Montreal Eats for a Short Visit - Report

While visiting our son in college, we explored the neighborhood where he lives (Verdun) as well as a couple of other possibilities,

In Verdun:

The Street Monkeys - Cambodian
On a Thursday night we felt lucky to get seated pretty quickly even though we didn’t have a reservation. They were full but for one table.

I don’t have Khmber food where I live, but I did go the the SEA street market in Philadelphia last season, and that is almost entirely Khmer. It’s a fantastic event, and my memories of that are vivid.

We ordered nataing (pork dip), fried papaya salad, stuffed chicken wings, and lort cha (fat noodles in the shape of worms).

The meal got off to a roaring start with a version of pork dip that very much thrilled me at the SEA market. This version was extraordinary. Instead of ground pork, it was diced, quite fatty, in a luxurious sauce. Wow. I was very impressed.

The fried papaya salad is similar to other papaya salads except for the addition of delicate threads of fried papaya that lent a subtle crunch. Ordered spicy - but nothing in Montreal is as spicy as you’d expect elsewhere. This too was best in class, an awesome, delicious papaya salad.

The stuffed chicken wings is where I started to see the limitations here. At the SEA market, they were huge, sizzling right off the coals, stuffed with herbs and bean thread noodles. Here they were dainty, closer to room temperature, stuffed with pork. If I had not had the SEA version, I would have thought these very good…

The lort cha here were a big letdown. Instead of dry-fried, sizzling hot, very fat noodles served bean sprouts, onion with a runny egg, these were room temperature, flimsy, and served in a soy based sauce that was pedestrian. Welcome to the wet noodle club.

Le Godot - Upscale French
We didn’t plan on going here, but my son and his SO wanted oysters and we needed reservations for most of the places considered first. Here I was able to get in for a 9pm reservation.

This is a bit of a swank spot with locals only, casually but impeccably dressed. With our two college kids, we probably took down the ambience several notches. Although they automatically presented the menu in both languages, I did not hear any English. I speak French, so at least in ordering I kept up my part of the bargain.

I tend not to spend all that much for a meal anymore, plus everyone else at the table is easily scandalized when it comes to prices. so we kept our ordering modest. It’s a small, all-tapas menu, We ordered a dozen oysters, four dishes, one dessert (they only make one per day), and coffees, that was enough - though nobody was going home feeling full.

We ordered poutine, broccoli caesar, tartare de boeuf os à moelle, and shrimp scampi.

The success was the poutine, pictured here. A millefeuille of layered potato topped with a block of haloumi with a clingy gravy. Next was the shrimp scampi, despite the list of ingredients tasted plainly of really great shrimp.

The other two dishes were uninteresting: the tartare tasted like nothing, again despite all the ingredients. I couldn’t even tell what it was. The same for the broccoli caesar, the broccoli was very good but I couldn’t taste much of anything else. The dessert was a well executed poached pear in a flaky pastry with a caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

The best part of the meal was the people watching. We had entered a very different world. It was a long meal, as it took an hour for the tapas to arrive and we didn’t depart for another hour after that. Like everyone else, we were there for the socializing.


My first time. As good a sandwich as you’ll find. Worth going out of your way for. Despite the line out front, it moved quickly and we were seated before we knew what was going on.

Chenoy’s Deli
Near the airport. I’ve been here before for the matzoh ball soup and the chopped liver and it did not disappoint.

Lloydie’s - Jamaican.
There are two locations. Counter service with very fine food. Small menu of jerk proteins (not smoked), but gorgeous bark on the chicken and a hearty pork stew. Fantastic rice and plantains with a spicy kick. You can get the plantains served over poutine, which is excellent. Also the spicy beef patties here are straight up primo.

We tried to go to Arthur’s Nosh Bar at 2pm on a Saturday and told it was a 2-hour wait.

Le Dépanneur Café in Mile End (Rue Berrnard Ouest)
I go here for the macchiato and the music. All day they have musicians signed up for gigs hour-by-hour and it’s a fantastic vibe, about 50/50 French-English judging by the times I’ve been here. Excellent carrot cake is a bonus.