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Bits and Bites

Bits and Bites

Patati Patata: Where small, simple goodness abounds
Photo: Joseph Yarmush

Patati Patata
(4177 St-Laurent; 514-844-0216)

Everything here is small – in a good way. The burgers are about three inches in diameter, the funky dining room seats no more than a dozen customers, and most items cost less than $5. This simple approach makes it easy for a big-eyed hungry eater to order two burgers without denting his billfold. Most regulars opt for the burger/fries/salad combo: The salad is beautiful and the vegetables seem to be cut fresh for each new order, the fries are well-cooked crispy matchsticks, and the burgers are a pleasant treat. You can also order homemade borscht, tofu sandwiches, poutine, and a few other special items that seem to rotate on and off the menu. 3/5 (Peter Horowitz)

Limon
(2472 Notre-Dame W.; 514-509-1238)

The bold architectural detail and generous straw chairs drew me to this newish Mexican eatery. The slow service and food served at room temperature broke the spell. Though wary of tepid chicken, my companion dove into her salsa verde enchiladas expecting a nice, light flavour. Limon’s version was simply light on flavour. On the other hand, my mole sauce was so dense it had collapsed on itself and wasn’t allowing any flavour to escape. Clearly we had been misled by the green flame icons next to both our menu choices. In short, the aesthetic and pricing had led me to expect more. Go for drinks and enjoy the décor but don’t bother ordering food. 2/5 (Keena Trowell)

Guido & Angelina
(Various locations)

Guido & Angelina in the AMC used to be sort of okay in a desperate pre-film pinch when it first opened, but now it’s accomplished an even further lowering of standards. The tabletop "olive oil" doesn’t taste of olive oil, and I’m scared to know what’s in their supposed balsamic vinegar. A pretty seafood risotto was seriously undercooked (mi scusi – al dente does not mean crunchy), osso buco was impressively enormous but tough as a cow tether. I give a Fellini-esque cry to the heavens that some diners may think they’re actually getting representative Italian food here. Decent crab cakes, though, and good service. 1.5/5 (Maeve Haldane)

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  • by Eric St-Pierre - March 29, 2007, 9:48 am

    This should gain favorable reviews. This little nook resting between bustling st-laurent and Rachel has been a classic since time emortal. Seating capacity is always limited and i always find that there’s are people waiting to get in from the outside. I must admit that it is a cool place to eat a little burger with fries. The view is interesting as you get to gawk at the montrealers strolling by. The seating arrangement is also very quaint and i feel like I’m in a whole new world. God bless Patiti Patata!

  • by Sandra Germain - March 29, 2007, 12:05 pm

    I am happy that the burgers sound like they are normal portion size. You go to other fast food restaurants and yes they may be cheaper and bigger portion but we don’t really need all that food. We have trained our bodies to eat more and more, that is not healthy. Fresh Veggies WOW. I am surprised that i never heard of this place but I will be telling a lot of my friends and are trying to have portion control.

  • by Janet Lawson - March 29, 2007, 12:41 pm

    Why would you even bother to write up Guido and Angelina’s? I mean Montreal is full of really great restos that could use the exposure.

  • by Jennifer Carriere - March 29, 2007, 1:16 pm

    With the backing behind a place like Guido and Angelina, you’d think they’d take a few chances on the menu. There’s no big surprises really, except for perhaps the suckling pig, which no one I know has ever ordered. The salads are okay, and I believe once I ordered some grilled chicken which was good. But there’s no real “wow” factor. It’s a disappointment if you’re expecting something amazing, or even, above average.

  • by Ludmila Carvalho - March 29, 2007, 3:45 pm

    I think it’s the first time I see a bad review on the Food section of Hour, and I must say I am pleasantly surprised, in a weird sort of way. Not that I want these particular restaurants to be trashed, but it’s good to see the bad sides of things in a review. I was getting the impression that the critics only went to their favourite spots, but now I see they’re doing the job correctly.

