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Mortadella hoagie
Dominique Lafond/Elena

10 Outstanding Pivots and Pop-Ups From Beloved Montreal Restaurants

Hoagies, empanadas and more from some of Montreal’s finest

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Mortadella hoagie
| Dominique Lafond/Elena

Chefs are used to mixing things up, using the same ingredients to make a different dish, but this spring’s lockdown necessitated a whole new level of creative thinking. From one spot’s BBQ chicken alter ego to another’s Cambodian street food ghost kitchen, here are the ways some of by the city’s most beloved restaurants (and one wine bar and one pub!) have pivoted their offerings.

Some venues on this list have dine-in areas that have been reopened. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the official sites of the Quebec government and Montreal’s public health authority (Santé Montréal). Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Moccione

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Neighbourhood spot Moccione continues its homey approach throughout COVID with three menus: one for sunny days on the terrasse, one for takeout, and a separate grocery menu offering in-house and carefully curated outsourced staples. Start with chef Luca Cianciulli’s fresh arancini or fried fish appetizer, and carry on in your own kitchen using Moccione’s pasta and sauces, their favourite cheeses and olive oil, and their beloved tiramisu for dessert. 

miamiamiam

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vinvinvin has stuck with a similar naming convention with its new miamiamiam food venture. Chef Marina De Figueiredo’s take on Sichuan includes vegetarian dandan noodles, mapo tofu, and oyster mushrooms with Sichuan peppercorns. Inspired by years of working and friendship with local Chinese chef Anita Yue Ming Feng (both Candide alumni), the food offerings are complemented by the extensive wine and beer list this Petite Patrie wine bar is known for. 

Casgrain BBQ

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Vin Mon Lapin’s alter ego Casgrain BBQ is all about ease: sourdough fried chicken, stuffed wings, chicken pot pies, ice cream sandwiches, and carrot cake for quick takeout. Business and life partners Marc-Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic put their usual creative twist on the menu and wine list curated by Les Vins Dame-Jeanne, Filipovic’s sommelier project. There’s a terrasse with heaters if you want to experience chef Jessica Noel’s sublime cooking, while the weather lasts. 

Larrys+

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Lawrence and Larry’s have traded spaces. Big brother Lawrence is now running seven-course prix fixe dinners in the smaller Fairmont space, while Mile End favourite Larrys has reimagined itself as a takeout and delivery spot with a larger square footage. Small plates are still prominent, but now so are burgers, slung seven days a week. Craving the Larrys breakfast sandwich? They still got it, plus everything from albacore ceviche to an entire rhubarb, cardamon, and pistachio tart, all available for takeout or delivery online.

Tinc Set

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Alma wine bar owners Lindsay Brennan and Juan Lopez Luna longed for a spot where their patrons could enjoy simple food. That’s exactly what they did for a pandemic-prompted pivot in their Outremont alleyway, close to their original restaurant. “Tinc set” means “I’m thirsty” in Catalán, and reasonably priced wines offer the ideal complement to its roast-chicken-with-sides regional menu.

L'Express

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L’Express’ efficient, zero-contact new takeaway operation started at the beginning of the lockdown and has proven so successful that it’s continuing. While they’ve re-opened for indoor dining, you can still order a jar of their in-house cornichons, with a side of lemon tart and a duck confit in between. Pickup (with wine) by appointment only, three days a week. 

View this post on Instagram

Salade de pieuvre grillée, lentilles, vinaigrette...

A post shared by Restaurant L'Express (@restaurantlexpress) on

Trifecta

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Trifecta’s elegant offerings come with pedigree: the chefs of Club Chasse et Pêche, Le Filet and Le Serpent want patrons to reproduce their refined dishes at home. With instructions online and ready-to-assemble ingredients provided, creating tuna tartare platters, wagyu beef with miso, and maple syrup pecan squares like the pros isn’t out of the questions. Order on Thursdays for Friday pickup.

Old Montreal’s Parliament Pub has tapped into chef Chanthy Yen’s family history and food passions in opening ghost kitchen Touk, an homage to Cambodian street food. Yen’s fried chicken memories resurface as Khey FC, served with pickled watermelon and tamarind ketchup; there’s steamed milk buns with peanuts and pickled cucumbers and dragon rolls, too. Don’t miss the cocktail mixer packages from Coldroom also on the Touk menu.

