Getting to know and experience Montreal's food scene can be very daunting. Montreal hosts cuisine from nearly every nation, and while the city itself can be considered small, the various food options are more then plentiful. It can be hard to figure out where to get what type of cuisine, and whether or not a restaurant is even worth your taste buds. Fortunately, À la Carte Express helps to bring international cooking right to your fingertips, and then your front door.
À La Carte Express is an online/phone service (available in French or English) that brings together nearly every type of food available in Montreal into one spot. Boasting a menu list of over one hundred different restaurants, À La Carte Express helps you find the food you're hankering for and delivers it directly to your home. Feel free to check out their catering options for when you need to feed a crowd. À La Carte Express is a solid service for those looking to discover new flavours, eat out while staying at home, and the hungry in general.
To get any type of dinner brought to directly to you, simply get onto À La Carte's website. Special deals, new restaurants, and helpful links grace the homepage to aid and entice customers, but for those looking for speed and efficiency, simply enter your postal code to gain a list of restaurants in your delivery area. From there, you just pick a restaurant and start ordering. It's that easy.
For the indecisive, À La Carte categorizes restaurants based on nation and cuisine type. You can gander at all the restaurants offering Indian food, and easily switch to burger joints, or vegetarian options. Useful for those ordering with friends who have wildly different eating habits. While you cannot order from multiple restaurants using the online service, it is just as easy to call in and place your order with a helpful representative. À La Carte is more than willing to cater to your gustatory needs; ordering from different restaurants is very do-able and hassle free.
In order to get the most out the À La Carte's large variety of different foods, I decided to dine on wildly different cuisine. Never having had Tibetan food before, OM restaurant piqued my interest, one of the many interesting and esoteric options at À La Carte. They also serve Indian for those a little wary of Tibetan food. Keeping it to more familiar ground, with a slight bit of fancy edge, my second choice was the French restaurant Ian Perreault pret-a-manger. In total I ordered a Tibetan beef dish, an Indian goat curry, shrimp rissotto, and a white fish-corn soumoule. Three wildly different cuisines brought to the same table, in my own home no less.
While I did have to call À La Carte to place two different restaurant orders, the process was just as easy as it is online. The phone representative was very helpful, and even called me back to make sure my order was correct. À La Carte's website states that there may be up to an hour waiting time, but surprisingly, and very pleasing, was the arrival of my meal in a little over half an hour. I'm sure the wait-time can vary depending on the day, traffic, and specific time, but my short wait time served as a testament to the fact that À La Carte employees will try to get your food to you ASAP.
The result of my À La Carte experience was a mixture of cuisines on one plate I would not have been able to enjoy without À La Carte's help. Tibetan, Indian, and French foods graced my palate, each dish still warm and fresh from the restaurant. If you're looking to have a cool eating experience from the comfort of your home, check out À La Carte Express. They make eating diverse and delicious food a lot easier.
"The vibration frequency starts slowly when someone’s order is received by the restaurant and progressively increases when the driver leaves the restaurant with the order, drives closer to their residence and arrives at their door," said Brett Hogan, a CamSoda spokesperson.
So how does it work? Users get a custom email address from CamSoda, which they use as their sign-up email for Uber Eats, DoorDash or the food delivery platform of their choice. Email updates are then translated into vibrations via Bluetooth.
Grubuzz uses clitoral vibration technology, so it's currently only available for people with female genitalia — however, Hogan said a male version will debut in the coming months.
Sysco is a major food distributor around Montreal and other metropolises around the world.
Since March, the food industry has been adapting to government protocols pertaining to hours of operation and whether or not dining rooms are permitted to stay open.
This has led to changes in the way that customers buy and consume food and beverages.
Dubois offered insight into what this means going forward.
Answers have been edited for clarity.
What main trends in consumption have you noticed since the start of the pandemic, particularly in Quebec?
Support Local: Consumers are more and more conscious of their environmental footprint when making food purchasing decisions and are willing to pay extra to support local, much like Sysco’s recent campaigninviting Quebecers "to support local restaurateurs."
The rise of "insperiences": Cooking fatigue is setting in and recreating at-home restaurant experiences is a thing now, by ordering combo/family meals from local restaurants.
Prioritizing sustainable takeout containers: At the onset of the pandemic, businesses had to turn to quick solutions for takeout containers and sustainable options were put on the back burner. Now, with the new laws coming up in 2021, restaurateurs are thinking ahead and testing sustainable options.
Convenient Takeout: Visiting restaurants' social media platforms before placing orders has become the norm now for Quebecers. Ordering online directly on restaurants' websites has also increased.
Renaissance of QR Codes: QR codes have provided contactless options to quickly access menus, place orders, pay the bills, etc.
How has supply/demand in the food industry shifted since the beginning of the pandemic?
On the restaurant's side, we have noticed an increase in the "Ghost kitchen" concept (i.e. a delivery-only restaurant). This concept helps cut the costs and increase profits by selling grocery-type items (sauce, frozen dishes, etc.).
Since pick-up/takeout and delivery are mandatory to stay in business, third-party delivery services have expanded their territories to be able to service more remote locations. We're also seeing an increase in in-house delivery services to avoid third-party delivery fees.