  • by Steve Landry - March 29, 2007, 6:16 pm

    There must be a suggestion made to shorten the name of Patati Patata to make it easier to tell your friends to meet you there. Cheap food, cozy surroundings and taste that delivers are all features that promise to make Pat-Pat (there, I did it) a fan choice and a mainstay on St Laurent. Love Limon everytime I’m on Notre Dame. Mexican is so easy and basic and can be zapped up or down on the spice scale, as per your liking. Finally, I want to go check out Guido and Angelina because so many of my friends swear by their many locations although, they aren’t looking for authentic in their Italian dishes. (think of East Side Marios and Olive Garden fare). Either way, eventually, everyone tries food places based on a whim, a recommendation or just by accident. These three places go nicely together in a split review. Look forward to reading about so many more this year. It’s so much fun to have the city revealed.

  • by Ronny Pangia - March 29, 2007, 7:08 pm

    I absolutely agree that the food at Guide and Angelina’s does not represent Italian food well. Everything on the menu is average at best but pleasantly packaged is a quasi-trendy restaurant at half-decent prices. The problem remains where can a person go in the downtown core on a smaller budget without having to resort to the burger joints or bars? I personally really like Taqueria la Nacion but that is near Concordia’s Sir George campus. It’s quite a hike for Paramount movie fans or Bell centre eventgoers. Any suggestions???

  • by Selena Lobo - March 29, 2007, 7:55 pm

    At first when I read the review for Patati Patata, I thought this place might be good on the wallet but not too good on the waistline. But when I saw the list of items that it offered such items as tofu sandwiches, I realized there is more to the place then meets the eye. Sure you can enjoy a hamburger and fries but if you want something other than that there are choices. The other two places that were reviewed did not get such good ratings so I will pass on them.

  • by Basil James - March 29, 2007, 9:13 pm

    Speaking from experience, I had the opportunity of eating at Guido & Angelina’s in the Pepsi Forum and let me just say that I wish that opportunity had been indefinitely postponed. It was Father’s Day and I ordered the lasagna and let me say that at $15 you get very little bang for the buck (or in this case 15 bucks). All I got was, at best, a modest portion of lasagna and some bread (mind you we had to wait about 20 to 30 minutes for the food to arrive and there were very few patrons in the restaurant at the time). Needless to say, I was disappointed with the average taste and size of my pasta dish, as was the complaint with everyone else at the table (so much so that when I got back home I had to whip up some more food to fill the half-empty stomach I had). I wholeheartedly agree with the review of G & A in this article and looks like Limon is a real “lemon” too. So, the sure bet looks like Patati Patata with their burgers, fries, salads, and poutine…Hot Dog!!!

  • by Martin Dansky - March 30, 2007, 12:20 am

    Something tells me that Guido may try to dupe the public by producing dishes that are supposed to be representative of Italian foods like the vertebrate filled dish. But if its as tough as leather and the olive oil is diluted how would one want to eat there? Patati is always full so there must be something good about their burger and salad combos. I guess their success is adding an occasional item not on the menu like a squash or borscht soup. The atmosphere is very congenial too!

  • by Charles Montpetit - March 30, 2007, 5:52 am

    To paraphrase Haldane, I give a Fellini-esque cry to the heavens that some readers may think they’re actually getting a representative food review here. Given that Guido & Angelina is franchised in “various locations,” I strongly doubt that each of them adheres to a strict chain policy of under cooking the risotto and toughening the osso bucco. In fact, when food critics go so far as to comment on something as unpackageable as “good service,” shouldn’t they indicate *which* location they’re talking about–or make sure that the remarks apply uniformly to each and every one of the outlets?

  • by Sarah S - March 30, 2007, 2:31 pm

    This restaurant should not be a considered on your list if you are planning on eating out. In other words, unless there is nothing else and you have no other choices, fine. Otherwise, stay way, there are so many restaurants that are in the same price range and are actually worth planning on going to. Dont waste your time or your money.

  • by Mark St Pierre - March 30, 2007, 3:50 pm

    Patati Patata may be small but it’s also invitingly warm and cozy and their diner fare is really yummy. I can’t think of a better way to dilute copious amounts of alcohol brought about by too many hours spent at the Barfly than to avail oneself of a burger and fries at this local hangout!

  • by Reuven De Souza - March 31, 2007, 2:10 pm

    I still do not really get what all the hubbub is all about with regard to Patati Patata …I mean that it a neat hole in the wall. And those sad little burgers have kitch value but the food is just soso. I suppose that the location has something to do with it. Also I kinda think that the borscht is overrated..that dollop of sour cream does not elevate it to greatness or anything. As for the terrible terrible Guido and Angelina ( Italian for pricey crap )the less said the better. If you are downtown and looking for decent pizza try Bardeco’s or Santa Lucia and avoid T’n'A…..

