Yum or Yikes: ChuChai

ChuChai, located at 4088 St-Denis St., offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian Thai options.

The entrance of the restaurant is quaint but once you push through the large black curtains, the room opens up into a well-lit dining area. One wall was lined with bottles of alcohol from their drink menu and, facing the bar, a beautiful wall covered in a black and white mural. The soundtrack playing in the background was something to be noticed; they played recent pop songs, but also mixed in some classics from the 70s and 80s.

Ambiance: 4/5

ChuChai’s menu instantly drew me in online when I noticed their large variety of mock-meats, from dishes composed of noodles and mock-duck to wonton soups made with soy-based proteins. As a vegan, I am always interested in finding affordable options that are reminiscent of meals I loved before. 

My mother and I chose to order a variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts so we could try as much as possible. For an appetizer, I enjoyed a mock-shrimp platter that looked and tasted like real shrimp, and even had my mother questioning whether it was real. 

Food: 5/5

The price point is a little high, but for the portions and quality of ingredients, it is definitely worth it. For our main meals, my mom ordered an eggplant dish ($16) with a side of rice and I ordered a rice noodle dish with vegan duck ($17). 

Lastly, we ordered dessert. I had a tapioca pudding made with coconut milk ($7)—which I enjoyed slowly because it tasted so good—while my mother ordered a chocolate pudding ($6).

Price: 4/5

I have a severe peanut allergy and they serve dishes with peanuts so I was a little worried when ordering. However, the server assured me everything was cooked separately and while she couldn’t make any guarantees, there has never been an incident at the restaurant concerning allergies. She simply suggested it would be best to always come right when they open so there’s less chance of cross-contamination from other dishes.

Service: 5/5

Overall, the food would trick any non-vegan or vegetarian into thinking they were eating meat. It’s a unique way to make traditional Thai cuisine accessible to all.

Photos by Amanda Teixeira

Student Life

Yum or Yikes: Café Chat L’Heureux

Last week, I paid a visit to Café Chat L’Heureux.

Located in the heart of the Plateau, it’s one of two cat cafes in Montreal, where guests can enjoy their cup of coffee in the company of some feline friends. Café Chat L’Heureux opened in 2014, and has since become a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

The first cat cafe can be traced back to Taiwan in the late ‘90s. The concept was picked up by Japan shortly after, and spread across the rest of the world throughout the following decade. Now, many major North American cities have opened these cafes, their popularity supported by the growing influence of social media and a growing support for the adopt don’t shop movement.

Café Chat L’Heureux is currently home to roughly 10 cats, some of which were adopted from local shelters, and others which the shop foster. Upon entering the cafe, I was confused: where were all the cats? It took me a few moments to realize that the cats were, well, everywhere. Nestled in between cushions, curled up in corners, and perched on the beams overhead, the cats were camouflaged with their environment. Eventually, a few came out of their nests to say hello and—not to be dramatic—it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

The cafe’s ambiance was homey and mellow, with soft music playing overhead and guests chatting quietly, some of them relaxing on the couches, often with a cat resting beside them. I had the pleasure of enjoying my food while a tiny kitten rested on my lap, so it’s safe to say that I was pretty happy with the atmosphere.

Ambience: 7/5

The menu is entirely vegetarian, with a few vegan options as well, offering a selection of sandwich melts, salads, soups and smoothies. I tried their popular menu item dubbed “Cat Lady,” a grilled sandwich with goat cheese, cheddar, caramelized onions, fig jam and honey. The sandwich was delicious and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who enjoys rich comfort foods.

The cafe also offers a variety of lattes, cappuccinos and espressos, so I enjoyed my sandwich with a super tasty hazelnut latte. This was followed by a piece of cheesecake and a brownie that I shared with a friend. Unfortunately, the desserts didn’t live up to the main course, as I found the cheesecake a bit bland, and the brownie to have a texture closer to cake.

Food: 3.5/5

Price wise, the menu was a tad expensive—on average, sandwich melts cost around $14 each, coffees around $5 and desserts about $6.50. However, considering the fact that keeping cats alive is a costly affair, I could understand the need for higher prices and didn’t mind paying a little more than I normally would.

Price: 4/5

The employees at Café Chat L’Heureux were really nice, and you could tell that they really loved working with the cats. My only teeny-tiny complaint is that the service was slightly slow, but considering the relaxed atmosphere, I didn’t really think it was a big deal. I was in no rush to leave, that’s for sure!