Experts are predicting that in 2021, two different food profiles will be trending: Comfort food with modern and global cuisine inspired twists and providing healthier options.
Sysco Grand Montreal reported that 33% of their sales team saw higher demand for fruits & vegetables during the pandemic. This aligns with Quebecers' needs for healthier eating and for functional foods that provide benefits and nutrients we need during a pandemic.
What effect do you think Quebec's curfew has on the province's restaurant industry?
Allowing restaurants to continue delivering food and alcohol after curfew can help, but most restaurants still have to use third-party delivery services, which can severely affect their bottom-line profits.
Many restaurants rely on foot traffic and are experiencing a big hit with this curfew. Restaurants are also experiencing a lot of food waste — Restaurateurs have had to throw out enormous quantities of food.
The ongoing shortage of staffing is also a big issue since the beginning of the pandemic.
It's almost Valentine's Day and romance is in the air. While your plans this year won't include heading out to your favourite restaurant, you can indulge in a decadent meal right at home with your significant other (or yourself, if you're happily single).
Using Skip, you can order delicious food and enjoy free delivery across Quebec until March 31. In addition to supporting Montreal restaurants with this promo, you can also add a romantic flare by preparing a candlelight dinner with the convenience of food delivery.
To help you celebrate Valentine's Day with Skip, there are tons of great local restaurants right at your fingertips for a special evening with whomever you choose.
Ristorante Da Vinci
Address: 1180, rue Bishop, Montréal, QC
Why You Need To Order: If we're talking decadence, picture Valentine's Day dinner enjoying a meal of linguine with Canadian scallops and lobster, all drizzled in a sumptuous Fra Diavolo sauce. Ristorante Da Vinci also offers a variety of game and seafood dishes, like slow-braised veal cheeks, served with pearl onions, smoked pancetta and red wine sauce, or roasted sea bass with pomegranate and toasted pine nuts.
To make your Valentine's Day even better, they're offering a special three-course menu for two from February 12 to 14 for $124.
Address: 537, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montréal, QC
Why You Need To Order: Craving a more sophisticated meal to break up the routine? You can get a 20-piece assortment for $24.99 as part of their Luxury Salmon Combo. This romantic dinner will have you and that special someone melting for each other as this fresh, fragrant sushi melts in your mouth.
Sushi lovers can also satisfy the adventurous foodie within by trying the Eel Luxury combo which includes makis, hosomakis and dragon makis all prepared with this unusual fish.
Address: 2176 A, rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC
Why You Need To Order: Since it's currently the month of romance, it's no surprise that Sam Cha is offering a "Tteokbokki with Love" special for two. For $40, you can get a full Valentine's Day meal featuring deep-fried dumplings, noodles, deep-fried mushrooms, deep-fried yams, deep-fried roasted seaweed rolls, rice balls and eggs.
There are tons of other appetizing dishes to satisfy your appetite, such as Chulpan Odak that has stir-fried chicken, squid and vegetables with spicy sauce, served with vegetarian dolsot bibimbap or stir-fried rice.
Why You Need To Order: Just because it's Valentine's Day, it doesn't mean that your dinner has to be over-the-top fancy. Sometimes it's nice to stick to classics, like hearty bowls and tasty sandwiches. Luckily, Junior carries a mix of both with savoury Filipino twists. Just make sure to pre-order your romantic feast, which you can do online until February 12.
If a sandwich sounds like the right fit for your romantic evening, try the Sandwich Fili Cheesesteak, which has beef strips, caramelized onions, lemon-garlic mayo, crispy green onions, cheese and spring mix on sweet bread. Plus, for this romantic holiday, you can get the Relyenong Meal for $85 and the Kaldreta Pie Meal for $70.
Why You Need To Order: L'Académie is a great option for those that love a serious dose of pasta goodness. For the month of February, they're offering a deal where you can choose any two plates of pasta on the menu for just $32.
This promo includes classics like their Fettuccini Primavera with fresh vegetables, olive oil and garlic, or their Penne Romanoff made with creamy rosé sauce and crushed peppers. For something meatier, there's the Tortellini Rosé stuffed with veal. Nothing says romance like a date night with French and Italian cuisine.
Why You Need To Order: If you and your partner love breakfast but hate getting out of bed to cook, why not buy yourselves some extra time under the covers? Just call it your morning cardio. Since this restaurant's "My Valentine" special runs from February 14 until the end of the month, you can turn the lovers' holiday into a two-week-long celebration.
For $14, this dish includes a fluffy waffle topped with decadent strawberry cream cheese frosting, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream. Looking to be even more extra? Wash that all down with a velvety milkshake.
The pricing is based on the daily average of gas for the Montreal area. As usual, some gas stations might be lower and some might be higher, but the company claims it's "always within the range of local gas stations."
There's also a promotional price of $0.99 per month as a membership fee for the first year, with the first month being a free trial, making this a great time to test out this cool business.
Fuel It offers two types of service: standard delivery, which requires booking three hours in advance for the consistent three-hour time blocks, or overnight.
There's also an emergency delivery option, which costs $5.99 plus tax and fees. This will ensure that your gas is delivered within the hour.
Once the request is in, all you need to do is leave your gas tank slightly ajar, and Fuel It will take care of the rest — it's as easy as that.