Impress visiting relatives, show off to your friends, woo your boss! Montreal is full of great little secret places, people and things unique to our culture. Here are some of the most amazing things in Montreal anglos have been keeping all to themselves:
1. Hwang Kum
5908 Sherbrooke Street West, 514-487-1712
This charming Korean serves up steaming hot plates of ribs, chicken and beef, with steamed rice and more. But the pièce de resistance is their famous pajeon, a crispy plate-sized “pancake” with shredded zucchinis, onions, carrots and shrimps.
2. La Lumière du Mile End
214 Bernard O, 514-658-4949
The heart of the Mile End is illuminated by this rustic restaurant. The joint serves such vegan fare as burgers to sandwiches, smoothies, lattes, and a totally addictive fudge dessert. Try the Burrito la Lumière — packed with chipotle-seasoned black beans, avocado and a mango, corn and salsa salad — and you’ll have second thoughts about eating anything with eyeballs again.
3. Restaurant Rayan
6080 Côte-des-Neiges, 514-735-6866
You see the fish, you pick the fish, they cook the fish, you eat the fish. This busy Middle-Eastern eatery is located in Côtes-des-Neiges and is much like a fish market. Take yourself to the back and choose from fresh calimari, black tiger shrimp, salmon, tuna, lobster, and more. Not much on ambiance, but the food will make your taste-buds explode.
4. Piccadilly Bakery and Pastry Shop
542 Av Ogilvy, 514-277-5705
Insane pastries and sweets, like Mom used to make, only better! (Don’t tell her that though.) Ranging from ginger cookies that you’ll kill stray cats for to spanakopita that defies Spock’s logic, Picadilly does not disappoint – and it’s open surprisingly late!
5. DJ Dave Allison
Dave Allison spins deep disco, jazzy grooves and house beats for your many musical moods. Tons of mixes and free tracks for download. Catch him Thursdays at Pub Quartier Latin.
6. Basement Soul
Work from home or an office that could use a little bit of flavour? Basement Soul’s got you with mixes of soul, funk, R&B, techno, and more. Don’t look for him in a club though, this DJ’s sole mission is to spread the love of music from around the world and bring it directly to you. His blog is updated several times a week with new songs and mixes (62 and counting).
Arresting folk-soul with a touch of Creole, local singer/songwriter Sika’s (née Jessica Valmé) music is influenced by the relative ease of life here in Quebec tempered with the harsh realities of Port-au-Prince where she was born. Her music is composed of acoustic guitar, keys, percussion and a lyricism that pulls the listener in close with intimate explorations of the human condition.
8. Music Is My Sanctuary Monthly at Le Belmont
A night by music heads for music heads. Five hours of dance floor action. Working the angles and connecting the musical dots. With DJ Lexis and Scott C, Music Is My Sanctuary is held the second Saturday of every month.
9. Isabelle Duguay
Up-and-coming photographer, Isabelle Duguay’s book, : Art Doesn’t Come Out of a Book, is a photography-based project that explores the notion of “quote culture” — where everything is boiled down to a catchy phrase or a punchy one-liner. Duguay explores this medium with a series of street interventions that act as art reflections in our urban surroundings.
Two visual artists, HOAR and KOR, work as a team to bring their individual styles together with HOARKOR. Working with stencils, wheat paste, spray paint, screen print, painting, drawing, and installations, their fine arts-backed street art steez is influenced by everything from pop culture to cartoons and graffiti.
11. Dan Buller AKA DSTRBO
Founding member of the Heavyweight art installation (1998), DSTRBO has worked on hundreds of creative projects, including projects with Moment Factory to spontaneous murals during the Montreal Jazzfest, to painting Snoop Dogg during a his music video (yes, Snoop is a fan), and more. DSTRBO, has an unparalleled aesthetic that ranges from graffiti and comic book styles to the photorealistic. Be on the lookout for his latest project, Z’Isle, a post-zombie apocalypse series.
12. Dream Life, by Salgood Sam
This comic tells the story of five friends, and their experiences of dreams, drugs, and denial.. novella coming of age story by local artist Salgood Sam, Dream Life is masterfully drawn and brilliantly told.
13. Minority Media
Creators of Papo & Yo, an unconventional and popular puzzle/adventure video game where a young boy by the name of Quico befriends a gruesome monster with an addiction to poisonous frogs that sets it into a destructive frenzy. Solve puzzles with your monster friend through strange and surreal worlds in order to save him from his addiction!
14. Metachroma Theatre
Founded in 2010 Metachroma is a theatre company that addresses the under-representation of visible minority actors in Canadian theatre, challenging current perceptions by telling stories with a culturally diverse cast in order to normalize the presence of these artists. They mounted a retelling of Richard III this fall as well as Teesri Duniya’s Where the Blood Mixes.
15. Matthew Mather
Montreal’s premier science fiction writer, Matthew Mathers’latest, The Atopia Chronicles, was the international number one science fiction book on Amazon.com for six weeks.
16. The Phi Centre
A smart building for art, the centre has four floors of versatile space adaptable to all types of events imaginable: launches, conferences, colloquia, screenings, exhibitions, and performances.
17. Yellow Hydrant
Dope clothes for your dog, from joke shirts, to winter wear, to leather jackets and Mack-daddy wear!
18. Poutine All-Dressed
Clever Quebec-flavoured shirts with flair and style ranging from francophone sayings and icons to Quebecois themes and inside jokes tastefully illustrated on quality shirts.
Crazy, fun and original jewellery made with plastic, metal, and wood. Lego rings, skulls, turntables and cassette earrings and Montreal insignias are just a few of their designs.
20. Vvivid Vynil
Ever wanted to drive around with a montage of all of your baby pictures all over your car? Hey, me too! Forget painting your car, your furniture or your wall, get a vinyl sticker of any colour, pattern or design custom cut and expertly applied for nowhere near as expensive as you thought!
What are your MTL best kept secrets?
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to answer!