Service: 4.5/5


Photo by Laurence B.D.


Yum or Yikes: Mimi & Jones

Mimi & Jones, the new entirely vegan diner in Mile End, embodies its location flawlessly. It’s eager to be hip, accomplishing something alternative, and mimicking a vintage scene. 

It was a spur of the moment decision I’m happy my friends and I made. After a sunny day spent wandering the Plateau and Mile End, crunching the gilded foliage beneath our boots, we swung into Mimi & Jones.

At 4 p.m., we were the only customers inside the tiny, bright locale. We slid into the only booth (from which, beyond the restaurant’s outdoor terrace, we had an uninterrupted view of Parc Avenue) and bopped along to the 50s rock and pop hits as we scanned the menu.

Furnished in retro decor (bar stools, black and white floor tiles, leather seats), at face value, Mimi & Jones appears to be just another modern take on a classic 50s diner. But the entirely vegan menu is what sets it apart from the rest.

Thankfully, Mimi & Jones doesn’t sacrifice greasy staples in the name of veganism. They impressively and creatively accomplish everything a regular diner would serve with strictly plant-based ingredients. We ordered cheeseburgers, milkshakes, deep-fried nuggets, caesar salad and ravioli in attempt to sample as much as we could from the short but concise menu. We were not let down.

Though Mimi & Jones is a licensed establishment, we chose not to spike our milkshakes and enjoyed the thick, sweet, creamy goodness just the same. I ordered the cheesecake flavour, which came adorned with morsels of tangy, melt-in-your-mouth cake that provided a nice contrast from the deliciously sugary shake.

Next, our food arrived in bright red baskets lined with checkerboard paper. Overall, the flavours and textures accurately mimicked those of their non-vegan counterparts, and were just as satisfying.

The Mimi Burger was exceptionally assembled: loaded with all the usual toppings, the handmade patty rounds off the perfect balance of flavours. The Croquettes Jones, which I ordered with the maple-dijon sauce, were simply addictive. The tofu was breaded and deep-fried to golden perfection resulting in crunchy, but not overly greasy nuggets. The ravioli, which we drowned in the rosé sauce, was equally delicious. The pasta pockets were nicely al dente and the tofu-almond “ricotta” filling was soft and creamy.

If there was one dish that disappointed, it was the caesar salad. Though it was enjoyable, topped with roasted chickpeas and capers, it lacked the essence of its traditional inspiration.

Though each individual appetizer, drink or dish wasn’t outrageously priced, the bill did add up to a little more than I was anticipating, especially considering portion sizes. However, vegan food can be expected to cost a little more, and we did leave thoroughly stuffed.

I’ll confess: I’ve been dreaming about the flavourful sauces and greasy goodies at Mimi & Jones since our impromptu afternoon adventure. However, I think next time, I’d go at night for a fresh experience. The diner and bar are open until 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, and until 8 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.

Comfortably retro, satisfyingly filling and innovatively delicious, I could go for a hearty burger and some crispy croquettes at Mimi & Jones any night of the week.

FOOD: 4.5/5

PRICE: 3.5/5




Photo by Noemi Stella Mazurek


Yum or Yikes: Umami

Little Italy’s new vegan ramen place may not have the best food, but it will feed your soul and make you feel like you just curled up in a duvet blanket on a cold winter evening.

What Umami Ramen doesn’t offer in flavour, it makes up for in cold-weather comfort. The moment my friend and I walked out of a crisp October evening and into the restaurant, I was flooded with relief; the atmosphere was welcoming and soothing, a lovely respite from the piercing wind outside. We didn’t make a reservation but were offered a seat at the bar.

Under warm lighting filtering through wooden lamps, simple menus were brought to us. Umami has limited options; with only four types of ramen to choose from and a handful of appetizer options, even the most indecisive, such as myself, needn’t struggle too hard to choose a dish.

Photo by Noemi Stella Mazurek

We settled on the Tokyo-style Shoyu ramen with the “chicken” Karaage and Kushikatsu panko-breaded veggie skewers as appetizers. Umami takes pride in their house-made noodles, tofu, and ferments, so I was really excited for the meal we were about to enjoy.

The Karaage was addictively crunchy, but without the spicy sesame mayo and lemon juice, a little bland. The veggie skewers were crisp on the outside and steaming on the inside. Aside from the sauce, this appetizer was delicious – the breaded eggplant’s succulent texture was perhaps the highlight of the whole meal – but microscopic! For $7, we were served three skewers with only two pieces of onion, eggplant, or okra each.

