When I travel for my day job, the concierge duties of finding good restaurants and making reservations for my department falls on my shoulders. It’s a responsibility that’s not in my official job description, but that doesn’t mean I take it lightly. Thanks to a recommendation from fellow food writer Mary Luz Mejia, after two grueling 18-hour days in Montreal, my co-workers and I rewarded ourselves with a meal at Tapeo (551, Villeray). This is the kind of restaurant where everything comes together beautifully – the wine flows easily, the ambience is relaxing, the service is attentive and the food is divine.
First off, I apologize for the photos that are rather dark since the room was dimly lit, but this place was just too good not to write about.
Tapeo’s menu is filled with small shared plates and there wasn’t a single one we didn’t enjoy. One of the many highlights was the Beef Tartare ($13, shown above), some of the best raw meat I’ve consumed in my life. The meat was incredibly tender and complemented by the preserved garlic, parlsey and aioli that binds it all together. The Fried Calamari ($7) was perfectly cooked and the fried hoops of squid first crunched then melted in our mouths.
There is nothing more simple than Tapeo’s dish of cooked Vine Tomatoes ($8) which is exactly what made it so brilliant. The scoops of fluffy goat cheese will have you sighing with pleasure.
We followed that up with Bacon Wrapped Seared Scallops ($10), the only dish that didn’t exceed our expectations. There’s nothing wrong with meeting expectations, but the bar had already been set high by the previous plates.
Now, anyone who’s eaten with me me knows I dislike mushrooms, but the Sautéed Mushrooms ($12) is a must order, even for a hater like me. Dipping the butter-slathered ’shrooms in the liquid yolk of the accompanying poached egg made it taste so decadent, it was as good as, well, butter.
For something more substantial, we ordered the Paella à la Tapeo for Two ($29). The rice was perfectly al dente and laced with squid, mussels, clams, shrimp, fish and chorizo.
Clearly our meal here was unforgettable. I can bestow no greater compliment on Tapeo than adding it to the list of restaurants I must eat at whenever I visit Montreal. It now officially joins the ranks of L’Express and Olive et Gourmando.
Big thanks to my fellow segment directors/producers: Seb, Smitty, Jeni B and Tom for being such great co-workers and fine dining companions.
Tapeo / 511, Villeray, Montreal
514 495 1999 / Tues-Fri 12-3pm, 5:30-11pm, Sat 5-11pm, Sun 5-10pm