Five continents downtown
Need a change of scenery? Here are five destinations that will whisk you away for a lunch hour or coffee break.
Christian Faure is one of the many ambassadors of French cuisine that have taken up residence in Quebec. A renowned pastry chef, he has received many international awards recognizing his talent and delicious creations. His bakery counter–cum-boutique, located on De Maisonneuve Boulevard, ranks with even the chicest of Parisian pâtisseries: impeccable countertops, immaculate étagères filled with pastel-coloured boxes of tea and sparkling glass displays featuring multicoloured mini-tarts. If the words “butter croissant,” “Paris-Brest,” “traditional millefeuille,” “chouquette” and “cannelé” are music to your ears, you’re in the right place! Our advice: take your time choosing which treat you have your heart set on (or maybe it’s the reverse—does it choose you?), take a seat and savour it slowly with a coffee, just like they do in France.
Open every day from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
1225 De Maisonneuve Blvd., maisonchristianfaure.ca
Being somewhat smaller in terms of numbers, the Argentine community in Montreal offers only a few places able to recreate the ambience of a Buenos Aires tavern. But from the moment you walk into Atelier d’Argentine, the art deco environment signals that the bar has just been raised in terms of elegance and cuisine. Its sober design in wood and leather lends the restaurant a masculine character, although it is run by a woman, and head chef Natalia Machado insists that her steakhouse feels welcoming to women. A cross between Italian and Spanish cuisine, the menu prominently features assorted cuts of grilled beef and pork (asado) with chimichurri, Argentine wine, tapas and plates for sharing, which are especially popular during the daily festive 5-à-8s. On some nights the soft glow of candlelight also embraces tango dancers—the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two.
Open every day (Mon., Tues., Wed.: 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Thurs., Fri.: 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Sat.: 10:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Sun.: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
1458 Crescent St., atelierargentine.com
Ramen is so popular in Japan there is even an entire museum dedicated to it! And it’s in the hopes of seeing one of their recipes featured there one day that the team at Schlouppe Bistrot Nakamichi work all-out seven days a week perfecting their featured dish. This narrow restaurant offering minimalist decor and a warm welcome (in Japanese, even) makes the best ramen in Montreal, according to experts. Prepared from a base of chicken stock, vegetables, noodles and meat, this renowned Japanese dish is made in the traditional manner, yet reinterpreted depending on the season and what’s fresh. They even offer a Montreal version and a completely vegan menu, which is rare. But no matter which option you choose, don’t forget to slurp loudly like the Japanese—it’s only polite.
Open every day (Sun. to Thurs.: noon to 10 p.m.; Fri., Sat.: noon to 11 p.m.)
2159 Mackay St., Facebook.com/SchlouppeBistrotNakamichi
What with its pink neon, Formica tables and leather banquette seating, those nostalgic for classic fifties diners—or tourists looking for snap-worthy sights—will find their happy place at Deville Dinerbar. And they’ll be cheered not just by the decor, but by the menu as well: ribs, hamburgers, fried chicken, fish-and-chips and club sandwiches all come with sides of crispy house fries. Mid-afternoon cravings will definitely find satisfaction in their menu of shakes, which all come topped with whipped cream and a cherry. If it’s 5-à-7 fare you’re looking for, why not try a cocktail or two? You’ll be sure to find the perfect tipple on their menu, which features over 40 different drinks.
Open every day (Sun. to Thurs.: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri., Sat.: 11 a.m. to midnight)
1425 Stanley St., devilledinerbar.com
Exotic, warm and fun—Koa Lua is the perfect place to cheer yourself up when the snow starts falling. The surfboard, ukulele and flowery fabrics all transport you to the beautiful islands of Hawaii, and Hawaiian poke is this resto’s specialty. Though the dish is traditionally made with raw fish, soy sauce and rice, here the bowl is put together in ten different ways—with pork, tofu or salmon, as well as hemp seeds, ginger, papaya and pineapple. Packed full of colours, flavours and vitamins, this meal is a healthy choice you can feel free to abuse out of all moderation, whether morning or night, even several times a week! Our only warning: Don’t look outside.
Open Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
1446 Sainte-Catherine St. W., koalua.ca
Text: Marilyse Hamelin