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Restaurant l’Avenue

January 20, 2015

After a couple of days in Montreal, we were starting to get our bearings and exploring all of the different neighborhoods of this eclectic city.  For breakfast on our last full day in this city, we decided to go to a popular local breakfast joint in the Mont Royal neighborhood.  This particular neighborhood was not too far from where we dined at Les Deux Singes de Montarvie a few evenings prior and based on our experience of that neighborhood, we expected Mont Royal to be just as youthful and vibrant and a little artsy, kind of like what the atmosphere at this particular restaurant was supposed to be.

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Restaurant l’Avenue, not too far of a walk by foot from the Mont Royal metro station was our destination.  Apparently, there must have been some sort of weekend street fair ongoing in this neighborhood as the entire street was blocked off and pop-up tents lined both sides of the streets with vendors starting to set up for the day.  When I heard about this restaurant, I was warned that no matter what time on what day you show up for breakfast, there’s always a line out front.  As soon as we neared the restaurant, I knew we had found the right place when I saw the one and only storefront on the street with a line out front.  There must have been about 10-15 people in line ahead of us, but luckily, the line moved rather quickly and we probably only waited about 10-15 minutes before we were seated.

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As advertised, this restaurant was funky and vibrant and every bit as eclectic as people had claimed.  With an open kitchen on one side, the other wall of the restaurant was completely covered in artistic graffiti.  Even the restrooms were completed covered in graffiti that could only be seen through a black light.  It was an interesting experience to step into the restaurant that was only lit by black light and have the walls glow a bright white and black color showing up the incredible artistry on the walls.  If you ever find yourself at Restaurant l’Avenue, don’t forget to check out the restrooms.  The tables and booths were small and jam-packed together to get as many people inside and seated as possible.  While open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant is most popular, and most well know for its breakfast.

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With a little bit of a rock and roll vibe to it, part of the restaurant’s decorations also included a motorcycle hanging down from the ceiling along the wall, right over a couple of tables nearby where we were seated.  This was definitely not your average restaurant.  Restaurant l’Avenue definitely exudes a fun and youthful quality that you don’t always expect in what sometimes feels like stuffy and uptight French Canada.

I had known before, though I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal for some strange reason, but the menu for the restaurant is entirely in French, and neither my husband nor I speak French.  While everyone who works at the restaurant does speak English, and they could help translate the menu to you if necessary, you pretty much are on your own.  Good thing using a few words we know and combining them with some words that look similar in English, my husband and I were both able to find something on the menu to order for breakfast.  I must say that was a first experience for me, going to a restaurant with a menu in a foreign language where there were no English translations or even pictures to look and point at.  But we managed.

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I started off the meal with a cup of fresh strawberry and banana juice, as it was described in the menu.  Truth be told, this was more like a smoothie than juice, but that was just fine with me.  Served at the table in a goblet that was about 3 times the size of what I expected when I ordered, the fresh juice was topped with a skewer of fresh fruit made up of wedges of orange and grapefruit and a whole strawberry.  This is definitely a drink meant to be shared between two people.  The fresh strawberry and banana juice were incredible.  You could definitely tell that the juice was fresh with strawberry seeds to boot.  There was little to no added sugar or sweetener, just the pure taste of blended strawberries and bananas.  This drink really hit the spot for me.

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After ordering our breakfast meals, a fresh fruit skewer was brought to our table for us to start with.  Apparently this must be an accompaniment with one of the meals we ordered as we saw a couple of other tables with fruit skewers as well.  The fruit included cantaloupe, banana, honeydew, grapefruit, pineapple and watermelon.  Much like the fresh fruit in my juice, something about just having chunks of fresh fruit served to you at breakfast was refreshing and different and healthy.  The presentation in skewer form was different, but much like the restaurant itself, eclectic.

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Looking through the menu, my husband gravitated immediately towards the numerous types of eggs Benedict that Restaurant l’Avenue served.  Being in a city that is known for it’s smoked meats, and wanting to order something a little different, my husband ordered the Montreal smoked meats eggs Benedict.  The eggs Benedict were served with Montreal smoked meats atop a toasted English muffin topped with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce and some whole grain mustard.  A little ramekin of roasted breakfast potatoes was served with the dish.  My husband immediately began digging into his eggs Benedict with relish and polished off his whole meal before I had even finished half of my meal.  I’m going to take that as a sign that he liked the Montreal smoked meat Benedict.  After all, if you’re a fan of smoked meats, and you love eggs Benedict, how can you go wrong combining the two items together?

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For my breakfast, I was able to decipher enough of the French menu to order the caramelized bananas with Captain Morgan and nutella.  My options for this were either over a French toast or waffles, I chose the French toast.  I think when the plate was put before me, my eyes probably bugged out of my head.  First off, I couldn’t believe the size of the breakfast.  This was like a day’s worth of food in one meal!  Second, as mouth-watering as it looked, it smelled that much more ridiculously good.  This literally was bananas foster over French toast.  If there’s one thing Restaurant l’Avenue doesn’t do, they don’t skimp on their food.  This dish contained six slices of French toast a barrel full of sliced bananas and what could have been half a jar of Nutella, but I’m not complaining.  After the French toast is laid out on the plate, globs of nutella are spread out over the top of each slice.  The entire plate is then covered in this glorious caramelized banana with Captain Morgan sauce, and as if that wasn’t enough, a small little bowl is served with the plate filled with more of this glorious banana rum sauce.  This might be one of the most decadent and amazing breakfasts I’ve ever had.  I love bananas, and finding amazing bananas foster is like hitting the jackpot.  I certainly ordered the right dish.  My only complaint is that it was so large I couldn’t finish the whole thing even though I was starving.  Luckily, my husband was more than happy to oblige my request to help me as he finished off the last 2 pieces of French toast for me.  By the end of the meal, he too was raving over my caramelized bananas with Captain Morgan and nutella over French toast meal.

What a sinfully delicious treat breakfast at Restaurant l’Avenue turned out to be.  It was a great way to start our morning, and it definitely fueled us through our sightseeing day as we skipped lunch altogether.  After all, did you see the size of our breakfast meals?  The fresh strawberry and banana juice was amazing and tasty, but the Montreal smoked meat Benedict and the caramelized bananas and nutella French toast were the real stars.  The food was tasty and delicious and exactly what we were looking for.  If we had more time in this city, I might have begged my husband to go back there for breakfast again.  And if you knew me, you’d know that I’m not really a breakfast person, so for a place to serve breakfast so good that I’d want to go back again is quite an accomplishment.  I really loved the laid back vibe and atmosphere of both the restaurant and the neighborhood.  The service was good.  The food was outstanding.  Restaurant l’Avenue was a winner on all counts.

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