Considering Montreal’s Gaelic roots, it is hardly surprising that the city would be a haven for food lovers. In agreement on that count are Daniel Boulud (famous for his restaurant Daniel in Manhattan; he will be opening Maison Boulud in Montreal next year), Mathieu Darche (forward for the Montreal Canadiens), and A.J. Kinik (his website, endlessbanquet.blogspot.com, is essential reading for Canadian food lovers).
If A.J. Kinik craves cutting-edge food, he makes his way to Au Pied de Cochon: “Montreal’s most cutting-edge restaurants are its most creative. The chef here, Martin Picard, made a name for himself by taking popular and working-class dishes and giving them the high-end treatment … He went the opposite direction with French classics, like taking magret de canard, canning it, and serving it straight out of a can at the table. Who the hell wants to see hot food served out of a tin can in a top-notch restaurant? Nobody. Unless it comes out of Martin’s kitchen.” 536 Ave. Duluth Est, (514) 281-1114, restaurantaupieddecochon.ca
After a hockey game, Mathieu Darche and the other Canadiens often make it to Garde-Manger: “The chef, Chuck Hughes, won Iron Chef America this past winter, and one of the dishes with which he took first prize — lobster and mushroom risotto — is always on the menu, as is his signature dish, lobster poutine [which is french fries topped with lobster meat cooked in butter and augmented with melted cheese]. You eat that stuff and then you can have a fried Mars bar for dessert!” 408 Rue Saint-François-Xavier, (514) 678-5044
When Daniel Boulud wants to talk business, he does it at Ferreira Cafe: “The atmosphere is that of a brasserie but with white tablecloths and very good service. The food is Portuguese, and I recommend anything there that is cooked in the wood-burning oven. They do a wonderful baked and salted cod, which is quite beautiful. There’s a good wine list and the atmosphere is relaxing, which helps to make it a successful spot for discussing business.” 1446 Rue Peel, (514) 848-0988, ferreiracafe.com
As one of the more vibrant cities in South America, Buenos Aires maintains a dining scene that stands up to its reputation for being a sexy and adventurous locale. Ezequiel Gallardo (chef/owner of Treintasillas) and Patricia O’Shea (owner of Hotel Home, a top independently owned hotel in Buenos Aires) give us the grand tour.
Ezequiel Gallardo beats a path to La Cabrera for Argentina’s famous steaks: “They have wooden floors, a lot of art on the walls, and the best meat in town. I like to get the rib eye. The beef is all grass fed, and that contributes to the quality. Accompanying the steak, I just get lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. You get a good steak and that is the best garnish. Nothing complicated.” José Antonio Cabrera 5099, 011-54-11-4831-7002, www.parrillalacabrera.com.ar
To eat like a local, Patricia O’Shea rings the bell at Treintasillas: “It is a type of restaurant in Buenos Aires that we call puertas cerradas, which translates to mean closed doors. [Often] these restaurants are in the chefs’ homes; the food is simple and the ingredients are ultrafresh. At Treintasillas I had an excellent plate of buffalo mozzarella — which is very hard to find in Argentina — with some very nice olive oil over it. The entrée was a beautiful piece of roasted pork. You eat what the chef thinks is really good that day. The whole experience is very personalized.” 011-54-11-449-27046, treintasillas.com (A reservation must be made, via phone or the website, in order to get the address.)
For hanging out with fellow chefs, Gallardo goes to El Preferido de Palermo: “The atmosphere is simple and the food is homemade Spanish style. After spending a whole night preparing fancy meals for customers, chefs prefer food that is good and basic. I like the veal with tomato sauce, onions, and a little bit of garlic. For dessert, it’s always flan, which is very good.” Jorge Luis Borges 2108, 011-54-11-4774-6585