Elena has always done takeout, in the back through their Club Social bar, but the situation over the past few months has translated into all takeout, all the time. It’s not just thin-crust pizzas and Kale! César! salad on the menu to eat in nearby Pizza Parc: there’s hoagies and wine, and coffee, too. The restaurant’s merch shop is also growing, so fans can dangle their glasses on an Elena cord, strap on an Elena fanny pack, and start concocting some Elena creations at home from their cookbooks — proceeds go to the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.

Restaurant Beba

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Brothers Ari and Pablo Schor’s resto hadn’t yet been open a year when the pandemic hit, but they took it in stride, regrouping and switching to an entirely takeout menu. Argentinian-style empanadas with fillings ranging from duck to smoked meat feature heavily on the menu in fresh or frozen format, accompanied by seasonal salads, comforting braised meat mains, and flan for dessert. Don’t miss Beba’s homemade chimichurri, jalapeño salsa, or lambwich, artfully modeled by Ari on the resto’s fun instagram page.

View this post on Instagram

Week 12. Ari is about to lose his Argentine street cred but screw it: CHEESEBURGER EMPANADA. We made the American cheese. There’s pickles in the mix. Special sauce included. Bonus: no clowns here. Chanterelle & corn empanadas still a thing! Duet of the week of Softshell Crab and Squid in “Fried Ones pt. 2”. Ain’t no such thing as halfway cooks. The bean salad with pecorino dressing that wants to be a Caesar. Did anyone say Milanesa? Perhaps if you know what it is you did. Look it up! Keep your eyes peeled for the Saturday Supper, as I hear rumblings of a lamb and eggplant situation. 12-8. Thursday through Sunday. Get up, get out and eat something. . . . Semaine 12. Ariel va perdre le respect de tout les Argentines mais on s'en fout: EMPANADAS AU CHEESEBURGER. Nous avons fait du fromage américain. Cornichons dans le mix. Sauce spéciale incluse. Bonus: pas de clown ici. Empanadas de chanterelle et maïs encore dispo. Duo de la semaine, crabe à carapace molle et calmars dans " Les Frits pt. 2". "Ain’t no such thing as halfway cooks". La salade de fèves avec pecorino qui tente d'être une Caesar. Quelqu'un a parlé de Milanesa! Vous avez peut-être entendu si vous savez c'est quoi. Fouillez un peu! Gardez vos yeux ouverts pour le souper du Samedi soir, d'après ce que j'ai entendu, il y a une histoire d'agneau et d'aubergines. 12-20. Jeudi au Dimanche.

A post shared by Restaurant Beba (@restaurantbeba) on

Moccione

Neighbourhood spot Moccione continues its homey approach throughout COVID with three menus: one for sunny days on the terrasse, one for takeout, and a separate grocery menu offering in-house and carefully curated outsourced staples. Start with chef Luca Cianciulli’s fresh arancini or fried fish appetizer, and carry on in your own kitchen using Moccione’s pasta and sauces, their favourite cheeses and olive oil, and their beloved tiramisu for dessert. 

miamiamiam

vinvinvin has stuck with a similar naming convention with its new miamiamiam food venture. Chef Marina De Figueiredo’s take on Sichuan includes vegetarian dandan noodles, mapo tofu, and oyster mushrooms with Sichuan peppercorns. Inspired by years of working and friendship with local Chinese chef Anita Yue Ming Feng (both Candide alumni), the food offerings are complemented by the extensive wine and beer list this Petite Patrie wine bar is known for. 

Casgrain BBQ

Vin Mon Lapin’s alter ego Casgrain BBQ is all about ease: sourdough fried chicken, stuffed wings, chicken pot pies, ice cream sandwiches, and carrot cake for quick takeout. Business and life partners Marc-Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic put their usual creative twist on the menu and wine list curated by Les Vins Dame-Jeanne, Filipovic’s sommelier project. There’s a terrasse with heaters if you want to experience chef Jessica Noel’s sublime cooking, while the weather lasts. 

Larrys+

Lawrence and Larry’s have traded spaces. Big brother Lawrence is now running seven-course prix fixe dinners in the smaller Fairmont space, while Mile End favourite Larrys has reimagined itself as a takeout and delivery spot with a larger square footage. Small plates are still prominent, but now so are burgers, slung seven days a week. Craving the Larrys breakfast sandwich? They still got it, plus everything from albacore ceviche to an entire rhubarb, cardamon, and pistachio tart, all available for takeout or delivery online.

