“Can I take you on a tour of Portugal with tapas? A little bit of everything?” asked chef Héléna Loureiro when I sat down at Portus Calle, in the heart of Montréal’s Portuguese neighborhood. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for culinary tours…
Now, before I continue, I’ll make a confession: Portuguese cuisine often eludes my dinner radar. I tend to think of it as mostly grilled meat, fish and potatoes. But much to my delight, Portus Calle proved to me that it’s much more interesting than that!
True to her promise, chef Hélèna served up a whirlwind tour of tapas, the most memorable of which were tuna steaks with sesame seeds, artichoke purée and fabulous cod croquettes. Oh, not to mention clams served simmering in a cataplana (a traditional Portuguese pan). An especially nice touch is that Hélèna makes a point of visiting every table, asking if everything is OK. She explained that she offers seven or eight types of fish every day, and whatever is left at the end of the evening is eaten by the staff.
(Sorry the video is really dark, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of the meals!)
To confirm my conviction that this restaurant serves up quality, authentic cuisine, I had only to look around me. As far as I could tell, about 70% of the customers were Portuguese. Not surprising then that the wine list also offers a wide selection of Portuguese wines.
Reservations are recommended. Expect to spend $80 for two people (before taxes, alcohol and tip.)
4281 St-Laurent Street
See their menu online:
Monday to Friday from 12 pm to 11pm
Saturday from 6 pm to 3 am