This weekend is Yatai MTL, the Japanese street food festival that attracts no less than 15,000 festival-goers over three days at the Marché des Possibles, in Montreal's Mile-End district. If you're short on time and can't get around to experience the unique festive atmosphere surrounding this Japanese phenomenon, here are some restaurants offering a trip to Osaka in their own way, both in terms of decor and food!
Here, any evening begins with a bowl of edamame and some takoyaki (octopus fritters) to whet your appetite. Then, the fate of your evening will be in your hands, whether you opt for the freshness with some sashimi and tartars, or the indulgence with karaage (Japanese fried chicken), marinated beef ribs or plump udon noodles with bacon and mushrooms . Since the atmosphere will be festive, cocktails with Japanese flavors, Japanese beers on tap and some essential saké bombs will be in order!
► 360 Rachel Street East, Montreal
The Hanzo is a jewel of Old Montreal. We go there with colleagues at the beginning of the evening to have a drink accompanied by edamame and yakitori (Japanese skewers), as if to end an evening with friends with sake bomb around a plate of sticky short ribs of beef and umami to wish. The prices are low, the atmosphere is festive, the beer is good: all you have to do is order the entire menu and all the ingredients will be there for a memorable evening.
► 417 Saint-Nicolas Street, Montreal
At Flowers and Gifts, we are not exactly where it is raining sake bombs. The atmosphere, quite lively, added to the precision of the sushi and the delicacy of the vegetables, is rather conducive to the discovery of sake from private imports. You will probably be offered an unfiltered sake, which will go perfectly with your chirashi bowl (assortment of sushi and sashimi). If you like it, it will be a good omen for the future, since the menu is full of excellent sakes – and very good small dishes! Want even more? Live the full immersive experience by ending the evening at the hidden bar Sans Soleil.
► 1002 Saint-Urbain Street, Montreal
As soon as you set foot in the new Iru Izakaya, it will only take a few seconds to go from the Solar Uniquartier development (Brossard) to the trendiest restaurant in Osaka. Purple neon lights, banners with Japanese signs, long well-lit L-shaped bar making us understand that the team does indeed have something to please us. With the music on point and the appetite growing, it's time to order a multitude of well-crafted and beautifully presented dishes. The beautiful well-accompanied evening has only just begun!
► 3050 de l'Eclipse, Brossard
Tommy Dion is a columnist/food critic and founder of the web platform and gourmet guide www.lecuisinomane.com.