Tinc Set

Alma wine bar owners Lindsay Brennan and Juan Lopez Luna longed for a spot where their patrons could enjoy simple food. That’s exactly what they did for a pandemic-prompted pivot in their Outremont alleyway, close to their original restaurant. “Tinc set” means “I’m thirsty” in Catalán, and reasonably priced wines offer the ideal complement to its roast-chicken-with-sides regional menu.

L'Express

L’Express’ efficient, zero-contact new takeaway operation started at the beginning of the lockdown and has proven so successful that it’s continuing. While they’ve re-opened for indoor dining, you can still order a jar of their in-house cornichons, with a side of lemon tart and a duck confit in between. Pickup (with wine) by appointment only, three days a week. 

View this post on Instagram

Salade de pieuvre grillée, lentilles, vinaigrette...

A post shared by Restaurant L'Express (@restaurantlexpress) on

Trifecta

Trifecta’s elegant offerings come with pedigree: the chefs of Club Chasse et Pêche, Le Filet and Le Serpent want patrons to reproduce their refined dishes at home. With instructions online and ready-to-assemble ingredients provided, creating tuna tartare platters, wagyu beef with miso, and maple syrup pecan squares like the pros isn’t out of the questions. Order on Thursdays for Friday pickup.

Touk

Old Montreal’s Parliament Pub has tapped into chef Chanthy Yen’s family history and food passions in opening ghost kitchen Touk, an homage to Cambodian street food. Yen’s fried chicken memories resurface as Khey FC, served with pickled watermelon and tamarind ketchup; there’s steamed milk buns with peanuts and pickled cucumbers and dragon rolls, too. Don’t miss the cocktail mixer packages from Coldroom also on the Touk menu.

Elena

Elena has always done takeout, in the back through their Club Social bar, but the situation over the past few months has translated into all takeout, all the time. It’s not just thin-crust pizzas and Kale! César! salad on the menu to eat in nearby Pizza Parc: there’s hoagies and wine, and coffee, too. The restaurant’s merch shop is also growing, so fans can dangle their glasses on an Elena cord, strap on an Elena fanny pack, and start concocting some Elena creations at home from their cookbooks — proceeds go to the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.

Restaurant Beba

Brothers Ari and Pablo Schor’s resto hadn’t yet been open a year when the pandemic hit, but they took it in stride, regrouping and switching to an entirely takeout menu. Argentinian-style empanadas with fillings ranging from duck to smoked meat feature heavily on the menu in fresh or frozen format, accompanied by seasonal salads, comforting braised meat mains, and flan for dessert. Don’t miss Beba’s homemade chimichurri, jalapeño salsa, or lambwich, artfully modeled by Ari on the resto’s fun instagram page.

View this post on Instagram

Week 12. Ari is about to lose his Argentine street cred but screw it: CHEESEBURGER EMPANADA. We made the American cheese. There’s pickles in the mix. Special sauce included. Bonus: no clowns here. Chanterelle & corn empanadas still a thing! Duet of the week of Softshell Crab and Squid in “Fried Ones pt. 2”. Ain’t no such thing as halfway cooks. The bean salad with pecorino dressing that wants to be a Caesar. Did anyone say Milanesa? Perhaps if you know what it is you did. Look it up! Keep your eyes peeled for the Saturday Supper, as I hear rumblings of a lamb and eggplant situation. 12-8. Thursday through Sunday. Get up, get out and eat something. . . . Semaine 12. Ariel va perdre le respect de tout les Argentines mais on s'en fout: EMPANADAS AU CHEESEBURGER. Nous avons fait du fromage américain. Cornichons dans le mix. Sauce spéciale incluse. Bonus: pas de clown ici. Empanadas de chanterelle et maïs encore dispo. Duo de la semaine, crabe à carapace molle et calmars dans " Les Frits pt. 2". "Ain’t no such thing as halfway cooks". La salade de fèves avec pecorino qui tente d'être une Caesar. Quelqu'un a parlé de Milanesa! Vous avez peut-être entendu si vous savez c'est quoi. Fouillez un peu! Gardez vos yeux ouverts pour le souper du Samedi soir, d'après ce que j'ai entendu, il y a une histoire d'agneau et d'aubergines. 12-20. Jeudi au Dimanche.

A post shared by Restaurant Beba (@restaurantbeba) on

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