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African Restaurants in Montreal


michaelkingdom
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I am looking to eat african cuisine while in Montreal. Do any of these restaurants ring a bell for anyone?

Afrika

Amine

Au Coin

Au Tarot

Au Vieil Istanbul

Boucherie Le Soleil Halal

Decouvrir Le Senegal

La Calebasse

Le Piton de la Fournaise

Les Delices De L'Ile Maurice

Restaurant Le Kerkennah

Restaurant l'Etoile de Tunis

Restaurant Rites Berberes

Soleil de Marrakech

Michael K. :smile:

Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere a Jew dies. --- Milton Berle

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The ones I've eaten at:

Amine, 3549 Lacombe (Côte-des-Neiges metro), 514 739-1817

A Lebanese pastry/pizza shop that has opened a grill next door. Both are popular with local students because they're cheap. Foodwise, the grill is OK. The pastries are leaden.

Au Tarot, 500 Marie-Anne East, 514 849-6860

One of the city's better coucouseries. BYOB with acceptable wine glasses. Cozy décor. Friendly service.

Au Vieil Istanbul, 1247 Bleury, 514 861-6094

Not really African, you know. Half-decent homestyle Turkish food in an uninspiring setting. Totally indifferent service. Lunch is the better deal, dinner a bit pricey for what you get.

Le Piton de la Fournaise, 835 Duluth East, 514 526-3936

Will be posting a short write-up of my recent dinner there under the thread of the same name (see below). Pretty good food, closer to Indian than African. Unpretentious décor, casual service, noisy.

Les Rites Berbères, 4697 de Bullion, 514 844-7863

A so-so coucouserie (the veggies are way overcooked). The real reason to go is the méchoui, a marinated, spit-roasted leg of lamb. Early every summer, we get together a group of ten, order the méchoui a week in advance, start with an assortment of three Algerian salads, move on to the méchoui with couscous and veggies and end with a couple of platters of three desserts in petits fours-type portions. Under C$50 a person, including taxes and service. It's a BYOB but the owner's a wine lover, so the glasses are good. The interior is kind of threadbare and grey but the enclosed terrace is a lovely place on a warm evening.

Am surprised not to see any Ethiopian restos on your list. Montreal has at least two: Le Nil Bleu (3706 St-Denis, 514 285-4628) and Au Messob d'Or (5690 Monkland, 514 488-8620). IMHO, neither is anything to write home about and the latter is the better of the two, though the difference may not enough to warrant the schlepp to deepest, darkest NDG.

Edited by carswell (log)
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Haven't been there in a while, but I remember Les Delices De L'Ile Maurice as being quite good. It's at 272 rue Hickson in Verdun and the phone number is 514-768-6023. I think it's closed on Sundays. I'd be wary about going there on a really cold night, since there's not a whole lot of space to wait inside. I've never been there and not had to wait at least a few minutes.

The chef/waiter (and /owner, I think) is a real character. There is no printed menu here - he recites the choices for you. Basically, you choose your meat and your sauce, and there are several varieties of each. Prior to your main, you get lentil soup, a small plate of fried onions, chicken wings that my husband really likes, and samosas. From start to finish, we've never had anything by great food. The samosas are particularly good and I usually order some extra to bring home.

I don't recall exact pricing, but I know it's an excellent value for the amount of food that you get. I want to say that it ran about $27 for two people, probably including a couple of sodas, but I'm just not positive. This isn't a high-end restaurant by any stretch of the imagination, but overall it's always been a positive and enjoyable experience.

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Thanks for your replies. Shiv, Les Delices De L'Ile Maurice sounds like just the place to make a great memory. I love places like this.

Carswell, of all the African food I have eaten, Egyptian and Ethiopian are my favorites. Are either of those Ethiopian restos worth visiting? I will eat almost anywhere, as long as the food is good. In fact, a certain lack of ambiance is a plus for me.

Edited by michaelkingdom (log)

Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere a Jew dies. --- Milton Berle

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Add to what Michael Kingdom just posted(about the Ethiopian restos). Carswell, I would be interested if you could elaborate about the food at Au Messob d'Or. From what I gather, you think that the place is not too good. I got a recommendation for this restaurant not too long ago.

-Steve

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Steve, I don't mean to say that Au Messob d'Or isn't enjoyable, just that it has yet to provide me with a "wow" experience. That said, I haven't eaten there in a year or two. Anyways, Ethiopian food is a trip: the "plate" is a huge round of spongy flatbread, a medium pizza-sized pancake; piles of various dry stews are placed on the bread; you pull off pieces of bread to pick up stew and put them in your mouth.

michaelkingdom, the two restaurants are my only exposure to Ethiopian cooking, so my frame of reference is limited. Of the two, I prefer the food and family ambience of Au Messob d'Or, where I've eaten three times (friends of mine live just around the corner). Also, they've always believed us when we've said we like spice; the one time I ate at Le Nil Bleu, the food lacked fire despite our assurances when ordering that ours were not your typical Canadian palates.