Then came the ramen. The noodles were tasty, but not spectacular, and the texture of yuba (tofu skin) was rubbery and unsettling. Sweet, sour, salty and bitter were ticked off by the shiitake, tomates confite, wakame and daikon, with the broth rounding off the palette with its decidedly umami quality. As a whole, the flavours of the toppings balanced each other off nicely, and I fell in love with the broth’s deep, rich, aroma.

Overall, the meal was immensely satisfying: not so much in regards to the food, but with how it made us feel. We left happy and comforted, full but not bloated.

I certainly intend on returning in order to try the other three ramen bowls (and the okonomiyaki cabbage pancake our table neighbours ordered) but, above all, to bask in the restaurant’s comforting ambiance. Umami is a safe haven of warmth and spice, a dining-experience must during the cold weather months.

3.5/5 for food,

3.5/5 for price,

5/5 for service,

5/5 for ambiance.


YUM or YIKES: Arepera

On my next vegetarian foodie adventure, I searched Montreal for a Latinx restaurant. My friends and I found Arepera when scouting where to eat dinner. My experience with Latinx food has never gone past Mexican, Brazilian or Salvadorian which are, more often than not, very meat-based cuisines.

Arepera is a Venezuelan restaurant in Montreal’s Plateau located on the pedestrian walkway Prince Arthur St. E. The restaurant is much larger than it looks, with bright yellow walls, similar to that in the Venezuelan flag. They also have old church benches in the waiting area, which I found was a really fun touch to the traditional look of the place.

The restaurant specializes in arepas, a Venezuelan-Colombian cornmeal bread stuffed with a variety of ingredients that forms a sort of sandwich. The arepa has a rich history dating back centuries. According to an article on, the cornbread was a staple in diets across many Indigenous tribes in Latin America, which are now distinguished as Venezuela and Colombia. According to the article, arepa got its name from the Latin-Indigenous word for corn, erepa.

Arepera is not labelled as a vegetarian restaurant but it has a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options featured on its lengthy menu, with options varying from $8 to $16 per arepa/plate. The menu is also 100 per cent gluten-free — since arepas are made from cornmeal, there’s no risk of contamination.

Queso y aguacate vegetarian arepa. Photo by Brittany Henriques.

I chose a serving of fried plantains as a starter and a mango juice to drink. I always teeter towards water instead of juices or soft drinks, but their juice flavours piqued my curiosity and I could not resist mango. My friend opted for a guava juice which was just as delightful.

The plantains were delicious and hot, and came with a cup of grated cheese instead of a dip, which I found interesting. From my Caribbean restaurant experience (plantains are common in Caribbean dishes), I’m used to having dipping sauce with the dish. At Arepera, the grated cheese stuck to the plantain and they actually ended up tasting incredible together. The plantains were so sweet and ripe that I found a dipping sauce unnecessary.

I had the queso y aguacate vegetarian arepa, which included cheese and avocado as the main stuffing ingredients. I had never had arepas before, nor have I ever had thick grilled cornbread, but it tasted incredible. I loved the texture and, because of the lack of wheat, the bread tasted light and I didn’t feel bloated afterwards. The dish also came with a small salad which I could not even get to because I was so full after the last bite of my arepa. My friends had the pabellón arepa (beef, black beans, plantains and feta cheese) and the llanera de pollo arepa (chicken, feta cheese and avocado). Both said they enjoyed every bite.

The restaurant was big, the staff was friendly and the food was incredible. I have no complaints aside from the fact that I would’ve liked for the arepa to have a choice of sauces to make it a little bit more flavourful when choosing a vegetarian option at least.

As a whole, I would rate Arepera:

4.5/5 for the food,
4.5/5 for the price,
4/5 for the service,
3/5 for the ambiance.

I would definitely recommend it to everybody. I believe this place would be more popular if the aesthetic, design and overall ambiance was more current and Instagram-worthy (I personally like the more traditional look they have going on, though).

This piece was written with the current Venezuelan Crisis in mind. Though western countries get to indulge in traditional Venezuelan dishes, residents of Venezuela are still going days without food in their stomachs.

