Visiting Mais, Montreal’s newest taco shop, we can’t help but recall the idiom, “the best things in life are free.” Carefully crafted, expertly executed, the ambiance, service, gaiety and in-house hot sauce trump—but don’t outshine—the purchasable items on the menu.
David Schmidt opened Mais to prove a point about dining traditions in Quebec: they’re outmoded, hoity-toity and need a good kick in the arse. Introducing a restaurant that subverts the norm, this establishment sports a long table for patrons to bump elbows with strangers as well as comfortably tight (see: cozy) barstools. The lighting, lamps imported from Kentucky, is dim, but Schmidt’s ever-engaging attitude brightens up the room.
From $3.50 to $4.50, the tacos give the same respect to the ingredients as you’d find in fine dining, and ultimately taste like something from the hand of god, but Mais’ atmosphere is about diffusing pretention. Beyond top-notch food, drinks are incredibly affordable—$11 for a pitcher, cocktails at $10 or under. $4 tequila shots call out to those ill at ease with sharing elbowroom with neighbours.
Our favourites include the carnitas topped with pork rinds, the chicken-liver tostadas and their signature cocktail, the Painkiller.
5439 St Laurent Blvd., 514-507-7740. No reservations, cash only.
Photos courtesy of Mais.