Jul 2, 2010

Ferreira Café, king of Downtown Montreal restaurants

By Alexandra Forbes

The undisputed king of Downtown restaurants, Ferreira Café has been going strong for several years on Peel Street thanks to the strong hand and sly charm of owner Carlos Ferreira. 

The food can be Portuguese for those who want it, but the menu is filled with classics and crowd pleasers, with several fish and seafood dishes. My favourite is the cod with confit tomatoes, olives and potatoes. Or, actually, my real favourite is a rice and seafood casserole that is not exactly on the menu in the form, unless you call ahead and make a special request:

It's as good as Portuguese food gets: huge chunks of lobster and an almost soup-like rice that tastes of garlic and the sea.
The wine list is almost exclusively made up of Portuguese labels, and contains top vintages of Douro reds, vintage Ports and privately-imported gems.
 Prestigious Portuguese winemakers are often invited to conduct tastings, such as the recent evening of vintage Ports led by Dirk Niepoort of famed Niepoort winery in the Douro:

I find the service the best in town (but maybe that has something to do with the fact that I speak Portuguese!). Sommelier Paulo is always impeccable, as is the manager Vítor. For dessert, nothing beats the pastéis de nata (pictured below), delicious custard-filled pastries served with ice cream on the side. 
This is where the movers-and-shakers close deals and where couples go to celebrate special dates, and the room is always humming with lively conversation, no matter what night of the week.

 Ferreira Café: 1446 Peel St., Montreal, tel. (514) 848-0988

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