For more information on the Venezuelan Crisis and the Government’s standpoint, click here


Graphic by @sundaeghost


YUM or YIKES!: Pigeon has the world’s worst coffee

Are you a student on the downtown campus who’s tired of getting their coffee from big-chain corporations like Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, Second Cup or Van Houte? Do you want a new spot that has a cool vibe, good service and good coffee? Well, that’s not Pigeon Espresso Bar because they have the world’s worst coffee.

Not actually, though, that’s just their slogan: “World’s Worst Coffee” is seen plastered all around the tiny coffee shop located a few storefronts down from the corner of Bishop St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd. (diagonally across from the Hall building). Whether on merch – reusable coffee mugs, crewnecks, caps – or on little posters throughout, their slogan definitely radiates BDE. Their coffee is far from being the worst and has easily become one of my favourites.

From around April to October, I usually drink iced coffee. From then until March, I get regular, hot coffee. At Pigeon, I often get an iced latte and, since I like my drinks with a little sweetness, and Pigeon doesn’t have flavoured syrups, I add a little bit of agave (they also have honey available).

Photo by Kayla-Marie Turriciano through Instagram @lifew.kay

Other times, when I’ve felt adventurous and wanted to try out something new but didn’t know what, every barista I’ve engaged with has helped me out. Not only are they helpful but they’re kind and friendly with each customer that comes in. At one point a few trips ago, one particular barista asked a patron if they wanted “the usual.” Even though it’s a really simple thing, it says a lot about the employees if they remember people’s orders, especially in a very busy neighbourhood. For service, I give Pigeon 5/5.

Back to coffee: during the colder months, I order a regular brew and add some milk – they also have non-dairy options like soy, coconut, oat, and almond milk – and sugar (again, agave and honey are sweetener alternatives). Whatever I get, though, it never tastes burnt, watery or just downright gross; it’s always fresh, has that perfect brewed-coffee smell and feels “full” to your taste buds. I’d give their coffee a 4.5/5.

On a side note, Pigeon does also have some baked goods. Since I have celiac disease (I can’t eat gluten), I haven’t tried anything, but they always look so yummy and I often see other people buying them.

One thing about Pigeon is that, because it’s an independent shop, their prices are a little higher than a Starbucks coffee, which makes me give them 3.5/5.

Even as a small – literally tiny, with only about three feet from the counter to the windowed-wall – coffee shop, Pigeon has quite a few varieties of drinks, all of which can be seen on the menu, which is written on large mirrors on the left side of the shop. Hanging from the ceiling are plants, which gives the small shop a light feel and makes for the perfect Instagram shot. Once you’ve got your coffee, you can sit down on a stool by the ledge lining the windows or sit outside on the shaded patio and watch Bishop St. For ambiance, I give Pigeon a 5/5.



Eating out as a vegetarian with allergies can be quite tricky and pricey; so I’ve set out to find the top vegetarian restaurants in Montreal.

LOV is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant with four locations: three in Montreal and one in Laval. Their concept is to serve customers healthy, eco-friendly, botanical meals without compromising taste. LOV’s philosophy revolves around what they call their “eco-commitment,” which involves serving wines from organic farming and using local suppliers and ingredients.

With this information in mind, I was excited to try it out. I was drawn to the Montreal-based restaurant from the moment I first saw their California-bohemian decor and stunning menu passing by.

My first impression upon entering the Laval location in Centropolis was that the design was meticulously thought-out and beautiful. Shades of white, lace, swinging cocoon chairs, and plants all over the restaurant transported me to a Malibu beach. My friends and I were greeted with a smile and given the option of indoors or outdoors – we chose outdoors in the shade.

Photo by Brittany Henriques

Usually, my biggest challenge is to find meatless plates free of peanuts and almonds (because of allergies). On that day, I was also on a carb-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fermentation-free diet (doctor’s orders). Nevertheless, based on my prior research, I was confident I would find something for me at LOV.

The menu is composed of seven starters and 15 main courses, four of which are salads. As a picky eater, I like knowing most of my options aren’t simply salads. I was immediately drawn to the Coconut Curry, a $15 dish composed of basmati rice, kale, carrots, curry coconut milk, and lime.

Unfortunately for me this time, rice was off my list of options. As other options, there was Pok’ai’ – cauliflower rice, cucumber, avocado, compressed watermelon, edamame, cashews, wakame, shiso, and sesame ginger sauce. The $16 plate fit my dietary restrictions, but I was very worried about the odd compressed watermelon thrown into the mix.
Instead, I settled for the Truffle and Caviar, a $14 meal composed of zucchini spaghetti, oyster mushrooms, arugula, tapioca caviar, and truffle sauce. The plate was very well presented, colourful, and was the perfect portion for my smaller-than-average appetite.

