When I heard about this Montreal restaurant, I was first intrigued by its name, that translates in English as “The Two Monkeys From Montarvie”. Then I got even more intrigued when, after doing a little research about their cuisine, found that they only offered two five-course tasting menus: the regular one, and a vegetarian one. My curiosity reached its peak when I figured Les Deux Singes De Montarvie ranked second on Trip Advisor’s list of Montreal’s best fine cuisine restaurants.
So, here is a restaurant that probably has the longest (and most original) name in the history of restaurants, who only offers two menu options and still manages to make it to the top three on Trip Advisor’s list of the best eateries in town? I had to try it for myself.
I was immediately charmed by the place upon our arrival. It is a small restaurant that can welcome up to 30 customers; warm lights and ambiant music playing in the background made for the perfect intimate ambiance for a Friday dinner date, or to catch up with a (group of) friend(s). We were taken to the counter, where a grey stone with my name on it was placed, near a candle, and soon-to-be-filled glasses of wine and glasses of water. The evening was off to the most amazing start.
It didn’t take long for us to choose which menu we would pick. I went for the vegetarian menu, while my husband gave the regular one a try. I can’t even put into words how enthralled we were by the food. And I am holding myself back from using bold capital letters here. First of all, plates presentations deserve an award for best Instagram worthy dishes; they look like a garden: colorful, with edible flowers and as we saw, prepared with the utmost care. Second, the combination of textures was so original, so well thought out and quite surprising in the mouth; most of the products used were ones we are used to eating at home but the way Chef Sean Murray Smith’s put together the ingredients to create pure magic is noteworthy. The taste was so fresh, so different from everything we had ever tasted that it left us speechless, eyes wide open, only able to make sounds like “mmmmmmm” with each bite. It was impossible to qualify the Chef’s cuisine in one word, as his wife, Nada, who is also the restaurant’s Manager explained, he gets his inspiration from different cultures and countries (and from long walks to the market), which I think is great. No need to be put in a box; no need to be labelled. One’s creativity has to be expressed the way they want to. And when it results in such delight, what else could we ask for. Oh, and the menu changes nearly every two month.
Meet Chef Sean Murray Smith, the creative genius behind the menu
Nada, co-owner and restaurant Manager
It is really hard to find restaurants that truly understand what a real vegetarian meal is made of. Vegetarians don’t eat meat but they still need some sort of protein, which often lacks in restaurants’ vegetarian menus, thus resulting in you starving minutes after having eaten. I really loved that the vegetarian menu was extremely well put together in this restaurant.
Oh, and if you still wonder why is the restaurant called Les Deux Singes De Montarvie, it’s because the former owner of the restaurant had a painting of two monkeys that he had purchased on Montarvie Street hanging in the restaurant and when he left, he took it with him; hence, the name “Les Deux Singes De Montarvie”.
Now take a look at the photos we took of the restaurant and the dishes. And iic you wonder where should you go for dinner this weekend? You have your answer!
We both had this divine broccoli mousse with grilled sesame seeds, broccoli on the side topped with caviar.
The vegetarian menu had this delicious leek quiche (the jalapeños purée tasted amazing and paired perfectly with this dish).
The regular menu had as a second course scallop with lardon, cauliflower and red cabbage.
For the third course, we both had this refreshing salad made with citrus fruit, black quinoa and nuts.
The vegetarian menu for the fourth course buckwheat fettuccine, shrimp, green onion and miso. And for the “wow” effect of it all, check out this video:
The regular menu had cassoulet with a sausage so tender it almost melted in the mouth.
And finally, for dessert, we both had this sweet delight, made with lemon, coconut flavored ice cream, white chocolate cookie. Of course, as always, we ordered a latte and a long coffee to savor with dessert.
Watch the video!