Le Petit Coin du Mexique – Authentic Mexican Restaurant

My Mexican friends recommended this place and I know I’ve hit a great spot!

The place is not too big and quite homely with their various Mexican themed decorations. It’s in Saint-Michel and probably a bit out of the way for many downtowners like me. But it’s right next to D’iberville metro station. They have a little section stocked with all things Mexican. And I discovered Tama-Roca, a weirdly yummy Mexican treat.

A friend of mine bought a pack of Tama Roca out of curiosity. I tried a bite and was intrigued. It’s made from tamarind fruit and has a sour base taste. Then the outside is coated with a layer of light spice. It reminds me of the marinated plums that many Chinese people have as a snack. Many of us tried it, and all the Mexicans, Chinese, and Indians liked it. A weird culinary insight. I would say this is an acquired taste. 😛

Le petit coin du Mexique - Tama-Roca A Mexican Tamarind treat

Le petit coin du Mexique – Tama-Roca
A Mexican Tamarind treat

Starting the night with a margarita. It’s absolutely delicious and has just the right amount of crushed ice.

Le petit coin du Mexique - Margarita

Le petit coin du Mexique – Margarita

Le petit coin du Mexique - Mixed appetizer Fish tacos

Le petit coin du Mexique – Mixed appetizer
Fish tacos

The guacamole is on the light side. I may have been used to other ones that has a bit too much onion. So this one tastes light on the palate.

Le petit coin du Mexique - Guacamole

Le petit coin du Mexique – Guacamole

Le petit coin du Mexique - red Enchiladas Chicken filled tortilla with tomato red sauce, cream and cheese

Le petit coin du Mexique – red Enchiladas
Chicken filled tortilla with tomato red sauce, cream and cheese

The enchiladas are spicy! Not the kind that can burn your tongue off. But if you are not a spicy eater, beware. I really like the chocolate sauce out of the three, even though the chocolate taste got washed off by the spiciness.

Le petit coin du Mexique - 3 color Enchiladas chicken filled tortillas with chocolate, green and red sauce, cream and cheese

Le petit coin du Mexique – 3 color Enchiladas
chicken filled tortillas with chocolate, green and red sauce, cream and cheese

I highly recommend the tacos!!! I tried two kinds and both are must-haves. There’s a generous amount of meat on each tortilla and the marinated meat is bursting with flavor. The next time I come, I’ll probably just order the tacos. They are THAT good.

Le petit coin du Mexique - Tacos Mixtos Tortilla with steak and Mexican sausage

Le petit coin du Mexique – Tacos Mixtos
Tortilla with steak and Mexican sausage

Le petit coin du Mexique - Tacos Al Pastor Tortilla with marinated pork

Le petit coin du Mexique – Tacos Al Pastor
Tortilla with marinated pork

 

Le petit coin du Mexique

2474 Rue Jean-Talon Est, Montréal, QC H2E 1W3
(514) 374-7448

Le Petit Coin Du Mexique on Urbanspoon

Nora Gray – Fine Italian Cuisine

Nora Gray serves up delicious and original Italian Cuisine. It’s located in a quiet corner on St-Jacques and feels more like a neighbourhood bar than a high end restaurant and made us more at ease when enjoying the good food. This is the atmosphere the owners are trying to create, like a relaxed dinner party at home rather than dining out among people in spiffy outfits.

The owners put a lot of effort into the ingredients. If you are passionate about eating healthy, organic and local, this could be the place for you.

The three appetizers recommended to us by the waiters are all light, refreshing and a bit surprising in terms of the combinations. I’m not a connoisseur of Italian cuisine, so I couldn’t tell if any of these were already done before. Especially the trotter croquettes with pickles and peach mostarda. On first bite, the salty, sour and sweet seem to clash, but it got strangely addictive afterwards.

Trotter croquettes, pickles and peach mostarda

Trotter croquettes, pickles and peach mostarda

Beet and melon salad with mint and farro

Beet and melon salad with mint and farro

Grilled zucchini with zucchini flowers and ricotta

Grilled zucchini with zucchini flowers and ricotta

 

I skipped the pastas and went straight to the main dish. But my friends all said the lobster ravioli is worth a try.

My personal favorite is the lamb. The restaurant normally gets a whole lamb and that night they were serving the legs. It is just the perfect amount of rare with lightly seared outside. I don’t know what the ingredients are for the sauce, but it played very well with the lamb. I did not find it has the usual “lamb taste” that might put some people off. It’s simply tender and flavorful.

Kamouraska lamb, summer polenta and vegetables

Kamouraska lamb, summer polenta and vegetables

Grilled cauliflower steak with smoked lentil vinaigrette

Grilled cauliflower steak with smoked lentil vinaigrette

Tuna puttanesca with romanesco

Tuna puttanesca with romanesco

The dish that took the second place is the ribs! The meat was just falling off the bones and melting in the mouth. Totally worth a try!

Ribs with red pepper sauce, caponata

Ribs with red pepper sauce, caponata

 

I have to mention that Nora Gray has an impressive wine list as well. Unfortunately we didn’t get to explore it much during our visit. For wine lovers, I’m sure you will be able to find new favorites by chatting with the sommelier and hearing his recommendations.

Bar

Bar 

 

Nora Gray

1391 Rue Saint-Jacques Montreal, QC H3C4J4

(514) 419-6672

Nora Gray on Urbanspoon

Antep Kabab – Addictive Turkish Cuisine

Antep Kabab is a small Turkish restaurant located near Concordia University. They have the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had in Montreal! Every time I pass by the neighborhood, I can’t resist the urge to drop in and get a sandwich to go. At $6.50 each, it’s a steal!

