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Candide Is One of Montreal's Best New Restaurants, Trumpets Critic

Jean-Philippe Tastet is exuberant.

Bryan Sham, Marina De Figueiredo, Valérie Bélisle, John Winter Russell, and Evan Baker
Bryan Sham, Marina De Figueiredo, Valérie Bélisle, John Winter Russell, and Evan Baker
Randall Brodeur

Chef John Winter Russell's first restaurant just started welcoming customers on November 26, but the critic for Le Devoir can't resist the chance to sneak in a review of the anticipated newcomer before year's end. Candide, a handsome Little Burgundy restaurant inside heritage digs, is "époustouflant", writes Jean-Philippe Tastet today. The thoughtful revamp of the mid 19th-century St. Joseph's Church charms the critic. "Vous aimez les maisons où, dès que vous êtes assis, vous avez l’impression d’être dans un endroit familier, confortable, chaleureux. Le décor ayant une beauté modeste ou une belle modestie, vous savez que vous allez faire durer la soirée ici."

Tastet's meal commences well with two cocktails, and a starter of black cabbage, grilled onions, yogurt, and barley. Another starter of leeks, mussels, and green tomatoes is "décapante." Larger plates—guinea hen with squash and cranberries; smoked sturgeon with kohlrabi and crème fraiche—hit the mark, too. The fish in particular, tickles Tastet's fancy. "Outre ces trois éléments travaillés avec soin, l’assiette était pleine de voyages, de photos de vacances, de fumoirs sur la plage au retour de la pêche."

The takeaway: make a beeline for Candide. The restaurant is run by immense talents, Tastet determines, and the modest $43 prix fixe is a steal. Candide shines most in the details too, from the well-curated wine list (wine director Emily Campeau will assume her post shortly), to the ceramic bowls and plates, to the choice coffee and teas on offer. "J’ai tellement aimé cette maison qu’elle a pris place sur le podium des meilleures tables visitées en 2015 pour Le Devoir," concludes Tastet. See an exclusive photo gallery of Candide here.


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