We’ve all been hungry enough to eat a whole chicken, but where, as students, can we afford to actually satiate our budgeted stomachs in such a way? Turns out the golden light of deliverance shines brightest on Romados and Coco Rico, two venerable Portuguese roast chicken delis.
So what better way to kick off the midterm season than with another round of food wars to settle which of these Portuguese pleasers are the most palatable. Let the chicken fight begin!
Round one: Romados, a deli whose mouth-watering reputation precedes it among Montreal foodies – and one who lives up to the talk (or rather drool). Upon arrival and without delay, an entire half a chicken was ordered with combo. And by combo, think full course meal.
After carving the half chicken, they pile a Styrofoam takeout box with a decadent display of rice, crisp tossed salad and enough fries to make your heart want to book an appointment with a cardiologist post-consumption. While drinks are not included (although highly recommended!), the happy surprise of a complimentary fresh-baked sourdough bun and custard fruit tart awaits you at the counter. If you aren’t beside yourself with an over encompassing level of joy at how amazing this place is, you may still be able to note with flabbergastation how this all comes out to less than $10.
Romados makes your taste buds love you; the chicken is tender and satisfying in a way only a home-cooked meal feels. The rice is savoury and flavoured with subtle herbs. The bun and the salad do well to cut the grease of the chicken, which is buried under all the sides, marinating in its own juices. And the fries. What can even be said? Thick-cut, piquant, and abundant, they complete the banquet in the best way. There’s enough food to last for two if not three meals, so it’s good to stop the main course about halfway through to sample the custard tart, a creamy and decadent finale.
Next stop, Coco Rico. After ordering half a chicken with a combo, it is already evident that there is no comparison with Romados in terms of bang for your buck. Not to say there isn’t ample food – it can be stretched to two meals comfortably, but definitely not three. That said, there is a generous halved chicken with roast whole potatoes, a side of salad of your choosing (coleslaws or noodle salads similar to what you’d find at a Metro or IGA), and the option to add on an egg tart (at additional cost). The price is not bad coming out to a bit over $11.
In terms of taste, Coco Rico is definitely up there. If you’re one to enjoy the devil on your tongue, say yes when they offer the spicy gravy and liberal powdering of seasoned paprika over the chicken and potatoes. Perhaps it is this added help, but the food seems only to increase in tastiness throughout the meal. You’re guaranteed to be picking the bones in no time. For dessert, it’s worth un-notching the belt to sample the egg tart; indisputably better than at Romados, both pastry and filling melt on your tongue. The one complaint on leaving is that the chicken is a bit dry.
Both these delis will leave you haunted by gustatory cravings, but a winner must be declared, and that winner is Romados. The food, the price, and the eatery setup itself (cozy, bright, and warm yet well ventilated) were all just unbeatable. If you haven’t been and you’re craving roast chicken, you’re craving Romados – you just don’t know it yet.
Rotisserie Romados is located on 115 Rachel East St.
Coco Rico is located on 3907 Saint Laurent Boulevard.