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Forgot to mention that the restaurant column in current issue of Voir, one of the city's alternative weekly tabloids, features a very positive review of Les Rites Berbères (click here to go to the current restaurant review; come Thursday, you'll have to then click on the restaurant's name in the left column). The reviewer, Jean-Philippe Tastet, likes the décor and sings the praises of the couscous per se (it's true that it's very well done). Readers' comments are uniformly positive, too. My Algerian friends are somewhat less enthusiastic but their standards may be impossibly high. M. Tastet has posted on this board in the past, so perhaps he'll chime in at some point. Like me, he's big on the terrace: "Aux beaux jours, Les Rites berbères offrent l'un des petits jardins intérieurs les plus rafraîchissants en ville.

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I've noticed an African restaurant while driving through Ville St. Pierre. It's on the left going up towards Montreal West. Looks just grungy enough to be authentic :smile: Anyone know anything about it... I keep meaning to stop by.

Oh, and the bread mentioned above is Injera - a traditional Ethiopian sour (naturally yeasted) flatbread, made from teff flour. It gets that spongy effect from being yeasted, being very wet (a batter actually, poured like crepes), only cooked on one side, and traditionally in a large wok-like pan, covered so it steams a bit. I actually just tried making it a few weeks ago, but since I couldn't find teff, I cheated and used partially sifted whole wheat. Here are some photos:

http://www.AdventuresInBaking.com/pss/

Paul

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http://www.PaulsFinest.com

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Thanks DK. Yes, I make almost all my breads using my sourdough starter now (no commercial yeast). Those afghan nans were actually made using starter only. I started it from a basic flour-based concoction a couple of years ago and have kept refreshing it ever since. The Bread Builders by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott offers a really good technical description of the sourdough process and microbiology (Wing is an MD), and it's an especially cool book because there are NO recipes -- it basically gives you enough info to be able to make naturally leavened bread without having to use a formula (or to make your own, as I do now, based on the variables involved and what I want to accomplish), which is where the real fun begins with bread baking. The only times I use commercial yeast now are for pizza (usually because the kids yell "PIZZA" and so I don't have time to do a sourdough version!), enriched breads (need help to overcome all that fat and sugar!), and some ryes which use both a natural rye sour and then commercial yeast in the final dough.

Paul

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http://www.PaulsFinest.com

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ps999, I am not quite sure what you mean by "grungy enough to be authentic".

Anyway, MK or anyone interested in experiencing Ethiopian food for the first time in Montreal, I would recommend Au Messob D'or in NDG over Abiata and Le Nil Bleu. Having been to all 3 several times, I personally find the food more flavourful and the service simply better, compensating for the lack of chichiness that the other two have. It's definitely "good eats". But let me know what you think, if you decide to try all 3.

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Hey Lemonpoppy. It was just my way of saying that it certainly did NOT look fancy from the outside (driving by). The sign said something like "African food" or something like that! I love taking chances on places like that, because I find they're rarely mediocre: usually really bad, or really good. Not that I like *dirty* or anything like that, but I get a kick out of places that are just about good food properly prepared and at fair prices and with acceptable service. I don't care too much how good looking or fawning the staff is, or how fancy the cutlery or plastic baubles on the wall are... I guess it's a result of my parents' incredibly cheap travel style, where I ate a lot of really great (and really bad) street and "ethnic" food when I was young!

Paul

Edited by pss999 (log)
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For what it's worth, the February 26th issue of Voir has a review of Les Délices de l'île Maurice. A not especially positive review, I might add. In case you don't read French, reviewer Paul Gagné complians of oily eggplant, tough chicken and breakfast link-like sausages among the appetizers. With one exception — the honey pork, which he likens to Chinese-style spareribs — he characterizes the mains as disappointing: oversauced, underspiced, often greasy. Dessert, he says, reminds him of Halloween: a few small candies and a bowl of jujubes. "Cons: somewhat brusque service, dishes that lack intensity. Pros: unique ambience, affordability." He also mentions that it's a BYO and extremely popular.

Your milage may vary, of course. In their posted comments, several readers disagree with him.

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If you want a meal that'll leave nice memories you definately should not go to Les Delices de l'ile Maurice. Believe me, my parents are from Mauritius and i personnaly know Sylvestre, the owner.The food is way too much greasy and the place not so clean. Mauritian cuisine needs more attention and less vegetable oil like in this case. Try Le Piton de la fournaise.

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La Ravane seems to be a little too modern for the type of food it is serving. I've only tried it at lunch and my first impressions were not that great. The night menu seemed a bit more upscale. I don't know what to say about this place. I have to admit that i eat a lot better in my own family and it costs a quarter of the price to feed an army of twenty. I might not be the right person to judge their effort.

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