I went to LOV during lunch time, and barely had to wait for my food to arrive. My Truffle and Caviar plate was very good, but I worried there was an extra ingredient in the sauce not indicated on the menu. After my meal, I asked the waitress if the sauce had any other ingredients and she told me some soy milk might have been added for creaminess. I was disappointed to know there was an added ingredient I wasn’t aware of seeing as I was on a restricted diet. I should’ve asked prior to ordering, but I simply trusted the menu.

Nevertheless, the meal was fantastic, but note to self and others: always ask your waiter for a list of all the ingredients if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies.

As a whole, I would give LOV an 8 out of 10 for overall look, service, and food.

Student Life

Holy Crepe! Don’t miss out this sweet place

Cacao 70 knows there’s no such thing as too much chocolate

You are sure to find a lineup at one of Montreal’s sweetest chocolate spots, Cacao 70. But once inside, you’ll never want to leave this heaven of chocolatey goodness.

Decked in heartwarming bookshelves, wooden tables, and a chalk board menu, Cacao 70 is inviting with both is delectable aroma and charming atmosphere. They also play some pretty good tracks; this night featured The Arctic Monkeys’ new album.

Photo by Angela De Cicco

Despite it being a particularly busy evening, my friend and I were greeted with hospitality by a sweeter-than-sugar waitress. She could’ve been made of chocolate herself, who knows. My eyes were glazed by the variety of fondues and crepes to choose from all served with your choice of semi-sweet, dark, milk or white chocolate.

I ordered the classic chocolate fondue served with seasonal fresh fruits and small pastries. Delivered on a lovely wooden cutting board were chopped up pineapple, strawberries, bananas, powdered brownie cubes, fluffy waffle squares and a bubbling mug of hot melted milk chocolate. The moist and light brownies were my favorite. It was love at first bite.

My friend ordered a thin French crepe stuffed with Nutella and fresh strawberries. I know, how perfect.

To avoid overloading on the chocolate I skipped out on ordering something off the drink menu. But what happened next could not have been more fated. After being served our plates, the waitress brought over two semi-sweet American-styled hot chocolate espresso cups because we were first-timers at Cacao 70.

Other items on the menu include chocolate peanut butter pizza and parfaits served with your choice of ice cream and toppings. Cacao 70 offers up a brunch menu with salted crepes and lunch sandwiches to satisfy those salty cravings. Cacao 70 also has options to satiate vegan cravings. It’s a great spot for a date, a girls’ night out or to connect to their wifi and make studying a little more indulgent.

On my second go around, I’ll be sure to try their chocolate beer. In the meantime, I will try and recover from my chocolate coma.

Cacao 70 is located on 2087 Ste. Catherine West.

Student Life

Smiles all around at Le Bremner

It’s dark, it’s cool and it smells like heaven. Le Bremner, with Top Chef Canada runner-up, Danny Smiles, as the chef de cuisine and being one half of Chuck Hughes’ Crown Salts restaurant, already knows that it’s cool.

Photo by Liana Di Iorio

This place is so cool that it doesn’t carry any juice or Clamato in house, but if desired, will make some for you. For my visit, I went with a glass of Captain Morgan and the house-made cola which was so delicious I almost didn’t mind the $9 hole it burnt in the pocket of my $40 jeans.

When it comes to the menu, it’s set up in a way that you start with cold appetizers, move on to warm entrées and end with hot desserts. The signature dishes of both Crown Salts restaurants, a Chuck Hughes brand, involve fresh oysters, but the stars of the menu for this meat lover were the fried quail and the lamb neck cavatelli.

Quail is an incredibly versatile protein that is delicious any way you cook it, especially when battered, fried and served with homemade ranch dipping sauce.

While some are scared of meat that comes from anywhere that isn’t a breast, leg or butt, I embraced the palette less travelled by and was rewarded with the tenderest of tender shredded lamb neck atop my cavatelli (small, ridged pasta shells) which still has me singing its praises.

As the plates are made to share, I didn’t find myself stuffed, nor did I have to loosen my belt (a major achievement for me), which left plenty of room for what I really wanted: dessert.