The restaurant bakes their own bread that is soft and chewy on the inside with plenty of air, and slightly crispy outside. The meat is grilled to perfection and just the right amount of charcoal. They have the option of chicken, beef, and lamb. But chicken is definitely my favorite. It’s flavorful and not dry at all.

If you can eat spicy food, ask for some spice in the sandwich. It makes the taste so much better. But beware, it’s REALLY spicy.

When I’m feeling like a piglet, I’d order their platter with extra bread (because just half a bread is certainly not enough!).

Antep Kabab - Chicken Sandwich

Antep Kabab – Chicken Sandwich

Antep Kabab - Platter

Antep Kabab – Platter

 

Antep Kabab

1626 de Maisonneuve Ouest Montreal

(514) 903-7979
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Kanbai – Amazing Szechuan cuisine in Montreal!

Kanbai is probably my favorite Chinese restaurant in Montreal. I love spicy Szechuan cuisine and Kanbai is arguably one of the most authentic Szechuan restaurants in the city. Don’t be scared if you can’t eat spicy food, because there’re plenty of non-spicy options to choose from in the menu.

As you can see from the amount of photos here, I’ve been there too many times and I have sampled 70% of the menu. Most of the dish are very delicious and I’m always stuck with the dilemma of whether to try new things or order old favorites every visit.

My favorite dishes would be the following:

(I included Chinese names of the dishes because I don’t really remember what the English translations are on the menu. When in doubt, show the waiter the Chinese names :P)

Fish in chili sauce (水煮鱼) – The amount of burning red chili peppers floating on the top of the soup may seem daunting. But don’t worry, it’s not as spicy as it looks! As long as you avoid chewing on the peppers, you’ll be able to enjoy the fish just as much!

Cumin chicken with potatoes (大盘鸡) – There are two different cumin chicken if I remember correctly. The one I recommend is the one with potatoes in them. Potato soaks up all the spicy sauce and I might like them better than the bone-in chicken chunks!

Beef slices with chili sauce (夫妻肺片) – This is a cold dish with beef slices and beef stomach (I think). Don’t think about it and just pretend it’s all beef. You won’t even realize there’re intestines.

Pea leaves with garlic (蒜蓉豆苗) – The vegetables are all good with a little bit of garlic in them. I don’t normally recommend a seemingly plain dish of green leaves. But this is a lot tastier than it looks!

 

Kanbai - Clams with Black Bean Sauce

Kanbai – Clams with Black Bean Sauce

Kanbai - Beef

Kanbai – Beef

Kanbai - Vegetables

Kanbai – Vegetables

Kanbai - Steamed Fish

Kanbai – Steamed Fish

Kanbai - Cumin chicken with potatoes

Kanbai – Cumin chicken with potatoes

Kanbai - Fish in chili soup

Kanbai – Fish in chili soup

Kanbai - Eggplant

Kanbai – Eggplant

Kanbai - Hot pot

Kanbai – Hot pot

Kanbai - Beef slices in chili sauce

Kanbai – Beef slices in chili sauce

Kanbai - Cumin Lamb

Kanbai – Cumin Lamb

Kanbai - Saliva chicken (no saliva is used in the making of this dish, unless you pissed off the waiter...)

Kanbai – Saliva chicken (no saliva is used in the making of this dish, unless you pissed off the waiter…)

 

There are two locations, one on downtown St-Catherine street and the other one in Chinatown on Clark street. Personally I prefer the Chinatown location because it’s more spacious, more items on the menu, and the waiter is also more hilarious. The older waiter is not afraid to joke with you. Don’t be offended. 🙂

 

Kanbai(红翻天)

Downtown

1813 St Catherine West Montreal, QC

(514) 933-6699

 

Chinatown

1110 Rue Clark Montréal, QC

(514) 871-8778

 

Restaurant KanBai on Urbanspoon

Il Focolaio – Wood Oven Pizza

Il Focolaio is an authentic pizza restaurant in downtown specializing in maple wood burning oven pizza.

In addition to almost 100 different choices of topping combinations, the best feature is the pizza dough cooked in their famous wood fired ovens. The dough is crispy and chewy but not hard at all. I didn’t know pizza could taste so different before I tried Il Focolaio!

 

Some of my favorites are:

Arugula: Pesto (with almonds), fresh arugula, balsamic glaze, fresh tomatoes (with garlic, oregano, basil) soft swiss cheese

I’m normally a meat lover. For me to recommend a vegetarian pizza, that means it’s pretty darn good!

Al Prosciutto: Tomato sauce, prosciutto, mozzarella, mushrooms

Prosciutto makes everything better, just like bacon. 😛

Volcano: Sauce, pepperoni, pancetta, hot italian sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella, hot peppers

This is one of their Calzone options. For those who don’t know, Calzone is like a pizza hot pocket, with the fillings on the inside. Volcano is spicy, hot pocket indeed!

 

Il Focolaio - Said Tomato sauce, capicollo, pepperoni, ham, hot italian sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella, green peppers, olives, hot peppers

Il Focolaio – Said
Tomato sauce, capicollo, pepperoni, ham,
hot italian sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella, green
peppers, olives, hot peppers

 

Il Focolaio

Rue Du Square Phillips, Montreal, QC H3B 3E9

(514) 879-1045

Il Focolaio Pizza Resto on Urbanspoon