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Gnocchi and mackerel dishes at Hoogan et Beaufort

The first Current Crush of the year! I’ve visited quite a few restaurants and coffee shops lately and below are some of the ones I retained. Enjoy this edition and don’t forget to check out the other Current Crushes here!

1212 St-Zotique East, Montreal / +1 514 303 1204
Lunch: Tuesday to Friday: 11:30am – 2pm / Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday: 5:30pm – 10pm

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Carbonara with clams at Luciano Trattoria

“Simplicity and fresh ingredients” are the driving force behind chef Luciano D’Orazio’s neighbourhood trattoria. To start your meal, try the polipo (octopus) salad or the beef carpaccio then dive right into the luscious homemade pasta dishes. If you like pasta, this is where you will find some of the best in town. My carbonara con vongole (with clams) was rich, creamy and outstanding and so were the toothsome rigatoni with meat ragoût and the light-as-air ricotta gnocchi with tomato sauce. The wine list is well priced and the ambiance is casual and unpretentious, making Luciano the kind of restaurant where one wishes to become a regular.


4095 Molson, Montreal / +1 514 903 1233
Lunch: Wednesday to Friday: 11:30am – 13:30pm / Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday: 5:30pm – 10:30pm / Brunch: Sundays: 10am – 2pm

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Beautiful desserts at Hoogan et Beaufort

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Brunch at Hoogan et Beaufort

After a two-year hiatus, chef Marc-André Jetté (formerly of Les 400 coups) is finally back and his fans–including me!–couldn’t be more pleased. Sommelier William Saulnier joins chef Jetté as co-owner of the beautiful Hoogan et Beaufort located inside Technopôle Angus. The impressively high original wood ceilings, the large windows and the open kitchen with its wood burning oven all contribute in creating a luminous space that makes you want to linger. The cuisine here is refined, elegant, seasonal and focused on local ingredients. The plates are beautiful and whatever you do, don’t skip dessert because they’re just delicious! I’ve already tried their brunch and lunch and can’t wait to go back for dinner soon. Welcome back chef!


470 de la Gauchetière West, Montreal / +1 514 878 3666
Monday to Friday: 7am – 11pm / Saturday & Sunday: 5pm – 11pm

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Great Neapolitan pizza at Fiorellino in downtown Montreal

Beautiful tile work, high ceilings, warm woods, colour accents, oversized lighting fixtures and an unobstructed view of the wood-burning oven all lend a great warm ambiance to this new and spot in downtown Montreal. Fiorellino has the feel of a neighbourhood restaurant with the added twist of being really cool and filled with beautiful people. Start your meal with the creamy burrata served with homemade grissini and the raw mushroom salad then dive into a Neapolitan-style pizza Margherita. The dough is thin, crispy on the edges and has just the right amount of chewiness. The tomato sauce is fabulous and the cheese fresh and delicate. Fiorellino opens at 7am weekdays, just in case you’re craving an Italian-style breakfast before heading to the office.

I’ve added this restaurant to my article on the best pizzerias in Montreal.


5589 Parc Avenue, Montreal / +1 514 303 1900
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 2pm / Lunch: Thursday & Friday: 11am – 2pm / Dinner: Thursday to Sunday: 5pm – 10pm

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Chef Danny St-Pierre’s simple yet flavourful dishes at Petite Maison

EDIT June 1, 2016: Petite Maison is now open for dinner as well.

Chef Danny St-Pierre’s restaurant opening was one of the most anticipated in Montreal this winter. It finally opened a few weeks ago on Parc Avenue in the heart of the Mile End. Serving a set lunch and brunch menu for now (the restaurant will open for dinner once it receives its alcohol permit), Petite Maison has indeed the feel of being in someone’s home. Located in the basement of a triplex, it’s decorated with paintings and books and serves a purposefully simple–yet delicious–cuisine. Must tries include the chef’s now famous signature dish, the “poutine inversée”, as well as the black pudding. I also really enjoyed the carbonara served with a big chunk of house braised ham and the homemade corn bread baked fresh every 30 minutes.


