You might not expect much passing by the brick building that houses Fugazzi Pizza in Pointe Saint-Charles. But make your way up Milky Way Cocktail Bar's fluorescent blacklight splattered stairwell and you'll feel like you've been transported to another galaxy — the perfect place to bring a date if you want to escape the winter blues.
Milky Way was even named Canada's best new bar in 2020 by Canada's 100 Best and it's no surprise between the delicious pizza menu, neon lights, intergalactic jungle vibes and unique drink options.
"We have always aimed to be a neighbourhood bar. We wanted the space to breathe and this is how the skylight came to light," said owner Christophe Beaudoin of the skylight that runs across the bar's ceiling.
Beaudoin said some of the most popular cocktails on the menu are Bon Pour Le Moral, which includes coconut vodka, pineapple and elderflower liqueur, and Marcus Hibiscus, which has rum, absinthe, hibiscus and mint.
Okay, so you just tried your first — or four-millionth — goat curry dish, and the thought of eating anything other than Caribbean cuisine for the rest of the week simply won't fly. Thanks to Montreal's thriving Caribbean community, this city is full of top-notch Caribbean food spots to try... but where to start?
We enlisted the help of one of Montreal's favourite chefs, Chef Paul Toussaint. Toussaint, formerly the executive chef at Haitian eaterie Agrikol, is now the owner and executive chef of Kamúy, a hot Caribbean restaurant with rave reviews. If anyone knows where to get good Caribbean food and ingredients in this town, it's Chef Paul Toussaint.
You'll also find him at the Eaton Centre's Time Out Market where he "serves up his home country's savory and comforting cuisine, from crackling griot with piquant pikliz and fall-off-the-bone pineapple-and-rum ribs to sides of accra fritters and fried plantains," the website says.
Here are his picks for the best places to get Caribbean food essentials in the Montreal area.
Address: 2287, rue Guenette, Saint-Laurent, QC (but products are available throughout the province)
Why You Need To Go: "There are a few must-haves when prepping a Haitian dish: one of them being djondjon! The edible black mushroom is often found in northern Haiti and used as a delicacy in some Haitian dishes. One of my top djondjon can be found at Red & Blue Distribution Inc., one of our city's most renowned Haitian distributors," Toussaint told MTL Blog.
Address: Five locations in Montreal, including Lasalle, Laval, Saint-Laurent, Saint-Léonard and Dollard-des-Ormeaux
Why You Need To Go: "When cooking with fruits and vegetables, a pro-tip is to always cook with fresh produce for optimal flavours. My favourite place for fruits and veg is Sami Fruit, who always have fresh produce and make sure to deliver them at great prices. My go-to selects — plantains, malangas, yucca, sugar cane, passion fruit and their many varieties of sweet potato," said Toussaint.
Why You Need To Go: "I get many of my meats at Champfleury Butcher Shop, offering local artisanal production, optimal tenderness, and classic French butchery. If you're looking for great meats, every day the Champfleury team prepares fresh, simple and comforting products for you. My meat pick-ups usually include their Quebec farm-raised chicken and eggs, beef from Gaspésie, lamb from the Eastern Townships and all their homemade sausage prepared by Dominic, Alberto and the rest of their amazing team," Toussaint said.
Why You Need To Go: "Seafood is an essential part of Haitian cuisine, often incorporating fish and shellfish in meals. My favourite seafood shop is Casablanca Fish Shop, offering flavourful and fresh produce — perfect for cooking with! I especially like their Lambi, Haitian Conch and spicy Haitian lobster!" said Toussaint.
Why You Need To Go: "Haitian restaurants in Montreal are known for their authentic meals that will make you feel right at home! One of my favourite restaurants is Steve Anna Restaurant, where I can always count on a good authentic Haitian meal to recharge my batteries. I especially love their legumes or griot dishes. Also their fried beef. Everything is amazing there, it's hard to pick a favourite dish!" Toussaint told MTL Blog.
Why You Need To Go: "My go-to spot for the tastiest Guyanese cuisine. The food is fantastic. I would suggest ordering any of their dhal puris or their goat curry. Their mango hot sauce is also to die for," Toussaint said.
The team behind iconic Montreal nightclubs École Privée and Coda have opened a supper club called 212 in the heart of Old Montreal boasting an "immersive dining experience." Not knowing what the heck an "immersive dining experience" entails, I went to check it out — and if you're looking for a meal with a side of flair and pizazz, this is the place to get it.
Naturally, we started with drinks. The first cocktail to catch my eye was the 212 Spicy Margarita. I figured that a drink named after the restaurant means you're in for a treat, and I'm proud to say my theory was correct.
Moving on to apps, we ordered the tuna tartare, ceviche and a cauliflower roti. Have you ever had a plate arrive at your table and leave you in absolute awe? Not only were we so excited for the food, but the presentation was so gorgeous that we were overcome by the literal art that the kitchen had whipped up for us.
Once we were done marvelling at the dishes in front of us (and had obviously snapped some pics), we dug in. The only thing more impressive than how these dishes looked was how they tasted. We paired them with some wine from an impressive wine list, and we were in heaven.
As for the mains, we ordered some plates that really helped us tap into the creativity and luxury of 212. We tried the lobster linguine and duck confit caramelli.
I can honestly say I had to put down my fork after the first bite of each dish out of sheer wonder and excitement. They were that perfect mix of decadent and refined with just enough oomph to let you know you're eating something seriously special — just thinking about the server pouring bisque over my pasta makes my mouth water.
Brooke Walsh, 212 owner and Montreal club scene royalty, told me he wanted to create a supper club where the food was the top priority — something he felt was lacking among supper clubs.
He said he brought in his serious network of club creators and designers (we're talking about people involved in Madonna's Super Bowl Halftime Show and Billie Eilish's last tour) to help with the decor and ambiance, which includes a super trendy mirrored art piece on the ceiling.
From the moment you walk in, you feel like you're part of an exclusive club, but in the friendliest and most inviting way possible.
An immersive experience we were promised and an immersive experience we did get. This is my new favourite spot for drinks, dinner and boozy brunch! Plus, now that dancing is on the horizon for us in Quebec, you can bet I'll be dancing the night away at 212 after dinner and drinks very soon.