I had big plans for this year’s MTLATABLE. With over 150 restaurants participating during the 10 day food festival, there was almost no limit to the choices that were offered. Well, those 10 days slipped by quicker than expected but I did manage to snag myself a table at Taberna towards the tail end and I’m glad I did.
Taberna is the most recently opened restaurant from the MTL Cuisine group. Their latest crop of restaurants have been taking inspiration from different countries across the pond including Italy, Spain and now with Taberna, Portugal. Portuguese chicken can be found in many of Montreal’s neighbourhoods and there’s nothing better than grabbing a chicken sandwich on the Main which strolling on a Sunday afternoon. Taberna takes that experience and turns it into something very special.
During MTLATABLE the new restaurant set up a menu of delicious entrees, main dishes and a dessert that capped everything off wonderfully. We had the choice of several main dishes while everything had been prepared for us. We started off with olives before moving along to a hot soup (it was cold that night and the soup was a welcomed treat), tasty fish cakes and creamy, shrimp-filled fried croquettes. They were all subtly flavoured which helped make the main dishes stand out that much more.
For my main I went with the Piri-piri chicken. I’ve had Piri-piri on several occasions but this time it was a little different, a little more elevated. The spicy flavour popped but didn’t overpower the chicken which was succulently juicy. The fries were very good, crispy and piping hot which is definitely a plus. My dinner partner chose the seasonal salad with Piri-piri chicken. When he received the salad he hadn’t expecting the grilled vegetables or the chicken to be as cold as they were. We spoke to our waiter about it and he brought the salad back to kitchen, returning with a fresh salad that had warm chicken and veggies. The vegetables are grilled fresh every day and are supposed to be served a little cooler. I would recommend that if you want to try this dish in the future and you wish to have your veggies warmed, simply ask for the kitchen to throw them on the grill like we did. The staff was so wonderful and gracious and fixed the salad like pros. I am always impressed in situations like this when staff react quickly and professionally. I would call this a major success!
A return trip to Taberna is in order and I look forward to having that chicken again. The restaurant’s approach to relaxed dining with expert service and warm atmosphere helps make it one of the year’s nicest surprises.
Image credit: David Major-Lapierre
Great food, cozy atmosphere and top-notch service highlight this new Old Montreal eatery.