There are a number of restaurants on the Plateau that I haven’t yet had the chance to try but that’s about to change. I’ve made it my mission (now that I live in the hood) to try as many as I possibly can while still running from one end of this city to the other doing everything else that I do. I decided to start with La Grotte. Here’s why.
I’ll be very honest about something that kept me away from the restaurant for its first few years in business; ignorance. I’ve walked past the restaurant hundreds of times and ignorantly turned up my nose at it because of the décor I could see from the street. It’s mostly dark with black painted stucco covering the ceiling and part of the walls. There’s exposed brick, painted brick, silver painted bucks stuck to the walls and a plethora of other décor that led me to keep walking on by and miss out on one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. The ceramic tiled floor, though, is gorgeous. You know when they say, don’t judge a book by its cover, which can also be applied to restaurants. More often than not a décor has nothing to do with the quality of the food and that is the case with La Grotte.
A few months ago my partner and I went to La Grotte because we were moving and needed to eat something hearty. We had also been out partying the night before and needed a breakfast that would set us straight. It was a nice day and warm enough to have the restaurant’s garage doors open. We went in and were greeted warmly by a lovely waitress who led us to a table near the windows. She handed us our novel sized menus that covered everything from breakfast to dinner and gave us a few minutes to give them a going over. We ended up choosing one of their eggs Benedict and a breakfast poutine.
The breakfast poutine was everything that I could have hoped for. Large, lightly friend potato wedges covered in chopped bacon, ham and sauce, topped with scrambled egg (my favourite way to eat eggs), cheese curds and a delicious béchamel sauce. It was piping hot, full of flavour and stuck to my stomach the way a good breakfast is supposed to. The eggs Benedict appeared to be just as satisfying but I could see that someone’s eyes were still drifting towards my plate. We’ve been back since and I’ve had to breakfast poutine again and now he still gets the Benedict but also gets a side of poutine. Win-win.
Going for dinner at La Grotte is bit of a different story. There’s something not quite as satisfying about the food in the afternoon with the amazing exception of their fried potato nachos (and their french fries – this mixed with their wedges prove that these guys know their potatoes). They are out of this world good and a great way to start a meal at the restaurant. Their burgers and clubs are good but after having my breakfast poutine, maybe my expectations went a little too sky high. The place has TV screens all around and it’s a great gathering spot for hockey or football games or soccer matches.
Every time we’ve been served at La Grotte we’ve been welcomed kindly by staff that are respectful and professional, especially on our most recent visit. They are the driving force behind this restaurant and I hope the owners appreciate everything they do to make their client’s experience as enjoyable as possible.
If you find yourself strolling along Mont-Royal Avenue in the morning and they pangs of hunger awaken your need for food I highly recommend La Grotte. That hunger will be satiated and you’ll walk away happy. Having a restaurant with a breakfast this good, this close to home is dangerous because making eggs and bacon in my kitchen will never be good enough again.
Image credit: David Major-Lapierre