When a stack of mini pancakes surrounded by a kiddie pool of sucre à la crème is served to you on a plate of china, you eat it up like it’s the Sunday before you start your new diet.

In all fairness, I am quite partial to things served on floral print plates, but those pancakes had me thinking of how I could raise funds to buy an engagement ring for whoever made them. They were pillowy, light and contrasted well with the delectable though cavity-causing sugar fudge syrup and pim’s butter.

Now, Le Bremner is not your mother’s upscale dining room. With ambient music consisting of Arcade Fire, No Doubt and The Kinks, a wait staff that I could have looked at all night, and the super-chatty Danny Smiles charming the tables with his sweetheart charisma in a baseball cap and tattoos, there is no doubt that Le Bremner is geared toward people who appreciate flavour as well as style.

Le Bremner is located at 361 Rue Saint Paul E.

Student Life

“When I say sake, you say Imadake!”

Imadake is located at 4006 Sainte-Catherine St. West.

Youkoso, or welcome, in Japanese, is the first thing I hear as I walk into Imadake near Atwater metro. It’s my third visit so I’m used to employees quickly looking up to address each patron but I love catching first-time customers who are startled by the welcome. Although its always better to reserve for groups or visits later in the evening, the hostess looks over her reservations and has no problem finding a table for three.

Since my last visit, they have added pictures to the menu to help with selections. Imadake actually means “only for now” because the website says the restaurant aims to keep the menu new and interesting. The pages show a great range of appetizers, different types of ramen noodle dishes and a range of Japanese beers and cocktails. The prices are moderate but the servings are small so I negotiate which appetizers to order with my friends. Luckily, the food always comes quickly and you are welcome to order more than once.

Japanese pop songs play as I sip my deliciously sweet Imadake Slammer and my friends drink their Sapporos. I always enjoy trying their cocktails and my friends appreciate the selection of beers you cannot always find elsewhere in the city. The whole atmosphere of the pub makes it feel like we have left the west end of Montreal. When our food arrives, we feel transported by the perfectly cooked dumplings, lightly battered pumpkin tempura and mashed potato covered in a unique spicy sweet sauce with mayonnaise. We finish by splitting the green tea cheesecake. It’s a small portion but enjoyable enough to make it hard not to order it at each visit.

For those who seek thrifty options, Imadake offers lunchtime specials and it can be great to order with friends to share. Overall, I always enjoy my visits but limit them to once every few months when I really want somewhere nice to have a drink or am craving their delicious ramen.

Imadake is located at 4006 Sainte-Catherine St. West.


Student Life

Batter up at Brit & Chips

Brit & Chips, with its cartoon fish jumping out of a Union Jack logo, pays homage to traditional chippy shops in Britain by serving up the staple dish of fish and fries. I know fish isn’t for everyone but it is hard to argue that fried food isn’t good food. When it comes to Brit & Chips, it definitely hurts to be health conscious because that would mean missing out not only on the wide range of savoury fish, but the variety of innovative, unique batters.

The cod was moist, not too salty and cooked perfectly, encased in a Burgundy Lion batter that was light, puffy and melted in your mouth.

Photo by Rae Pellerin

The salmon with Guinness batter did not disappoint either, and was a great balance of textures for the flaky fish with its crunchy coating.

What tied this delicious meal together was the sweet flavour of the tartar sauce which complemented both the fish and fries.

The short-cut fries brought in more of a Quebec flavour and style, but still no objection. Nothing paired better than the Fullers London Pride beer. This smooth pale ale, suggested by the waitress, was the best choice of the night. I tend not to venture too much with beer for fear of not liking it, but this was a winner and helped cut the grease of the fish ‘n’ chips with impeccable grace.

Other nibbles on the menu that looked mouth watering were the tandoori popcorn chicken, and haddock in a maple syrup batter, which upon my second visit are sure to be picked. Not to mention the lists of extras offering half portions of fish, pickled onions, scotch egg and the option to deep fry anything for $3.50!

Brit & Chips is located on 433 McGill St. and 5536A Côte-des-Neiges Rd. (Photo by Rae Pellerin)

The combination of Led Zeppelin playing in the background and the food served atop a sheet of newspaper gave the whole place a really cool vibe.  Its casual tone and affordable prices ranging between $5 and $15 makes this place perfect for a student’s palate and pocket.

However, it seems that Brit & Chips may have bigger fish to fry when the Côte-des-Neiges Rd. location recently received a visit from the Office québécois de la langue française. The restaurant was issued a letter demanding a change in certain menu listings and a switch their window decal from “fish and chips” to  “poisson frit & frites.”

