Marche Jean Talon
Dominon Square Tavern
On a recent day trip to Montreal we are inclined to shake things up, ditch our usual gastronomic hangouts, and daringly diving into the unknown. Yes, this meant no perfectly spiced Indian food at La Taj and forgoing the French pastries at the market. Honestly, a recent episode of the Layover sparked much needed excitement to get out of my usual but delicious routine and celebreate more of this food filled city. So when Prince Charming surprised me with an international romance tour to Montreal, I seized the opportunity to branch out and try some new culinary destations. Sunshine beamed down on our freshly washed auto as we enjoyed the peaceful drive up North. First stop, Marche Jean Talon. Okay, this nor the always tasty kofta and merguez sandwiches at An-Nasr (found just outside the market), were not new to us but we simple had to. Nourished and ready to explore, we shopped for spices at Olive & Epices, my spot for allepo chiles, black turkish chiles, and true cinnamon from Sri Lanka (not cassia the Chinese cinnamon). Outside the market is a Mexican taqueria/grocery store where Prince C. ate his first churro. The dough was sweet and tender with a caramel filled center that ended up on my face and his jacket. Time for a cocktail! Back into the car, we headed downtown to Dominon Square Tavern, established in 1927 this cozy old restaurant/bar has incredible attention to detail and a rich history. Seated at the bar, (coated in dim frosted lighting, and surrounded with warmth from a time long ago) I ordered a gin julep and Prince C. drank a scotch. The scotch quickly arrived neat with a side of ice, complete with tiny ice cube tongs, and small spoon. Perfection! With our appetites resurrected we headed back north to Marvin’s, an old world Greek restaurant. What’s old world? Try cash only and when I squeezed past the line of Montrealers waiting for a table to asked a busy waiter who we give our name to, he replied, “no one” “first come first serve” “you wait”. I turned around went out to the tiny corridor and asked who was last in line. Now half outside, we waited. Really, every part of waiting and eating at Marvin’s was fun, I’m certain this kind of experience is not for everyone but it was worth the wait. Once seated, a charming waiter (Greek of course) dropped off our menus but before he could get away I quickly grabbed the chance to order a couple wines and a Greek Salad. Minutes later we were sipping wine and nibbling on warm toasted dry bread sprinkled with oregano. A carafe of olive oil was quickly dropped off which instantly met our breads needs. Party of two? Chances are you’ll be seated at a shared table with others. Calamari is the thing to get here and it seemed every table had piles of the golden good stuff. Souvliki called to me and arrived at the table on a large plate with rice, steak fries, and more Greek salad. We wrapped it up with coffee and fantastic baklava that was a gift from our waiter. Could his nice gesture be in response to the mention my Greek heritage shortly after we were seated?