While Montreal is known for classics like poutine and bagels, there are many unexpected culinary delights to be discovered around the city. The Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood is brimming with chefs eager to share their creations, making it an ideal location to discover different types of cuisine. Deep within this diverse community, an unassuming Caribbean restaurant, La Maison du Cari des Caraïbes, serves up the finest island cooking I have ever had anywhere, period. Their vibrant and lively flavours are characterized by invigorating spices and freshly made product.
My favourite dish, the boneless curried chicken roti, offers a satisfying and crave-worthy meal for an incredibly reasonable price (ranging from $4.30 to $8.00, depending on the filling). A roti is a crêpe-like flat top grilled dough, made with various spices and split peas that is filled with curried potatoes, topped with curried chicken, beef, goat, mutton, seafood or chickpeas. Once assembled, it resembles a sandwich that can either be eaten with your hands, or enjoyed with a knife and fork. The roti is the perfect dish for anyone; it can be mild or spicy, and can be stuffed with meat or vegetables.
I always get the chicken filling—the juicy chicken is perfectly tender, and falls apart at the first bite. I also enjoy extreme spice, so I always ask for extra of their homemade hot sauce, which is made with secret spices and scotch bonnet peppers. This sauce is not for the faint of heart, so dive in at your own risk.
In addition, the restaurant serves up better-known Caribbean dishes, such as rice platters, ox-tail stew, and jerk chicken. Many regulars often indulge in the jerk chicken that undergoes a long marination process in a pepper sauce. Every one of these meals offers a generous portion of meat, rice, peas, salad, and fried plantains. Another simple option includes Jamaican patties that are essentially piecrusts filled with chicken, beef, or vegetables, and vary in spiciness from mild to extra hot. As a tip, I would order a roti—assuming that’s your favourite dish—at La Maison du Cari, but walk just across the street to Boulangerie Spicee to purchase your patties. For just 50 cents a patty, you can pick up the superior quality on the other side of the block.
La Maison du Cari des Caraïbes is one of the hidden gems of the city; but be prepared, it is not a fancy restaurant. You will be surprised by the appearance; but inside, you will find remarkably friendly staff that will remember you after a few visits, and food unlike anything else you have ever tried before. I encourage you to be adventurous, and take the metro to the Plamondon stop, and explore this cultural epicenter of the city of Montréal.
La Maison du Cari des Caraïbes
6892 Avenue Victoria
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Tel: 514 733 0828