Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Amaranto (Montréal, QC)

5974 Monkland
Montréal, Québec

With no plans for dinner, Elle texted that she craved Mexican and suggested trying out Amaranto. Conveniently, the restaurant is walking distance from my condo so we headed out to try some authentic Mexican fare. Amaranto is located on a less busy part of Monkland Avenue, on the West side.

Elle and I first sat at one of their outside tables but it was rather windy so we went into the basement level restaurant. It's a spacious space with a small number of tables. The kitchen is open so you can see what's cooking. There's also a wall offering specialty Mexican food for sale, such as nopales (cactus) and Mexican herbs.

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I drank half of my hibiscus tea, or agua de jamaica, ($2.75) before I remembered to photograph it. The juice is made of dried hibiscus flower. It had a sweet and tart taste, reminiscent of cranberry juice. Elle liked it so much she bought a pack of hibiscus flowers to make for herself at home.

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We were served complimentary tortilla chips with two salsa's. There's no better way to my heart than free food! Even better, when it's fried chips with great salsa's. The green salsa, made with tomatillo and habenero, was my favourite because of its spicy kick but the red tomato and chipotle salsa was also tasty.

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Tortilla chips.

Elle and I decided to share a starter and ordered the cazuelita de queso fundido with chorizo ($8.25). When we topped a soft tortilla with the Oaxacan cheese mixture, the cheese was ooey-gooey, stringy and stretched for miles it seemed. The combination of the cheese and chorizo reminded me of pizza topping. How could one go wrong with that?

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Cazuelita de queso fundido with chorizo.

Elle was very intrigued by the avocado soup ($4.99). The soup was as delicious as it was unique. Made of chicken stock, the soup had a generous amount of avocado purée in the middle, was dotted with pomegranate seeds and topped with crispy tortilla crisps. The soup was slightly tart from lime juice. The avocado in the soup was a wonderful and unexpected combination. My favourite part was the little pops of flavour that came from the pomegranate seeds. Outstanding soup and so original!

Avocado soup.

We also shared four tacos de pastor ($9.99). The marinated pork tucked in soft corn tortillas was delicious. The tacos were generously topped with coriander and onion, with a side of lime wedges. The tacos were quite satisfying.

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Tacos de pastor.

Finally, we were in a mood to try out more new food so we decided to have dessert, and ordered the fried plantains ($3.50). Sour cream and condensed milk were drizzled and cinnamon was sprinkled on top of the plantains. The condensed milk nicely sweetened the plantains while the cinnamon gave the dessert a nice kick.

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Fried plantains for dessert.

We were very happy with our meal at Amaranto. It's nice to know that you can find authentic Mexican food in Montréal. If you've never had the pleasure of having authentic Mexican food, Amaranto should be your next destination!

 Amaranto on Urbanspoon

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