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.comBuenos Aires
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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