Sep 20, 2012

New restaurants in Montreal: Café Sardine, Hotel Herman, etc

L'Atelier d'Argentine

by Alexandra Forbes

Suddenly, I've noticed a flurry of restaurant openings in Montreal. There are so many new places, in fact, that I haven't been able to keep up and try every one. Here is a list of the more notable ones with, when applicable, my comments:

Café Sardine
I've heard enthusiastic raves from friends. And Lesley Chesterman liked a lot, too. Here, a link to her review.
 9 Fairmount Ave. E. (near St. Laurent Blvd.)
Tel: 514-802-8899

Grumman78 HQ
What Montrealer doesn't already know the fun Grumman78 taco truck, always holding court at major events in town? For quite a while, they'd do the occasional event at their HQ in St. Henri (the warehouse-cum-kitchen where they prep all their food). Always a party.
Now they've decided to open 3 nights a week (Wednesday through Friday), starting September 26, for dinner. At this one, I'll be a regular.... love their cooking, love their vibe, love the space.
630 De Courcelle St. St Henri
tel. (514) 290-5125

This is the second restaurant of restauratrice Helena Loureiro. I've got to say I was never a big fan of the first one, Portuscalle, on Boulevard St. Laurent. One terrible experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth and I never returned. But this new one... I sampled the food at the press opening and was quite impressed. Real Portuguese flavours, with a contemporary slant. Strong execution of the dishes. And the décor and the location, at this new one, are quite a bit nicer (large dining room in Old Montreal with high ceilings and open kitchen).
438 McGill St.
(514) 878-1555

Hotel Herman
This is the top one on my must-see list. Again, I'll link you to Lesley Chesterman's review. She liked it a lot...
5171 St. Laurent Blvd. (corner Fairmount St.)
Tel 514-278-7000

 L’Atelier d'Argentine
I had to go give this one a try: Argentina is close to home (I'm Brazilian) and I know my steaks... They took over the old DNA space and I couldn't see much difference in the glass-filled décor. Same dim lighting, same loud music (too loud). The steaks were quite good, served with a ho-hum chimichurri sauce. There's much room for improvement in the empanada and pão de queijo department. Favourite dishes were appetizers, especially the corn tamal topped with shredded braised short ribs, the fennel salad and the spinach buñuelos (fritters). Nice to see that the wine list, Argentina-heavy, goes with the overall theme. I didn't love it - still trying to figure out if it was good enough to warrant going back.
355 Marguerite D'Youville,Old Montreal
Tel: 514-287-3362

Cool little pizza place and enoteca in Old Montreal that, thankfully, looks and feels nothing like a stereotypical pizza joint. The look has a hint of futuristic theatre backstage, with funky sculpted chairs that reminded me of subway car seats. Great choice of premium mozzarellas (try the house-smoked buffala mozzarella and you won't want to touch that supermarket bocconcini stuff any time soon). Pizzas are baked in a proper wood-fired oven in the back and rolled out on a funky conveyor belt. Owner is Simple Plan guitarist Jeff Stinco, who knows more about food and wine than one might think.
105 St. Paul st West, Old Montreal, tel (514) 419-8380


  1. With regards to L'Atelier d'Argentine, my husband ans I were very disappointed. First of all, the quality and authenticity of the food was questionnable. The corn tamal tasted like cream of corn from a can and was kind of liquidy?!? As for the shredded short rib on top, dry and underseasoned. For mains, the lamb duo was nothing to write home about. As for the short ribs, tough and chewy. Thank goodness for the chimichurri sauce. We did not have dessert simply to avoid disappointment. The service was acceptable, no more no less. There are too many stunning restaurants in Montreal to go back to L'Atelier d'Argentine.

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