Best lunch spots in Old Montreal

4 May


So for the past few months, I’ve been working near Square Victoria, and I’ve discovered a number of lunch spots well worth your attention.

Officina
Formerly known as Beniamino, this unassuming trattoria offers an impressive variety of sandwiches, along with a variety of salads, roasted vegetables and a few plated dishes of pasta, meat or fish. They’ve just recently redecorated and I love their homely-yet-industrial look. Service here is always lovely – the staff is friendly and patient, even when your decision-making process is unusually slow, and even when you sit in front of them shamelessly stuffing your face with their wondrous brownies… and yes, I am speaking from experience.

455 Viger Ouest
514-861-7770

Beniamino & Co. on Urbanspoon

Safran et Cannelle
Safran et Cannelle is a family-owned, quaint Moroccan restaurant. I’ve had their lamb and apricot tajine, as well as their rabbit, raison and onion one, and both were soul-warming, sweet and sticky. Included with any main course are just-out-of-the-oven pieces of bread and a salad, along with an absolutely beautiful, crave-worthy cup of Moroccan tea (green tea + mint tea + a lot of sugar). Prices are decent (especially considering the perks!), portions are generous, and service, although it can be a little slow, is charming.

420 Notre-Dame Ouest
514-985-3030

Safran et Cannelle on Urbanspoon

Brit & Chips
What? You haven’t heard about this place yet? Unpossible! Fish ‘n’ Chips at its best – not too greasy and not too salty, yet defiantly satisfying. I love their Haddock in Maple batter, but I am especially grateful to them for importing one of my favourite British chocolate bars – the Curly Wurly. And rest assured, they also have a vegetarian option: Haloumi in a Chipotle batter. You can read my full-length review here.

433 McGill
514-840-1001

Brit & Chips on Urbanspoon

Le Gros Jambon
Lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, duck grilled cheese, sticky toffee pudding – if you’re in need of a temporary pick-me-up, this is the place for you. I say “temporary”, because this food will undoubtedly make you sleepy for the rest of the day. Le Gros Jambon is a small diner (no tables – just counters and stools here) with a lot of attitude. It’s a fun and boisterous place, from the menu to the pig-shaped plates, the staff, the music, and the decor! I also love their cinnamon-infused poutine and their homemade spiced doughnuts.  And I’m told they have fabulous drinks, but I’m in no way encouraging you to get drunk in the middle of a workday.

286 Notre-Dame Ouest
514-508-3872

Le Gros Jambon on Urbanspoon

Café Pavé

Café Pavé has an impressive array of sandwiches on offer. There’s chicken, prosciutto, striploin, homemade sausage, 18-hour-braised pulled pork, and maple-flavoured bacon. There’s artichoke spread, creamy pesto, aioli, tzatziki, and goat cheese. Hungry yet? I’ve tried the Monterey (pulled pork, spinach, red onion, peppers and artichoke spread) and the Praha (sausage, spinach, tomatoes and pesto spread) and they were both delicious; served on a warm and soft ciabatta, they were flavourful and very generous. Plus, for 13$ each time, I got a sandwich, a soup (you can also choose a salad or a bowl of chips), a drink and a cookie! Thanks to This is Why We’re Fat for the tip.

Café Pavé on Urbanspoon

Olive and Gourmando

Like Brit ‘n’ Chips, if not more so, this is sort of an obvious suggestion, in that it is featured in every tourist guide for Montreal. My favourite sandwich here is the Gustavo: grain-fed chicken, Portobello mushrooms, red onions, maple dijonnaise and Havarti cheese, but I’ve also enjoyed the Cubain (ham, roasted pork, Gruyère and a homemade pickle-y mayo) and the homemade ricotta plate (I’ve yet to try their mac ‘n’ cheese, but I want to, I want to, I want to!). There are plenty of vegetarian options here, and great drink options (their homemade raspberry lemonade and their hot chocolate spring to mind), but the real draw for me is their dessert counter. I just can’t resist their Not A Red Velvet beet and dark chocolate cupcakes, but I’m also thoroughly enticed by their “extraordinary” brownies, raspberry cheesecake brioche, fig scones, or turtle bars – a shortbread cookie topped with salty caramel, pecans and a chocolate ganache. Prices are a little steep and the place is always packed, but it is definitely worth it, once in a while!

351 Saint-Paul Ouest
514-350-1083

Olive Et Gourmando on Urbanspoon

Sésame

This an attractive, spacious restaurant with a huge menu – there are dumplings and spring rolls; Korean chicken wings and salmon tartare; fried rice and pad thaï; chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetarian dishes with orange, lemongrass, peanut or sweet and sour sauces; as well as sushi and… poutine: General Tao poutine, Thaï poutine, or Indian chicken poutine. I haven’t tried any of them but I’m sure they’re… interesting! The ingredients are fresh and everything is cooked in front of you, but the food was disappointing upon my last two visits here, and I’m not sure I’ll return. Still, I love their tea samples and big pitchers of flavoured water (watermelon, cucumber, orange, lemon, you name it!).

380 Saint-Jacques Ouest
514-439-4576

(What?! No Urbanspoon page?!)

Places I’ve yet to try:
Five Guys
Cluny Art Bar
Thé Mon Café

Any other spots I’ve yet to discover? Let me know! Especially if you can recommend an Indian restaurant nearby!