Where Montreal Restaurant Obsessives Got Their Takeout in 2020
Etna, Pumpui, and Dobe & Andy were popular picks this year As is tradition at Eater, we close the year by asking a group of food writers, bloggers, and others about town to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers — unedited (except for grammar) and in no particular order — will be revealed in several posts by the time the clock runs out on 2020. Here, they share their regular go-to destinations for takeout and delivery this year.
Joanna Fox, food writer, and associate editor at ELLE Canada: Oh boy, there was so much eating! I live in the Southwest, so most of my haunts were places I could easily go and pick up: Loïc, Elena, Foxy, Sumac, Satay Brothers, Tandoori Delicious (a little Verdun Indian secret), Vin Papillon, Touk, McKiernan’s, Beba, and Nora Gray, plus honourable mentions for J’ai Feng, Vesta and Vin Mon Lapin.
JP Karwacki, Time Out Montreal editor: I’ll try to keep this short: Easy eats came from Wren’s for burgers and poutine, Tejano for burrito(s bowls), griot wraps from Pikliz, Bossa for porchetta sandwiches, Les Crazy Chickens for Korean fried chicken, ramen from Marusan, McKiernan for stacked muffuletta, croquettes from La Croqueteria and Hélicoptère for some of the best breakfast sandwiches and prix fixe menus in town. Fancy nights in involved Les Street Monkeys, Foxy, Mon Lapin, Gentile Pizza Parlour and their seven-cheese truffle honey pizza and an upcoming holiday meal at Beba I’m looking forward to.
Hey, I said I would try.
Iris Gagnon-Paradis, La Presse restaurant reporter: Takeout had a big place in my life in 2020 and I tried a lot of different options. My go-to places were Mitch Deli for a sandwich and great bottle of nature wine on the go, Provisions (either the Plateau or Outremont’s address) for their crazy good burgers, Hélicoptère for more fancy dinners (really good and affordable), Darna Bistroquet for their great Kémia apéro boxes this summer in the park and more recently the Etna apéro kit (what can I say, I love apéro time!)
Alison Slattery, principal photographer, Two Food Photographers: We spent a lot of time outside this summer, and Mandy’s was one of our go-to places to grab salads and head out to the countryside. We also ordered Pizzeria 900, Otto, Mae Sri, Aunt Dai & Banh Mi Express (cause of my obsession with banh mi).
Jason Lee, food blogger, Shut Up and Eat: Dak hing BBQ for Chinese BBQ classics, Nguyen Phi for some of the city’s best pho, as well as the local pizza and shawarma spot.
Clay Sandhu, food writer, Cult MTL: My rule for takeout has always been that I only order out what I don’t cook at home. Being at home a lot this year meant cooking a lot, too. That said, it was crucially important to support restaurants through takeout and I did my part on that end. My regular spots are Dobe & Andy in Chinatown — the BBQ duck is incredible and their Cantonese beef stew is a revelation. I also ordered from Pumpui — Jesse Mulder has been making delicious Thai food for years. Not only is the food good, but the owners of Pumpui actively work to support small farmers in Quebec and Thailand as well as local importers of Thai products. Of course, what would a year of takeout be without a good pizza joint? For me, that’s been Pizza Toni. Uncomplicated New York-style pizza by the slice or by the pie — what else can you ask for?
Anonymous, @FNoMTL: Appetite has been a weird thing these past few months. Maybe it’s because we’ve lost so many excuses to walk across town or get spontaneous bits of exercise. Maybe it’s the global depression. But for comfort food, Trip de Bouffe and Harbin dumpling always come through. They are never a bad decision, and seem to be doing well, which is nice.
Early on in the pandemic, we definitely believed on some level that our favourite restaurants would only survive if we ordered everything on the menu multiple times a week. So there was some heavy spending at Larry’s, Pumpui, and Elena. There still is, but we’ve calmed down a little. Just once a week.
Amie Watson, freelance food writer, Montreal Gazette: I’m picky when it comes to takeout and delivery because I have no problem paying for a restaurant experience, but I have a hard time justifying spending what can be even more money for the luxury of eating at home and either having to plate everything myself or eat from takeout containers. But of course I wanted to support local businesses, so I looked for bang for my buck and foods that I either can’t make myself or take too much effort. My favourites are Komomo (Sushi Momo’s to-go operation) and Ryu (because it’s the only sushi place in Montreal that only sells certified sustainable fish). I tried some other places but was always disappointed. Sometimes the fried items had been sitting around too long, skin that was supposed to be crispy was gelatinous and other times things were too salty or too cold. There’s no point kicking these places while they’re down, though. Takeout and delivery are hard! At least with CHK PLZ, Eva, Radish and few other contactless payment and delivery startups, there are some local companies that restaurants can use to actually make money instead of relying on third-party apps for pennies.
Rachel Cheng, photographer and food security activist: 1) Dobe & Andy for Cantonese comfort food. Their noodles, congee, and Chinese BBQ were mainstays for me this year. 2) Maurin Traiteur for healthy local cooking. I love ordering from Maurin knowing that she works closely with sustainable producers in Québec. 3) Etna, for aperitivo and Italian and Andalusian small plates. This was where I got takeout when I had something to celebrate or just needed a little treat.
Ivy Lerner-Frank, Eater Montreal contributor: Pumpui, because I can’t resist their fried chicken and Yam Samun Phrai salads — plus they’re just awesome, progressive fellas; Pizzeria Gema, because their thin crust pizzas are so good and Carlos the manager always makes me feel welcome; and Hô Gúóm, because I love dill in anything, and their Cha Ca La Vong is laced with loads of it.
Year in Eater coverage [EMTL]
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