Montréal winters can be frosty but our Latin roots keep us warm all year long. One of the best ways to stay warm is to add a little spice to the menu. And, happily, Montréal’s close-knit community of Mexican expats gives us lots of great choices when it comes to authentic Mexican flavours. Here are some of my favourite spots.
Le Petit Coin du Mexique – 2474 Jean-Talon Street East
Off the beaten path, this modest Mexican joint has some of the best authentic Mexican food in the city. Located in the Villeray neighbourhood of Montréal, Le Petite Coin de Mexique – “The little Mexican corner” – is only about a 15-minute metro ride from downtown (to Iberville station, located across the street from the restaurant.) Get out of the cold and warm up with their menu of Mexican classics including their signature tacos “Al Pastor”, “trompo” spit roasted pork wrapped in corn tortillas topped with pineapples.
Escondite – 1206 Union Street
Located in the heart of downtown, Escondite bills itself as a “cerveceria de barrio” which means “neighbourhood brasserie”. Escondite serves up amazing cocktails like the Cartel de Santa, a hibiscus flower based drink with lime and soda, as well as non-alcoholic mixed drinks like a traditional horchata. The menu consists of small sharable tapas dishes, ceviches, grilled meats and creative takes on the classic tacos. Check out the “El Clandestino” taco – smoked meat topped with a mirin and green Tabasco pineapple slaw. It’s a great way to add some heat in the winter months.
Chipotle et Jalapeno – 1481 Amherst Street
Part boutique/specialty store and part Mexican restaurant, Chipotle et Jalapeno’s menu comprises mostly Mexican classics like burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas, including specialties like mole peblano, a thick and savory chocolate-based sauce rich in a secret blend of herbs and spices. Order the ropa vieja (a beef stew burrito) and a big bowl of their tortilla soup (chicken and tomato broth topped with tortilla chips, avocado and sour cream) to chase the chill from your bones.
Tejano BBQ Burrito – 511 de Courcelle Street
This fun and casual Tex-Mex favourite in the southwest borough of Saint-Henri blends traditional Mexican recipes and ingredients with the rich, bold and smoky flavours of Texas. Meats like the smoked chicken tinga, chorizo spiced pull pork and ancho cumin beef comes from the smokers of championship pitmaster Dylan Kier of Blackstrap BBQ. His local burrito shop often sees lunch crowds waiting patiently in line that stretches out the door for their Tex-Mex fix.
Maria Bonita – 5269 Casgrain Avenue
Chef/owner Maria Chavez, invites you to experience Mexican food her way. Family recipes and interpretations of classic Mexican recipes, Maria Bonita’s specialties are “cazuelitas” – small earthenware dishes filled with different stewed meats and vegetables served with corn tortillas. With over 20 different cazuelita dishes, their concept is ideal for all occasions, from large family gatherings to an intimate dinner for two. Their menu will satisfy all palates and Maria’s soups are guaranteed to soothe the soul on a cold winter evening.
You could also read: Where to eat tacos in Montréal
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