Over the last couple of years it seems like new Japanese pubs have been popping up in every district of Montreal; from Biiru to Big in Japan, and Imadake to Kinka Izakaya, to name a few. A new one on St. Laurent/Prince Arthur just opened today. The list is never-ending, between legit 'izakaya' and average restaurants claiming to be a part of this rise in the Japanese pub scene.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, an izakaya is a Japanese establishment that serves small tapas-style plates and drinks. The environment is really casual, laid back, and a lot of fun. But you'd never think that behind the scenes there's (what seems like) a raging war among the restaurateurs to take over the title of "Best Izakaya in Town."
While they all share a Japanese theme, they don't all live up to the qualities of a true izakaya experience. I can't claim to know all there is to know about it, seeing as how I'm not Japanese, nor have I been to an izakaya in Japan. But I've been to a few here in Montreal, and can definitely lean wholeheartedly towards Imadake being the best this city has to offer.
No matter the day, Imadake is always busy, pushing quality drinks and food at very respectable prices. From the moment customers walk in, they're greeted with genuine smiles and great service.
This is one quality that not many restaurants can consistently handle. Instead, you get stuck with a server that hates his/her job and shows it, a server that can't quite communicate in either English or French, or you just get left to fend for yourself while you're left on the backburner. And this goes without even mentioning the awful food that gets sent out sometimes, some of which are definitely microwaved and not freshly prepared.
At Imadake, however,the staff wants to share a memorable experience with you, and the owner wants nothing more than to keep everybody happy. Since day one, this is what they have strived to achieve, and despite achieving it, they have never failed to remain consistent in the quality of food and drinks, pricing, and service. They've got your back.
So what can you expect? Smiles all around, cheering, and the most thrilling of all? Sake bombs. You'll also find plenty of fun cocktails and yummy small plates to choose from on their menu. For those who automatically pair 'Japanese' and 'sushi' together: Sorry, that's not what you'll get here, but you'll definitely find authentic cuisine sure to satisfy your appetite! And if that wasn't enough, they are all about protecting the environment, sustaining it, and leaving a positive mark.
The balmy temperatures and long, sunny days are well and truly here. What could be better than a backyard barbecue with up to eight of your favourite people (including yourself) to celebrate?
If you hate to interrupt your hangout with a trip to the dep for more drinks and snacks, Skip's got you covered! The Canadian delivery company has a wide selection of drinks and dishes that you can have delivered right to you.
To have alcohol delivered with this convenient service, just add it to your order on the Skip website or mobile app along with a minimum food purchase.
Whether you want a can of sparkling cider, a refreshing beer or a glass of wine, you'll find something on Skip that'll delight your taste buds.
Caldora Pinot Grigio From Wienstein & Gavino's
Address: 1434, rue Crescent, Montreal, QC
Details: Embrace some Mediterranean flavours at your barbecue with some polpo (grilled octopus, tomato, olive and feta antipasto) and a glass of chilled Italian white wine.
You'll want to relax and have a good time at your first post-pandemic barbecue, which is why being able to order extra snacks and drinks with Skip is so handy. Just make sure that whoever places the order has their ID close. Without it, delivery people won't be allowed to hand over your drinks.
When you think of staple Montreal bars, which ones come to mind? Presumably, Pub Burgundy Lion shows up on your list, considering it's one of the most unique spots in the city — especially with its High Tea Sundays.
And even in the strangest of times, it's found a way to continue serving customers in a one-of-a-kind fashion. Starting May 10, you can get free delivery from this spot whenever you're on the Lachine Canal, thanks to its new "Pub On Wheels."
The process for getting your meal and drinks delivered to you is simple. First, order whatever your heart desires from the menu via Pub Burgundy Lion's website.
Deliveries happen at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. every day of the week, and "orders must be placed at least 20 minutes in advance." Then, your food and drinks will be "delivered by bike on the edge of the Canal Lachine."
All alcohol must be accompanied by a food order, but don't worry, you can get fries for $1 when you order drinks. And speaking of drinks, Burgundy Lion's menu includes a "sangria pitcher" option, so you can enjoy sangria on the canal all summer long.
A family-run business, Le VSL was started in 2019 after being an at-home bakery. "[We] had the idea of bringing a third wave coffee shop to Ville Saint-Laurent where we all grew up and since the opening, we have received tremendous support from the community," JJ, the manager and in-house barista, told MTL Blog.
Le VSL makes all types of drinks, including cappuccinos, lattes, mocha lattes, matcha lattes, as well as homemade cool drinks, like homemade lemonade and iced tea. Plus, they've got amazing bites, inspired by their grandmother's recipes.
But what LeVSL is definitely known for is the birthday latte, made with double espresso, three syrups (white chocolate or condensed milk, hazelnut, and vanilla) and your milk of choice (vegan options included), all topped off with stunning rainbow latte art and sprinkles.
"Birthday latte is not only just for your birthday, but for whenever you want a sweet coffee," Le VSL said.
The duo told us there are even more treats, drinks and surprises coming this summer, and we can't wait to see what else is in store that'll no doubt bring even more (much-needed) smiles to our faces.
Café Le VSL
Address: 753, boul. Decarie, Saint-Laurent, QC
Why You Need To Go: For drinks and treats that are as delicious as they are beautiful.