is a traditional tea services with a selection of international greet and black teas which can be accompanied by a glass of champagne. The finger sandwiches: cucumber, dried tomatoes, chicken and smoked salmon; cranberry scones with raspberry coulis, rose jelly and Devonshire cream, and pastries: delicious coconut panna cotta, profiteroles, mille-feuilles and financiers were all excellent and quite fresh.

2015-11-28 16.51.30IMG_4734IMG_4731

In all it is a great afternoon tea and at a reasonable cost given how trendy afternoon teas have recently become.  One thing to mention though is that the service can be inconstant particularly on a busy afternoon.

Rating from 1 to 10:

Service:7
Venue:8
Food presentation:8
Food taste:8
Deserts:n/a
Wine selection /advice:n/a
Cost:8 (35$+tax)

Overall:8

Address: 1228 Sherbrooke St. West Montréal,  H3G 1H6 Canada

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/canada/montreal/dining/afternoon-tea

Ritz Carlton - Afternoon Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato