Through the good shots and, sometimes, the not so good, our restaurant critics tell you about their experience, introduce the team in the dining room and in the kitchen, while explaining what motivated the choice of the restaurant. This week: Coffee at Téta.
Posted yesterday at 11:00 a.m.
Why talk about it?
There are places you never get tired of. Café chez Téta could well fall into this category. We could qualify as frequent our desire to sink our teeth into one of its delicious manouchés, the signature dish of the Lebanese restaurant, which opened in the fall of 2020, in the Plateau Mont-Royal. Whether it’s for a casual meal in the cute dining room or grabbing a picnic for the park, Café chez Téta does not disappoint.
Who are they ?
Of Lebanese origin, chef Antoun Aoun has already had his own restaurant in his country, and toyed with the project of doing the same in Montreal. His spouse, Mélodie Roukoz, a trained nutritionist who also has Lebanese origins, followed him in this adventure which was not easy, with the ups and downs of the pandemic. Fortunately, the café menu lends itself perfectly to the “take-out” formula, allowing the trade to make itself known through the various delivery platforms. A small team supports them on a day-to-day basis, including Maria Hallak, the café’s resident pastry chef.
“Téta” means “grandmother” – it is a photograph of that of the chef, a fine cook, which served as inspiration for the restaurant’s logo. So here we are in the realm of comfort foods, comfort food Lebanese style: manouchés (we will come back to this), salads and dips make up the main part of the menu.
Café chez Téta isn’t the only place in town to serve zaatar manouchés, fattoush salads or hummus. It is distinguished by the quality of the ingredients and the preparations: everything is homemade, from the manouché dough, kneaded every morning, to the zaatar mix, so deliciously flavored, through the labné cheese, used in particular in the fresh and vitaminized beet and quinoa salad. And, something extremely rare in the metropolis, the presence of a traditional Lebanese oven to cook the manouchés, but also to roast the aubergines of the baba ganoush or the red peppers of the muhammara, a typical textured spread from the Middle East.
All this gives dishes an incomparable flavor: it is fresh and tasty. Particularly, the manouchés, these Lebanese flatbreads cooked by the minute with various toppings, which can be eaten either open, like a pizza, or rolled up like a pita, garnished with your choice of tomatoes, cucumber, mint or labné cheese. They are served still hot, the dough is soft, it melts in your mouth! Sonny devoured the bacon and halloumi one in no time. The traditional version, half cheese, half zaatar, seduced us. The kafta and cheese, with its mixture of ground lamb and veal, topped with aioli sauce and fresh tomatoes, is another safe bet.
To end the meal, small traditional sweets that are not too sweet are offered to you: vegan cakes with turmeric (sfouf) or carob, brownie with halva.
In our glass
Coffee lovers are well served here. Try the latte (hot or iced) with cardamom or halva (a sweet sesame paste), they are excellent. Or the traditional Lebanese coffee – comparable to Turkish coffee – plain or with cardamom (also in the ” cold brew “). During the summer, you can sip a homemade lemonade or iced tea. The place also has a short alcohol menu: Lebanese beer or wine, or a cocktail with arak, an eau-de-vie made from fermented grape must and anise, and blackberry syrup.
Good to know
As its name suggests, Café chez Téta is a café and is therefore open during the day. Few people know that the place is also open a few evenings a week, and that you can order a selection of spreads with grilled pitas for an aperitif. Several vegan options are on the menu. The place is easily accessible for people with reduced mobility.
Between $5 and $12 for manouches, around $10 for salads and dips, and between $3 and $5 for desserts.
Open Wednesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m., and until 9 p.m. Wednesday to Friday.
227 Rachel Street East, Montreal