Although Montréal has a world renowned culinary scene, common consensus among the Asian student body is that it is focused towards European cuisine. When the Chinatown barely covers a city block and there's no Korean town to be found, tasty cooking reminiscent of one's ancestry seems out of reach.
However, sometimes the best international cuisine restaurants are in areas where one wouldn't normally explore, and Korean restaurant Mon Ami in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is one example of those hidden gems.
The restaurant is a bit far for those who live in the McGill bubble, about 6.5 kilometres away from campus, but the trek is every bit worth it once you step inside.
(Side tip: If you don't have an OPUS card, buy a $6 STM night pass and take the metro and bus to your destination).
PSA: There is almost always a wait time of (on average) ten minutes, so it may seem impossible to wait for a table to open up. However, just by smelling the delicious aroma of their signature KFC, or Korean fried chicken, you'll know it's worth the wait.
The More Variety, the Better! - How Each Item Stacks Up
What separates Mon Ami's KFC is that it is coated in a rice flour batter and fried twice. Extra crispy on the outside and succulent and juicy on the inside, many argue that the fried chicken here is better than its American counterpart. Judging solely by the quality of Mon Ami's huge portions, we wholeheartedly agree.
In addition to getting the KFC, we ordered the dolsot bibimbap, japchae, soondubu jjigae, and a plate of bulgogi.
The bibimbap, when heated through, had a warm and comforting nature about it. The dish had an interesting texture profile between the crispy rice, slightly sweet beef, and crunchy vegetables.
Meanwhile, the japchae, or extra-long and bouncy sweet potato noodles, was garnished with sesame seeds on top, making it taste a bit nuttier than your normal noodle dish. The carrots, spinach, and onions also added more variety in terms of texture, creating more balance and adding a healthy touch in the process.
The soft tofu in the soondubu jjigae countered the spiciness of the broth and also soaked up its flavor nicely. Also, the bulgogi, or sweetened barbecue beef, added to the already diverse spread of Korean culinary delights. Both of these dishes gave our white rice a much-appreciated extra kick when everything mixed together.
The Final Verdict
Overall, Mon Ami is a great restaurant to go to when you need a bit more variety in your food excursions and when the limited offerings near campus just won't cut it. In addition to offering numerous gluten-free options, it is an ideal place to introduce your friends with more picky palates to Asian cuisine overall.
Although it is not the cheapest place to go to for Korean food, going with a group of friends definitely makes it more affordable. Between the four of us, we paid around $25 each.
The place does an amazing job at evoking a sense of nostalgic comfort, making one forget, even if just momentarily, of the real-world responsibilities that we will have to fulfill eventually.