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Posts Tagged ‘by the Berri-UQAM metro’

Hands down, this is the best burger joint in Montreal and due to its general awesomeness and very affordable pricing, achieves an unprecedented A+. From the retro art nostalgic décor that’s homey and not overdone, to the auntie-like francophone server, straight to the best burger I’ve ever had. Perfect sized savory poppy seed bun, mozzarella holding the pickles, mushrooms, bacon, lettuce, and tomato like glue, spicy mustard, and juicy well done patty. Usually I like my burgers done medium…but they didn’t even ask and more than pulled off well done. Chunky fries are hot and just the right shade of brown; “sauce” is the poutine gravy on the side, and “creme aux herbes” is sour cream with fresh herbes. When I’m feeling decadent, I get the famed milk shake dessert, which is basically two large shakes because they give you the shaker in addition to your glass. The carrot cake is good but the tarte aux sucre is phenomenal – warm, sandy yet molten goodness on the inside cradled in a thick, tender crust. No reservations; get there early or prepare to wait in line. Doodle on your paper placemat with crayons while you wait.

302 Rue Ontario E. at St. Denis

metro: Berri-UQAM

See my September 2009 review here.

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One of the most impressive contemporary buildings in Montreal is the Grande Bibliothèque, which was built directly over the Berri-UQAM metro and finished in 2005. It can be entered directly from the metro – a huge plus when the weather is less than hospitable. It was the product of an international architectural competition and is now one of the world’s most popular francophone libraries, and also houses the Quebec national archives. Most of the materials available at the Grande Bibliothèque are in French but at least the dvd and cd collection is equally bilingual.

The open and inviting building is a modern masterpiece of concrete, glass, and unfinished wood. There are two airy laptop pavilions with free wi-fi, several reading terraces, and open elevator shafts so everyone can enjoy watching the exposed glass elevators go up and down. Artwork displayed in the open areas are changed periodically.

If you’re just passing through, I recommend visiting at least twice – admission is free, after all. Spend the first time gawking and wandering about on your own, and then come back a second time as part of one of the free 1-hour bilingual guided tours or using one of the free audioguides to see whatever you might have missed yourself. After watching a 16-minute documentary on the construction of the building, I found a new appreciation for the library I visit weekly.

Metro: Berri-UQAM

475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est and rue Berri

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A good pizza is all about the toppings, sauce, crust, and cheese – in that order. Dei Compari doesn’t quite respect these portions – too little sauce, could have used more topping. But close enough – at least the crust was thin and crispy.

The resto layout is a little odd, as there is a dining area by the window facing Saint-Denis and then an additional dining area below. We sat in the back of the front area, which gave me a nice view of the cook assembling pizza after pizza after pizza. One pizza is just about right for one person. Service can be rather slow – we finally got up and paid downstairs in order to leave – and while the decor and paper placemats are educational regarding Italy’s geography, this is a typical, no-frills university town resto.

Metro: Berri-UQAM

1668 Rue Saint-Denis and Rue Émery

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Last week’s Radio-Canada L’Épicerie show featured a Montreal tea shop that offered matcha – the powdered green tea that is used in ritualized Japanese tea ceremonies. I, too, wanted my matcha precisely sifted, measured, mixed with one of those delicate bamboo whisks, and sipped in primly folded hands. So last night, before dashing off to the Chinese New Year celebration, I dragged my husband to the petite tea shop just a block from the Berri-UQAM metro.

The small tables were all taken, but after a few minutes the bar cleared up and we slid in. It was rather akin to sitting at a sushi bar or a raw bar. In the tiny, open preparation area the size of a broom closet, we watched five or six water kettles simmer away next to crowded sinks and tray after tray of tea prepared. Each small pot and cup was rinsed with hot water, the tea poured between cup and pot several times to mix, and served with the little cups still steaming on the small trays.

When it came time for our own order – matcha choan and the less expensive matcha sendo – we were presented with a complimentary matcha truffle, and told to take a bite each and then taste the matcha sendo. I’m a little embarrassed to report that I had trouble distinguishing the two matchas, especially since one is twice the price of the other, but dutifully noted that the sendo was slightly more tannic. Both reminded me strongly of green tea ice cream. My husband thought the choan was a little more complex. All told, our two teas came to just under $20 CAD.

While we were served a complimentary truffle (it’s $1 on the menu), I was disheartened that we didn’t get to whisk our own tea in the large bowl-like cups like they had done in the program I had seen. They also didn’t sift it as I had seen, but I suppose that was all part of the magic of tv .

$20 seemed like a lot for two cups of tea (that we weren’t even allowed to whisk ourselves), though this was my first taste of matcha and I can see how a visit to this tea shop could be  a sophisticated substitute for a post-work visit to a pub. The woody Western setting is intimate and sexy but not oppressively preachy and we only got a brief reminder on the antioxidant qualities of matcha; service is friendly and timely.

metro: Berri-UQAM

351 Rue Émery at Rue St. Denis

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Hands down, this is the best burger joint in Montreal and due to its general awesomeness and very affordable pricing, achieves an unprecedented A+. From the retro art nostalgic décor that’s homey and not overdone, to the auntie-like francophone server, straight to the awesome, best burger I’ve ever had. Perfect sized savory poppy seed bun, mozzarella holding the pickles, mushrooms, bacon, lettuce, and tomato like glue, spicy mustard, and juicy well done patty. Usually I like my burgers done medium…but they didn’t even ask and more than pulled off well done. Chunky fries are hot and just the right shade of brown; “sauce” is the poutine gravy on the side, and “creme aux herbes” is sour cream with fresh herbes. We had no room for the famed milk shake dessert, though the tarte aux sucre was phenomenal – warm, sandy yet molten goodness on the inside cradled in a thick crust. No reservations; get there early or you won’t get a table. Doodle on your paper placemat with crayons while you wait.

302 Rue Ontario E. at St. Denis

metro: Berri-UQAM

Read Full Post »