I am still wondering why it took me so long to write about Montreal, a city I am very familiar with. Indeed, I have visited it 6 or 7 times since my eldest daughter has moved there to study business, 4 years ago ! When I am in the french-canadian City, I am constantly looking for the best restaurants, coffee shops, food trucks, markets, cool grocery shops, etc ! I have toooons of information to share with you, but today I will focus on my favorite Asian restaurants. This selection reflects my very own opinion, I am aware there are many other amazing Asian spots in Montreal. While we are on the subject, please do not hesitate to share YOUR favourite exotic restaurants/food trucks in the comment section. Thank you !
Biiru probably is my favorite among this selection : just sorting the pictures for this post made my mouth water like crazy ! The only point for improvement, in my opinion, remains the service, which could be a bit warmer. Located a few steps from the busiest shopping street in Montreal, Sainte-Catherine Street, Biiru is not very easy to find as there is no sign outside (or hardly visible). It offers a wonderful wooden terrace and the design is very “Instagramable” with a beautiful bar, fun neon lights and large mural paintings on the interior and exterior walls, inspired by Japanese comics. These elements contribute to a lively and cheerful atmosphere.
What does one eat at Biiru ? First of all, even if I did not have the opportunity to taste them, I heard their cocktails are very creative with recipes you won’t find anywhere else, such as fresh avocado+cachaça+ginger, or gin+taro syrup+ orange blossom water ! In terms of food, don’t go there for sushis; Biiru is an Izakaya, a traditional Japanese bistro. The menu offers plenty of dishes to share like seaweed or octopus salads, beef tataki, short ribs of beef or pork, spicy sashimi, salmon or chicken skewers. Each dish has at least 3 or 4 different ingredients, as the pictures below show. The menu is more “elaborate” in the evening, but make sure to book a table. My tip of the day : as their dessert menu is very limited, I have my expresso and a yummy pastry at Café Parvis, a mere 2-minute walk from Biiru. I will soon write a post about my favourite cafés in Montreal. Run the mouse over the pictures to read the captions.
Dates of lunches : august 2016, september 2017
1433 Rue City Councillors
Montréal, QC H3A 2E4
Tel : +1 (514) 903-1555
Website : biiru
Instagram : biiru_mtl
This restaurant has succeeded in making me enjoy sushis ! Not an easy task since sushis have always been synonimous with blandness and dullness (ouch !) to me. My main purpose for going to Saint-sushi was to please my sushivore daughters, after reading rave reviews about the restaurant. Open for nearly 5 years, Saint-Sushi is located in a quiet street in the Plateau neighborhood, where young Montrealers like to go out on week-nights and in the weekend. The owner, Saeng, used to work for a famous japansese restaurant in Montreal to finance his engineering studies. As soon as he mastered the Art of Sushi, he opened his own place with the help of his family. The decor is very simple or I should say, to be perfectly honest, that I did not see much of it because of the dim lighting in the evening. What I know for sure is that reservations are necessary; the restaurant is very popular and there are only 25 seatings. The atmosphere is laid-back, (very) noisy but fun. Run the mouse over the pictures to read the captions.
Priority is given to the freshness of the fish and seafood (obviously) but also to the creativity of the flavors and the presentation. Who could possibly resist the cuteness (and amazing taste) of the little christmas trees (picture below) made with a cracker and domes of raw scallops or lobster ? The makis have fun names (Madonna, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson,…) that refer to the childhood memories of the team. Sauces are home-made by Saeng. The tasting menu with 10 makis, 4 sushis and 2 christmas trees is a bargain at 29.50 dollars (20 euros) and gives you a good overview of the Chefs’ talent.
Date of diner : september 2017
424 Avenue Duluth East,
Montréal, QC H2L 1A3
Tel : +1 (514) 507-7537
Website : saint sushi
Instagram : #saintsushibar
Les nouilles de Lhan Zou
Caribou is a Quebec culinary magazine that I particularly enjoy and in which I have read a very interesting article about immigration and how the various communities have enriched Montreal’s culinary scene. For example, the Vietnamese and Chinese communities (130,000 inhabitants) have their own neighborhood and hundreds of restaurants scattered throughout the city. Among them, “Lhanzou noodles” in the heart of Chinatown, is famous for its beef noodles (a specialty of the city of Lhanzou in China, hence the name). What really attracts the patrons here is the amazing “show” provided by the “noodle-maker” behind the window. See my short video below. Isn’t it mesmerizing ? I have no idea how he can make hand-pulled noodles at this speed !
The restaurant is small, there is an escalator on the left that leads to an Asian supermarket downstairs (quite surprising, actually), the toilets are upstairs, lost in a labyrinth of chinese clothing stalls (be prepared) and the decoration is anything but chic. But who cares when one can enjoy minute-made noodles, immersed in a flavorful broth, with freshly chopped cilantro and thin strips of melt-in-the-mouth beef ? Portions are huge, a small bowl is more than enough for a human being of regular appetite. Especially if, like me, you have the crazy idea of ordering a spicy cucumber appetizer. All in all, a fun and tasty experience if you visit Chinatown. Run the mouse over the pictures to read the captions.
If you prefer Vietnamese Pho, I recommend another spot in Chinatown : Pho Bang New York, where the only payment accepted is cash, which is probably why they have installed an ATM machine inside the restaurant ! Hahaha !
Date of lunch : september 2017
Les Nouilles de Lhanzou
1006 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, H2Z 9Y9
Tel : +1 514-800-2959
Website : Nouilles de Lhanzou
Instagram : #nouillesdelhanzou