During a recent trip to Montreal, I was told to visit Restaurant Jano (3883 St Laurent,) for the best grilled squid in the world. The tip came from my pal Sean Lalla, who told me this Portuguese grill is a favourite among music industry friends, including the Team Canada DJs and Van City’s Flipout. So during a cold, stormy night in the city, I bypassed the smoked meat at nearby Schwartz’s and stepped into the warm and homey enclave.
Jano’s welcoming atmosphere makes you feel like you’re joining a big Portuguese family for dinner. The waitstaff are friendly and attentive right from the start, placing a basket of buns and a dish of complimentary olives onto the table.
Finally it was time for the highly anticipated Calmar, aka Squid ($6.95). This really did live up to all the hype. It was lightly browned on the outside and grilled to perfection. The texture was tender, it was smothered with garlic and with a quick squeeze of lemon, this dish was ready for its own hall of fame.
But wait…it actually gets better. Add a few dashes of Jano’s hot sauce, which comes in a cute porcelain mug with a brush.
Le Combo ($14.95) is just as it sounds, a combo offered everyday, featuring a 1/4 chicken and lamb chops. It comes with fries (or rice) and a salad, and the meat was charcoal grilled with their top-secret marinade. To be honest, this was just ai-ight, the chicken felt a little on the dry side. I was secretly wishing I had ordered the Squid Platter ($15.95). Is that wrong?
All was quickly righted again when a traditional Portuguese Custard Pastry arrived, sprinkled with cinnamon ($2.95). I’m not a big fan of custard, but these tasty tarts hit the spot every time. They’re not as sweet as one would expect, and there’s something about their crispy outside and soft gooey inside that help a good meal end right. And yes, for the record, a side of squid for dessert would have been just fine too.
Restaurant Jano / 3883 St Laurent, Montreal
514 849 0646 / Hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-12am, Thurs-Sun 11am-12am