Recent days have brought a slew of new openings in Little Italy and its broader borough to note.
First up, the unfortunately-named Sham has taken the place of the former Nicola Travaglini, on the corner of Mozart and Casgrain, right next to the Jean-Talon Market.
The name could be drawn from the Arabic name for the city of Damascus (al-Sham), or from Farsi, where “sham” means “dinner”, and is pronounced “shaahm”. But in English, it’s less ideal, given that “sham” means “bogus”, opening the restaurant up to all sorts of cheesy jokes about its name (“This place is a sham!”).
Mercifully, the name looks to be the worst thing at Sham — the part-grocery store specializes in Syrian and Levantine cuisine, including pizza-like lahmajoun, kibbeh, and a range of salads and sandwiches. There are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options, and it’s all highly affordable.
Sham isn’t the only shiny newcomer to the area: a few blocks over on the Main is Café La Fora, a new family-run Portuguese sandwich store, open as of Sunday.
Further afield, the Beaubien strip of Rosemont welcomed taqueria Calaveras in recent days, located just east of de Lorimier. Chef-owner Emilia Meillon popped up in Molson Park during the summer to sell tacos, burritos, tortas, and quesadillas, also setting up a stall at neighbourhood events. Now her brick-and-mortar establishment is here, doing similar fare.