It must be almost “Best of 2017” season, because this week is Lesley Chesterman’s final regular review for the Gazette for this year — she’s at Westmount’s Tavern on the Square. It’s the 15-year-old neighbourhood staple’s first write-up since its makeover earlier this year, and it’s a fine note for Chesterman to wrap up the year upon. She notes that it’s somewhat of an anglo haunt, and the kind of restaurant that draws regulars, and it becomes fairly clear why people come back: the majority of Chesterman’s experience is a success. Good wine list and cocktails? Check. Al dente homemade pappardelle with “luscious” veal and “vibrant” tomato sauce? Check. Other successes include a radicchio salad with bacon, dates, and pecorino, and mushroom crostini with burrata, leeks and more. The only flop is the chicken wings — at $15 for three, they’re both pricy and too salty and spicy — but with multiple successes, it’s three stars to end the year. [Montreal Gazette]
At Le Devoir, critic Jean-Philippe Tastet is at new-ish downtown Moroccan spot Tangia, and it keeps up its unblemished run of positive reviews. It starts a little rough — a long wait for the first course, and the restaurant is out of the harira soup on the menu — but the mix of classic Moroccan dishes with modern takes on the cuisine wins Tastet over. He has his complaints: a carrot-cumin salad has elements which are all “competing for last place” (ouch), and a chicken tagine with olives and confit lemon is rather flat. But many other plates fare well: the stewy, tagine-adjacent tangia with beef cheek is “perfect”, complete with aromatic lemon scents, a meatball tagine also fares well, and ditto for the savoury pastry, a chicken pastilla. Tastet is often a stickler for desserts and Tangia fares well with a light cream of saffron, anise, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, and orange blossom dish. Three and a half stars. [Le Devoir]
Finally, Thierry Daraize for Le Journal de Montréal is at Old Montreal wine bar-resto Accords, and as always, he loves it, whipping out seven exclamation points in his enthusiasm. It’s “elegant”, it has a great lunchtime deal, a lovely terrasse — Daraize finds a lot to like. Food-wise, Daraize finds everything pretty successful: veal tongue with salicorne and shitaake mushrooms demonstrates technical mastery, and potentially tricky-to-wrangle flavours like smoked eel also come out well-balanced. House-made pappardelle with root vegetables and braised beef short rib is also a home run (although serving it in a cast iron dish is a little unwieldy, the critic notes). And like so many (too many?) other restaurants in this city, Accords has a fondant for dessert. Four stars.
- Try Tavern on the Square, and it will be your go-to place [Montreal Gazette]
- Westmount Classic Tavern on the Square Gets a Makeover [EMTL]
- L’autre Maroc, version Tangia [Le Devoir]
- Soigné Moroccan is Coming Downtown With Tangia [EMTL]
- De nouvelles saveurs au restaurant Accords [Le Journal de Montréal]