Owner Toby Lyle told CTV he “can’t comply with this because it will literally kill [his] business” and went on to explain that he understands the “reason for the law, but if laws like this exist to wipe out businesses it is the exact opposite of what the government should be doing.”

Montreal may be in a language upheaval but Montrealers are resilient, especially when it comes to their appetite. English signs or French signs, none of that takes away from the delicious, finger licking fish ‘n’ chips that will surely leave you satisfied.

 Brit & Chips is located on 433 McGill St. and 5536A Côte-des-Neiges Rd.

Student Life

Burger Bar is a messy masterpiece

There’s a place downtown where veggie-lovers go to be converted to meat again. It’s called Burger Bar, and it’s aptly located smack in the middle of one of Montreal’s most prolific veins.

The music, verging on ambient and jazzy, is punctuated by the occasional, and certainly most-welcomed, ‘90s hip-hop tracks, and when

Photo by Maddy Hajek

you walk in, you can’t help but ask what the trophy perched on the bar is all about. They won “Best Burger in Montreal” for their Hangover burger at this summer’s Burger Week competition.

I’m familiar with sipping mojitos on their sunny terrace in July, inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke and people watching. Judging by my experience at Burger Bar this fall, they’ve managed to maintain that cool, humble vibe year-round.

The worst part about BYOB (building your own burger), is that sometimes you’re not creative enough to maximize the grandiose-factor of what your burger has the potential to be. Not to worry, the Burger Bar masterminds have you covered with a variety of combinations and a price range between $11 and $25.

The sandwich menu boasts a lovely variety of designer proteins from seared salmon to pulled pork, with a portobello sandwich as the go-to option for vegans. While some of you may be tempted to order a salad or sandwich, I can guarantee you’ll be overwhelmed with regret at the sight of a burger.

Now onto the main event. All burgers come with a side salad, fries or coleslaw; I urge you to get the coleslaw. I couldn’t quite put my fork on what made its flavour so distinct.

In an attempt to retain a morsel of my former herbivore identity, I ordered the Baba burger, because you can’t go wrong with a CN Tower-high pile of grilled veggies stacked on a beef patty, doused in baba ghanoush, balsamic reduction, and garlic mayo. My dining partner took great pleasure in his Wild Mushroom burger with sautéed wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, arugula, and roasted garlic mayonnaise, a combo that seemed to be a favourite among the customers.

The man next to me was enjoying his breaded cheese sticks with spicy salsa so much, he had trouble articulating his words. Judging by his moans accompanied by widened eyes and a string of “Wow!”s, I can assume he enjoyed himself.

Also, I would just like to warn you that most, if not all, the burgers are impossible to bite into without tearing a ligament in your face, making eating with grace almost inexecutable. Manager Ben Serapins was my knight in shining armour, coming to my rescue with extra napkins without even having to ask because, let’s be honest, no one wants to make eye contact when you’ve got a keg-full of condiments on your face.

The Deconstructed S’more exemplified the marriage between architecture and cooking. Imagine a three-tiered edifice in a cute little cup starting with a crumbled graham cracker foundation, topped with a moist and barely-baked brownie, and held together by a cloud of roasted marshmallows. Poetry to my ears.

There’s a real sense of humour in the execution of many of the plates. The Poutine burger looks like something that wouldn’t actually be sold commercially, but rather behind glass walls at a museum. It can compete with something on Epic Meal Time – it is that intimidating. The Hangover burger is an ode to the Sunday morning crowd, and its array of bacon, eggs and cheese stacked on a patty.

With six beers on tap and a laundry list of cocktails and wines, you’re getting the dining and bar scene experience all in one. My Crescent Pear martini was a delicate blend of Absolut pear, mango juice and an appropriate dash of citrus. If the archetypal girlie drink doesn’t float your maraschino cherry, my drinking buddy sipped on a Dark n’ Stormy, which was a more macho blend of ginger beer and dark rum.

The combination of uber-friendly staff (but never obnoxious or in-your-face), plates that consistently exceed expectations, and an as-fine-as-casual-dining-gets vibe labels it as a real winner. Bring a date or a party of 25. You’ll end up in such a food coma afterwards, it won’t even matter who you’re with.


Burger Bar is located on 1465 Crescent St.

Exit mobile version