Just because it’s cold out, it doesn’t mean new restaurants, cafes and bars stop opening — and here are a few who opened up this winter that might deserve your attention.
MILE END — If you’re a caffeine-loving vape bro, then it’s your lucky day: say hello to Montreal’s newest hybrid venture, the cafe-slash-vape store. It’s more or less the same mixed business operations as (for example) the hybrid cafe-clothing store (Café Névé’s joint operation with Frank & Oak, among others), or the cafe-laundromat (Blanc de Blanc). The vape cafe, if you will, is called Le Knockbox, and it’s on Parc Avenue in the space formerly inhabited by another ill-fated hybrid store, Hip Hop Cafe. 4803 Parc, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (5 p.m. weekends).
PLATEAU — Wine bar Rouge Gorge now has its very own cocktail bar in the form of Le Royal. It’s tucked away right next door to Rouge Gorge on Mont-Royal Avenue, and is definitely going for that plush early 20th century society vibe which some might (inaccurately) call a speakeasy: dim lighting, lots of red and brown, and the use of a typeface not dissimilar to Broadway. Cocktails — both craft and classic — are the priority: check out that extraordinarily well-arranged bar set-up. 1232 Mont-Royal East, open 5:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday.
MILE END — There’s a new Ethiopian restaurant in the shadow of the mountain: Queen Sheba is the Mile End’s first, with spongy injera bread and warming stews galore. 4525 Parc, open 5 to 11 p.m. weekdays, and noon to 3 p.m. then 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekends.
PETITE-PATRIE — Venerable Town of Mount Royal Italian resto Villa Armando has its first outpost. Caffètteria Armando is on Bellechasse, and is a much more casual affair than its mothership, sticking primarily to lunch and brunch. It’s also a small Italian grocery store, and sells Italian classics like bombolini and cornetto — filled doughnuts and croissants. 1239 de Bellechasse, open 8 a.m. daily until 6 p.m. Monday, 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday.
DOWNTOWN — The downtown sushi scene is a little larger now with the addition of Le Ninja on Bishop Street. Aiming at traditional Japanese with just a hint of French, it’s got a tight list of sashimi, nigiri, and maki (including deep-fried rolls), plus a ramen option, tempura, and gyoza. Peep the menu below. 1242 Bishop, open 5 to 10 p.m. daily (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday).
PLATEAU — Les Nomades is a new bistro on St-Denis Street doing the whole locavore thing on a menu rife with local produce. A variety of modern, international fare takes the spotlight here — while French touches like frog’s legs and a wintery sweetbread dish are present, there’s equally ceviche and Korean-style beef. It comes from chef Nicolas Salinas, winner of fast-paced culinary competition Underground Chef Cartel. He’s paired up with Gad Lachance on the business side of the operation. 4287 St-Denis, open 5:30 to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday (10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday).
NDG — And lastly, west-side shawarma fans rejoice, as the city’s favourite Crescent Street store expands west: there’s a new Boustan on Sherbrooke Street in NDG, it delivers, and it’s open obscenely late on weekends. 6202 Sherbrooke West, open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily (4 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights).