Tag Archives: Mexican

Best of Montreal 2009

bom09Yep, it’s that time of year again! The people have spoken, and the results of the Mirror’s annual Best of Montreal survey are in. Let’s examine some of the results, shall we?

Okay, first of all, every year I am shocked by the strong showing by chains in this town. I mean, if you’re going to ask people what their favourite fast-food joint is, sure, I would expect lots of people to respond with McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Harvey’s, etc. But asking Montrealers to name specific types of food (Chinese, Japanese, African, Jamaican, noodles, soups, etc.) and then getting chain responses? It boggles my mind every time.

Especially in the “Best Coffee” category. People! Tim Hortons is NOT the best coffee in Montreal! I am thankful that the peeps at the Mirror finally added a “Best Non-Chain Coffee” section for those of us who get that and care enough to vote, but it still drives me nuts that they had to do this in the first place. Café Olimpico (the winner in the non-chain category) should therefore be considered the Best Coffee in Montreal. At least by Mirror readers. Personally, I prefer Café Myriade, but I’m glad to see they took fifth place. I’m sure they’ll be movin’ on up that ladder in no time.

Secondly, I must admit that as a huge Boustan fan (seriously, why haven’t I reviewed them yet?), I always check the categories for Best Cheap Eats (#5), Best Late-Night Eats (#2!), Best Delivery (#3), Best Middle-Eastern (#1, congrats!) and Best Falafel (#3) to see where they’ve placed. I would also add them on the list for Best Vegetarian (their veggie pita is the only thing I order, and it has even converted hardcore meat-atarians) and Best Sandwich. Yum.

Finally, the Best Mexican category in this town is an absolute joke. I mean, look at this list:

1. 3 Amigos
2. Carlos & Pepes
3. Casa de Matéo
4. Mesa 14
5. Los Clasicos

Seriously? 3 Amigos? The place recycles its food on 25-cent taco night, people, are you really telling me this is our NUMBER ONE Mexican restaurant?! Seriously? Seriously, you’re killing me here. My advice is: Don’t eat at 3 Amigos, not on 25-cent taco night, not ever. Aside from the fact that the food they serve isn’t even authentically Mexican, they really ought to be closed down by a health inspector. I’m not even kidding. I used to date someone who tended bar there, and the things he told me would make your skin crawl. Plus, as someone who regularly ate there for free, he got quite a few cases of food poisoning from the kitchen staff’s lack of attention to little things like hand-washing, proper food temperatures, and possible contamination from items designed to exterminate rats. Awesome!

I must admit I’ve never been to either Casa de Matéo or Los Clasicos, but I hope to holy hell they’re nothing like 3 Amigos.

Best of Montreal my bum.


Mesa 14

As mentioned in my (unfortunately negative) review of Burritoville, I prefer Mesa 14 when it comes to getting my Mexican food fix in the Concordia area. I figured this would be a good time to explain why.

Mesa 14's first-floor dining/lounge area

Mesa 14's first-floor dining/lounge area

Mesa 14 used to be called Mexicali Rosa’s (part of a Toronto-based chain of restaurants), but in 2003 it changed over to the independently owned Mesa 14. The menu seems, to me, to be very similar to the old Mexicali Rosa’s menu, though the Mesa 14 website says that they are committed to using the finest fresh ingredients and making their own salsas and sauces everyday. Indeed, their complimentary bowl of chips and salsa is quite delicious, with a lot of cilantro.

As I’m usually at Mesa 14 for lunch, it’s important to note that they offer a lunch menu that’s slightly cheaper than their evening menu, with about six of the options found on the regular menu. My favourite is the Bandera Mexicana, which features two enchiladas (one cheese, one chicken) with one side smothered in red sauce, the other in green and a stripe of sour cream down the middle. All of their dishes come with generous portions of Mexican rice and black refried beans (yum!), so they’re quite filling. My second favourite is the Burrito Barrio, which comes with different fillings to suit most tastebuds, including chicken, ground beef, shredded beef, pulled pork, shrimp or a vegetarian chili.

With two levels of dining and lounging areas, Mesa 14 also boasts a great space to relax, enjoy your food or drinks, and stay for as long as you like. I tend to end up here at least once a week, and the staff are always super welcoming and know the order for both my companion and I off by heart. It’s this kind of touch that endears the place to me, and the food is delicious, so obviously I keep coming back for more!

Mesa 14 may not be the cheapest eats in town, but their meals are always delicious and hearty, and the staff is very friendly. If you’re craving Mexican, this is the place to be, as they definitely won’t serve you leftovers the way they do at 3 Amigos (what do you think those 49-cent tacos are made out of, darling?), and they’ve got a fabulous martini menu for those that indulge!

ADDRESS: 1425 Bishop
METRO: Guy-Concordia
PHONE: 514-284-0344
ONLINE: mesa14.com
HOURS: Mon-Thurs 11am-midnight, Fri-Sun 11am-3am