It’s always appalling to hear someone protest going out for Indian. The kneejerk cop-out involves distaste for spice, sometimes ironically phrased as a preference for “meat and potatoes” — ironic, because Indian cuisine offers numerous delicious options for both. Granted, spice is part of most of the package, and neither water nor beer will really cut it when it’s hot, though wines can ease things a bit (surprisingly, to some people) and certainly yogurt drinks, notably the popular and versatile non-alcoholic Indian staple drink Lassi. Here are some of Montreal’s best tongue-flagging destinations, guaranteed to have your tongue wagging post-meal.
Le Taj [pictured]
Not only is the food here impeccable, the service raises the bar for how patrons should be treated at restaurants (admittedly, we love being pampered). Further, Le Taj serves up meals that lose none of their taste or charm when plated in large portions, so come hungry, and in a group. Highlight dish: chicken korma.
2077 Stanley St. 514 845 9015
Tucked into an otherwise Eurocentric neighborhood, the handsome-looking Gandhi appears to hold the Indian cuisine monopoly within the Old Port. Mind you, it’s Old Port pricing here, but the finesse is merited by the tact and skill that go into the dishes, notably the tikka rejalla lamb. With a wine list that’ll surprise even the snobbiest of connoisseurs, this joint could be your next impressive Friday night date spot.
230 St Paul St. West 514 845 5866
Tandoor & Grille
Moving towards a balance of Indian and Pakistani cuisine, Tandoor & Grille serves some of the city’s best authentic South Asian cuisine. While several dishes are noteworthy, we advise the baigan bharta eggplant and the balti wicked (a rich curry). Coupled with a tecchy, new-money ambiance — chandeliers and flat screens — the restaurant nods to both traditional and pop culture. Either way, they’re doing something right.
4690 des Soruces Blvd. 514 683 4878
A vegetarian hotspot, Pushap Sweets is perhaps a little out of the way — but if you’re a believer in time-is-money, you might be pleasantly surprised. Most meals total ten dollars or less, and if the food preparation takes too long (in their eyes), you’ll often score a free dish or handful of samosas. Healthy, cheap, and amiable staff? Yeah, we’ll make the trip.
5195 Pare St. 514 737 4527
This wouldn’t be a proper Indian cuisine list without sending you into Parc Ex, a tightknit neighborhood known for serving up and noshing on spicy foods. Be warned: the service is god awful, so if you’re ill-tempered or impatient, this is not the spot for you. Those with thicker skin and a craving for authentic Indian food, it’s worth a visit to India’s Oven — undoubtedly some of the best tandoori, dal tadka, and naan in the city. If you want the goods without putting up with the BS, India’s Oven also offers take out, which might be the perfect compromise.
454 Jean-Talon St. West 514 509 8678
Image courtesy of mricon.