1006 Boulevard St-Laurent, Montreal / +1 514 800 2959
Sunday – Thursday: 9am-9pm / Friday & Saturday: 9am to 10pm

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Beef soup with hand pulled noodles at Lan Zhou in Montreal’s chinatown

Take a block of dough, stretch it out, bring your hands back together and you now magically have two strands of dough. Repeat and you get four strands. Repeat again and you get eight. Roll the dough slightly before you pull and you get round noodles. Whaaat? I watch the man pull noodles in the window for 10 minutes and I couldn’t figure out how this ancient technique worked. It really doesn’t matter though because all you need to know is that the Lan Zhou-style beef soup at this odd spot located above a grocery store in Chinatown is delicious. Choose your noodle thickness (I recommend the thick round udon-style ones) and the size (the small was large enough) and dig in! This will certainly induce cravings.


1268 Van Horne Avenue, Montreal / +1 514 508 0828
Tuesday to Saturday: 6pm – 11pm

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This 25-seat restaurant is mainly just bar seating and that’s fine by me. There is no menu, instead, the kitchen team creates a 5-course menu based on seasonal ingredients. The main ingredients are written on post-its and pinned to a board, very casual-like, just in case you need to flag an allergy. I would recommend you sit at the far end of the bar and watch the cooking action behind it. The entire menu was excellent but stand out dishes include the excellent octopus, heirloom bean salad, bean purée, harissa and purple potato as well as the seared eggplant, sweet potato purée, halloumi and marinated onions, my favourite of the night. Eggplants and helium are two of my favourite foods and the dish’s contrasting flavours and textures were beautifully mastered. Provisions’ cocktails are just as good as their food so don’t forget to order one.


156 St Zotique East, Montreal / +1 514 701 3735

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Trou de beigne’s donuts

The thing about donuts is that they’re only good when they’re fresh. At the new Trou de Beigne store, they make them on site so they’re (almost) always fresh, with the chance of running out when the crowds pile in. Grab a donut (or 5) and a coffee and hangout at the cheerful and colourful store which is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. With flavours like s’mores, espresso (my favourite), blizzard, maple bacon, cookie dough, and the classic cinnamon sugar, you’re going to want to try all 9 available flavours.


And independent coffee shops keep opening in Montreal, which I am certainly not complaining about. Here are a couple I’ve visited lately.

Café Les oubliettes
6201 St-Vallier, Montreal / +1 438 384 6688
Monday to Friday: 8am – 5pm / Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 5pm

This light-filled cafe served a decent cup of coffee as well as a great selection of breakfast items, salads, tartines and pastries. The staff is very welcoming and it’s a great spot to work or to catch up with friends.

Bar Kabinet
92 Laurier Avenue West, Montreal / +1 514 279 3555
Monday to Friday: 8am – 4pm / Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 5pm

bar kabinet coffee shop montreal © Will Travel for Food

A latte at Russian-inspired Bar Kabinet

It feels a little bit like a speakeasy, this tiny, Russian-insired bar that doubles as a coffee shop during the day. It feels like no one knows about it but you really should because the coffee is delicious and the space so unique. I always feel like it’s my very own secret spot.

Cafellini Beaubien
758 Beaubien East, Montreal / +1 514 507 7581
Monday to Friday: 7am – 6pm / Saturday: 8am – 6pm / Sunday: 9am – 6pm

Cafellini serves an Italian-style darker roast so the coffee is more bitter than acidic. The space is luminous yet small, the pastries are good and one important detail to note is that there’s no WiFi, so go there to converse and not to work.

Café Pagaille
101 Villeneuve West, Montreal / +1 514 563 1636
Monday to Friday: 7am – 6pm / Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 5pm

Pagaille is a cute little café on a sunny corner in the heart of the Mile End. Recycled wood, a kids corner and homemade everything, from morning pastries to smoothies to soups and salads, lend this cafe a quaint charm and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that makes one want to linger and do some work or chat with friends.

These have all been added to my map of Montreal’s best independent cafés. You can also follow my twitter list of Montreal independent cafés here.

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