A food craving left unsatisfied is a horrible thing, an itch that absolutely needs to be scratched. With the ridiculous variety of food this city has to offer us, this usually is a non-issue for Montrealers.
A recent craving came in the form of waffles, preferably, ones with copious amounts of cheese. So, we did what anyone else would do: go online, and look up where to go. The result: there’s a whopping total of two specialty waffle restaurants in the Plateau/downtown area. Only two. Both have stupidly good ratings on Urbanspoon, so we had to check them out.
We made the pilgrimage to Gaufrabec at around dinnertime one weeknight, passing the usual head shops and hookah lounges along St. Denis, only to be extremely underwhelmed by the somewhat tacky facade. We walk in, order and pay at the counter, and receive our waffles 5 minutes later. You have the option of getting ‘em to go or eating there, and so we chose to stay and occupy the large table located near the back of the shop.
Vibe: The employee was friendly and patient while we debated what to get. The restaurant itself is colourful and bright, with some awesome wall art. This place sort of has the fast-food restaurant feel (without actually looking like one), seeing as a majority of the people who came in took their waffles to go.
Taste: We tried both savoury and sweet waffles: the spinach-apple-cheese, and the chocolate-speculoos. Both tasted awesome, but the texture of the waffles could use a little work– they were too crunchy, and lacked that mouthwatering fluffiness you’d expect. Instead, they were greasy, but somehow pleasantly so. This place would truly be perfect drunk food, if only it was somewhere on St. Laurent.
Price: Around $3 – $5 a waffle. Totally reasonable, especially considering how filling these unassuming little treats are.
We got there at just after 11am, before the Saturday brunch rush could really start. Good call too because the place was semi-full, but we only had to wait ten minutes for our food.
Vibe: Homey and on the smaller side. Looks like your standard cute-and-tucked-away restaurant in the Plateau. Plenty of natural light and a nice layout, combined with the most adorable fucking sugar bowl on the planet, made for a great atmosphere.
Taste: We couldn’t imagine how anyone could make a single complaint about their savoury waffles. Absolutely delicious. However, their sweet waffles, while still good, were slightly guilty of sugar overkill. The specialty waffle chips are awesome. Whereas Gaufrabec would make ideal drunk food, Engaufrez provides comfort food that would do wonders for any hangover.
Price: Just a tad steeper than its rival, their waffles range from $4 – $6. Not to mention they offer a drool-inducing brunch option where for $9.50, you get a waffle of your choice with a fruit salad, waffle chips, coffee, and freshly squeezed juice. “Worth it” is an understatement.
THE WINNER IS…
We’re gonna have to say Engaufrez-vous. It feels more welcoming, the waffles are more satisfying, and it’s an ideal Plateau spot for a friend-date, a date-date, or anything else, really. The extra bit of money you pay really does go a long way and you’ll amaze yourself with how quickly you’ll eat your way through 50+ of their amazing waffle chips.
Photos: Tamaryn de Kock