Montreal has a lot of very old, historical restaurants, taverns and inns. Just to give you an idea, Schwartz’s has been open since 1928 and the Montreal Pool Room opened way back in 1912.
While it is impressive for a restaurant to be open for more than 100 years, there's one Montreal establishment that puts all the rest to shame. I'm talking about Auberge Saint-Gabriel.
As I was saying, if you were impressed by a 100 year old restaurant, let's see what you think about the Auberge's 300 years of history.
It was built in 1688 by a French soldier and is considered by some to be the first Inn in North America. Although this is still being disputed, one thing is for sure, it was the first Inn to obtain a liquor license in 1754.
Auberge Saint-Gabriel once housed the printing press for the Patriote newspaper.
In case you were wondering, yes that Swastika/Cross combo is meant to be there. This newspaper was founded by Adrien Arcand who published and edited several anti-Semitic newspapers at the time.
The area where the Velvet night club now stands used to be a fur trading post. The building was turned into a townhouse in the 1800's, but in 1914 it became an Inn once again. Today, it is owned by the former CEO of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberte, Singer Garou , and Marc Bolay.
I must admit, I had never been to New City Gas (I moved here during the pandemic — please forgive me), so I had no idea what to expect. The first thing I thought was, "WOW, this space is so cool!" We walked into the lobby-bar and I was instantly taken by the exposed brick and hanging lights, which created a boho-chic Mykonos-esque aesthetic. Of course, that included a hanging bed.
We stepped inside and walked through the mysterious yet cozy and inviting interior complete with mirrors and candles galore. Before entering the restaurant, we passed through the artisanal marketplace, featuring goods from Meraki, a Laval-based boutique filled with handmade goods and imported treasures from Greece.
Next, we headed into the restaurant, which is so spectacularly done that it feels like one of the most high-end, chic spots on the Island of Montreal but with a totally relaxed and laid-back vibe. Thanks to the decor — complete with hanging baskets, long tables, neutral tones and vibrant greenery — you truly feel like you're in Tulum or in Greece.
We tucked ourselves in for a four-course meal by Chef Massimo Piedimonte of Le Mousso. We were told that the menu was "a tour through the Mediterranean": tapas, a fish course, a meat course, and dessert. Paired with drinks prepared by sommelier Maxime Laliberté of Maison Boulud and mixologist Lawrence Picard of Nectar & Co., I was in absolute heaven.
Between courses, we checked out the open-air gallery outside by S16 and the NFT Gallery by 0x Society, which is actually the first of its kind in Canada. Both of these will be available all summer long.
When the sun went down and the lights came on, the ambiance was even more spectacular. Co-owner Alex K. told me the team was inspired by their travels to places like Tulum and Mykonos, not just for their food and culture, but for the way they exude positive summer vibes. And that's exactly what I got from Bazart from start to finish!
Bazart at New City Gas
Address: 969, rue Wellington, Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: For a taste and the vibes of the Mediterranean right in the heart of Griffintown.
La Maison Onyx is a pop-up that will run between July and October, giving marginalized chefs a stage to showcase their culinary expertise. Up first is Saint-Henri's Tropikàl Restobar, a Caribbean and Afro-Latin restaurant, which will be there from July 7 to July 27.
Tropikàl will be followed by Maquis Yasolo, an Afro-Québécoise restaurant in Saint-Henri. Later, MasterChef Canada’s Marissa Leon-John of Elle Jay’s Private Dining and Afro-Vegan chef Evy Mendes of Cantine Toca Toca will be serving up delicious eats.
La Maison Onyx is an initiative by DESTA Food, a Black youth network and non-profit business incubator for Black businesses.
According to a DESTA Food statement, La Maison Onyx will feature street food-style menus using local Quebec products, chef-led market tours at Jean-Talon Market, and on-site food demonstrations.
More chefs and Montreal restaurants will be announced in the coming weeks and months.
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.
MTLàTABLE is back with set menus at your favourite eateries!
MTLàTABLE is back this year, and around 100 Montreal restaurants are participating in the city-wide food festival between June and October. You can get three-course meals at some of the city's best eateries starting at $20.
MTLàTABLE has revamped its format for 2021 complete with table d'hôte menus, fresh local produce and prizes you can win for simply dining out.
You can filter your preferences by neighbourhood, price, cuisine and more.
Contests & weekly draws
Each meal you buy at the festival's participating restaurants makes you eligible to win one of five weekly draw prizes like a $50 SAQ gift card and a $75 pre-paid VISA card to spend at the participating restaurants.
There are also eight 'Food & Fun Packages' to be won throughout the event, which include two nights in a Montreal hotel.
All you have to do is scan a restaurant's QR code every time you visit to earn a 'fork' and participate in the weekly draw.
Quebec-grown produce & food products
This year's edition of the festival will also focus on fresh seasonal harvests in Quebec, with recipes tailored to in-season produce.
In June and July, restaurants will serve dishes with beets from the Montérégie region, strawberries from Île d’Orléans and raspberries from the Eastern Townships, as well as broccoli from the Capitale-Nationale region, zucchini from the Laurentians and other green vegetables from Quebec.
In August, field tomatoes, leeks, blueberries, and green beans from across the province — from Bas-Saint-Laurent to Lanaudière — will adorn restaurant plates across Montreal.
In September and October, the fall harvest begins, and restaurants will serve soups and stews that include Quebec carrots, morels, oyster mushrooms, eggplants and acorn squash.
Autumn brings the return of apples to Quebec orchards, and restaurants will make use of locally-grown apples on their dishes toward the end of the festival.