Where: 312 Saint-Paul Ouest (Old Montreal)
Kind of food: French bistro/Spanish
Usual Suspects: Trendy Montrealites both young and old.
Why I love it: It’s a nice change from the dives I usually go to. Very romantic atmosphere (romantic in the historical sense, duh).
Why you’ll love it: You’ll love the vibe, drinks and stick-to-your-bones food.
Who to take: Perfect spot for a date or a loud night out with friends.
I ordered: A passionfruit cosmo for starters, then the short ribs with a side of potatoes.
Waiter/waitress says to order: He seemed pretty enthused about the duck, but I was too unadventurous to try it.
Well, I did it. That’s right. I did it.
I finally decided to spend more than $10 on a meal. What can I say, I’m living on a tighter than tight budget that only allows for splurges once in a blue moon.
This past weekend, I celebrated my friend’s birthday. He’s the incredibly trendy type— pure Montreal with his mohair pants and up-t0-the-neck collared shirts… but I digress. Point being, he decided to take his party guests to Barroco in Old Montreal— a restaurant I’ve been dying to try because let’s be honest, I need some luxury in my life.
The minute I entered the dimmed restaurant, I was immediately enthralled by its warm and cozy old-world vibe. The wood and rock brick interior was absolutely beautiful, while the gold detailing at the grand bar was very Baroque inspired, yet somehow also sleek à la Octopussy. And who can forget the boar’s head on the right side of the quaint dining room… the perfect touch to tie together different eras of antiquity with some rough ‘n tumble country.
Now let’s get down to business and talk about my boyfriends: le food and le drink.
I started off with a passionfruit cosmo topped with a flaming piece of hollowed passionfruit. It was nice and strong, just the way I like it. Not too fruity and sweet, so don’t be shy to order this cocktail, boys.
I also noticed homemade sodas and ginger beer on the menu. Tsk tsk tsk, I should’ve had a taste.
Then came the meal, which was more than enough to fill me to the brim. The short ribs fell off the bone and had just the right amount of sauce and seasoning. The dish was really flavourful— the result of a nice long braise with pancetta and thyme.
The side of mashed potatoes was alright. Very smooth and tasteful, topped with chopped chives. It was a nice complement to the ribs, but I could’ve done without because the meat filled me up so much and it cost an additional five bucks for the side (yes, I know I’m a cheapskate).
For dessert, we had the chocolat moelleux… WOW. That was the highlight. I only had a bite (it was the birthday boy’s dessert), but I can easily say that it surpasses Juliette et Chocolat’s molten chocolate cake. It was smooth and warm and just plain amazing.
I was especially impressed by the impeccable service. We received a lovely gratis round of lemony shots to seal the deal.
P.S. the waiters were gorgeous and extremely well dressed (hint hint for them singles out there).
All in all, I adored the down-to-earth yet opulent atmosphere at Barroco. The decor was classy, the music I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E (from Dylan to McCartney), and the food soulful. The only criticism I can draw from this experience is the high pricing on certain items. The entire night came to a grand total of about $55 (tip included).
A definite “must-try at least once” kind of place for the hollow-pocketed.