Le Ballpark is a charming little place on the border of Mile-Ex and Little Italy. They specialize in spherical food: onion bhajis, Italian arancini, lamb meatballs with coucous, etc. The place has a good vibe: a balanced airy mix of cold industrial and warm varnished wood, but the jury is still out on the upside-down lamps hanging from the ceiling. Le Ballpark also doubles as a watering hole, with a decent drinks menu, so it’s worth checking out even if you’re not hungry.
I love this charming old-school Greek restaurant with its leather booths and wood panelling. You can definitely find better food in the city, but Le Fameux is the perfect place for late-night revelry because the booths are cozy, the middle-aged waitresses can handle the drunk crowd with charm and brio, it feels like a time-warp (with a few unfortunate modern intrusions), you can get poutine, and you can also get more drinks.
Unfortunately, I always come in here late at night after having had a few drinks, so it’s hard to judge the food objectively, but I’ll try.
This bar has a nice lived-in feel, not unlike the charming old brown cafés you find in Amsterdam. There’s wood paneling everywhere, a pressed tin ceiling, a nice patio out back, and a stunning selection of Quebecois microbrews, wines, ciders, and liquor.
Unfortunately, the poutine did not live up to the surroundings. Continue reading
The lacklustre city of Saint-Jerome (pop. 70,000) sits 45 minutes north of Montreal. The city developed around a shoe factory and has arguably been absorbed into Montreal’s suburban sprawl in the last few decades, so it feels like a charmless post-industrial town surrounded by power centres. Why the hell would you stop here? To be fair, there’s a charming central plaza with a massive cathedral and a few small cultural institutions
And a strange Catholic/Communist sculpture in the middle of the square.
But that’s not the real reason for stopping. The real reason is Chez Johnny, an old-school shack-à-patates that has been drawing in customers from all over the northern burbs for decades.
On my last trek out to Food Truck Friday at the Olympic stadium, I was faced with a bewildering array of choices. Thankfully, a new German food truck in town made my choice easier. They offer two different kinds of poutine: one with chopped up chicken schnitzel and the other with bratwurst. Given that schnitzel is one of my favourite comfort foods, and surprisingly hard to come by in Montreal, this seemed like a winning option.
Some people refer to this classic 1950s diner as “poutine heaven,” and it frequently comes up in discussions about the best poutine in Montreal. It sits in an off-the-beaten-track corner of the working-class neighbourhood of Pointe Saint-Charles. I made the trek out here a few times but it was always closed, being one of those rare casse-croutes that shutters up at 7PM.
Paul Patates is also famous for its starring tole in Quebec TV show Taxi 0-22, which I have never seen given that I don’t own a television.
Southern food isn’t my favourite, but this place in Little Burgundy does it right, and such comfort food is a beautiful thing on a cold snowy day. I love this place. Their bourbon cocktails are delicious. Their pulled pork sandwiches are delicious. Their mac & cheese is delicious. Their buttermilk pie is delicious.