Downtown Montreal now has twice as much Hawaiian raw fish on its metaphorical plate as the long-awaited Koa Lua swings its doors open today.
Coming to you from Yann Levy (see also: Biiru, Escondite), the Union Avenue spot is the first of two locations in what may become a mini Japanese-Hawaiian fusion empire. On the menu is poke (pronounced poh-kay), a Hawaiian rice bowl roughly comparable to Japanese chirashi. There are eight different options, most of which are served with raw tuna or salmon (there’s one vegetarian option) and all priced from $10 to $12. The bowls are filled up with other Japanese-Hawaiian vibing components: passionfruit satay sauce, furikake seasoning, macadamias, or candied pineapple, in various combinations. There’s also Spam musubi, a Hawaiian snack consisting of grilled spam wrapped up with rice, à la sushi, and three tropical-leaning juices.
The Union location — pictured here — has a fast-food approach and seats about 20, with distinctly Hawaiian décor, although without going into total tiki bar territory.
Levy tells Eater that hot bowls are in the works in the future, such as a Spam al pastor rice bowl, a teriyaki kalua pork bowl, and long rice chicken soup.
Koa Lua isn’t quite breaking Montreal’s poke seal — Le Poké Bar and Venice took those honours in May — and another semi-poke spot opened in Côte-des-Neiges not so long ago. But it has swept pretty thoroughly across much of North America, so it’s almost certain there will be more raw fish in the future for Montreal’s food scene.
STATUS — Koa Lua is at 1212 Union and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m weekdays for now.
- With Le Poké Bar, the Next Big Food Trend Finally Comes to Montreal [EMTL]
- Poke, Avocado Toast, and Smoothies Slay at Unlikely New Restaurant [EMTL]
- Three Food Trends Rolled into One at New CDN Spot [EMTL]
- Data Dive: Tracking the Poke Trend [Eater]
- Poke Bowls and Spam Musubi Coming to Downtown This Summer [EMTL]
- Say Aloha to Koa Lua, a New Hawaiian Restaurant Set for Downtown Montreal [EMTL]
- Koa Lua [Facebook]