  • by Shahanaz Bhuiyan - March 31, 2007, 5:33 pm

    I went to Guido and Angelina at AMC Forum 3 times, and the one Ste Catherine once. I surely love their food. It is really authentique. The surprise part is that the cooks are mostly from South Asia, but their food taste Italians. From the apetizers, I will recommend The Mussels with Red wine; as we say in French “c’est succulent”. It won’t be a regret if you go to Guido abd Angelina. So, go make your reservation.

  • by Kamlesh Patel - March 31, 2007, 8:04 pm

    Guido and Angeline have 1 thing for this duet, location. Aside from that , the menu they have hardly deserves the price they charge. The food lacks not only portions but there seems to be a lack of Italian authenticity to the food which just come out blah. I do give credit to them for one thing , the drinks at the bar are not bad for price. You can go over and sit at the bar without feeling your wallet getting thinner, just make sure you eat before you get the muchies.

  • by Pedro Eggers - April 2, 2007, 1:33 pm

    Well, to put it oh so quaintly Guido & Angelina’s ain’t exactly jolie. Oh, someone had to go for the cheap word pun and you know it. I work near the AMC and I’ve gone to enough movies there that I’m well familiar with Guido & Angelina that I’m always struck by the singular hint that it is to be avoided at all costs–it’s chronically and terminally empty. I can’t even imagine what it must be live to be a waiter or a hostess there. Seriously, between the utter boredom and the infrequent tips the turnover rate there must be *huge*. Let’s just admit it, the entire building complex is cursed. Even Jillian’s couldn’t make a decent of the place and they actually had a business plan.

  • by Peter Paul - April 3, 2007, 12:37 pm

    I was quite excited to try some quality Central/South American food when I attended a few months ago. The service was amicable and the atmosphere soothing and warm. Now unlike the atmosphere, the service and food fell short of what I expect. The menu seemed vastly interesting and possessed so many options and real Central/South American fusion food… we ordered…and we waited, and waited and waited. Finally two of my friends were served and I was told it’d be a second. My friends who had both read Emily Post waited for me in all good manners. 5 mins had passed, so I finally convinced my friends to commence their meal which was slowly turning temped. 10 mins passed. It seems they forgot my meal in general. I received my meal about 12 mins after my friends and wasn’t even offered a free meal, free dessert or free drink. This Central/South American restaurant holds true to the tenants of most places I visited while in Central America, very slow service. The only different between the two places is that Panama happens to be 35 degrees all the time, so I don’t mind a cold meal.

  • by Stephanie Ein - April 3, 2007, 6:41 pm

    Shame on Montrealers for dissing our version of American pseudo-Italiano! For shame! Much like “East Side Mario’s” and “Sbarro”, which hover at the lowest common denominator, G&A is taking a stab at bland international fare. After all, not everybody craves cuisine authentico. Hey, many people believe that Chef Boyardee is a real chef! So how about we smile and nod, and let the tourists flock to this Beacon of Bland, so that we locals can quietly and discretely enjoy the marvels of our city’s Little Italy?
    Buono Appetit!

  • by Sandra Araujo - April 4, 2007, 12:34 pm

    one word for Guido & Angelina “nasty”
    There are so many great Italian restaurants do not make reservations at this one.

  • by Marvin Rosschild - April 5, 2007, 11:30 pm

    I have to agree the food at Guidos sucks!! The last time i went to see a movie at the A M C i went to Burgers & Benedicts,Now this place knows how to serve food! i I ordered the deluxe burger.well worth the price i highly recommend it.

  • by Max Goldberg - April 6, 2007, 11:16 pm

    I have to agree that the food at Guidos is not very good. I tried the calamari it tasted as if it was made by goodyear or uniroyal ,,it tasted like rubber!As for the pizza it tasted like a frozen cheap version of a store bought pizza.We now know why this place is always empty.

  • by Genia Chepurniy - April 7, 2007, 12:21 pm

    yes, patati patata is basically a small hole in the wall diner, but with great charm and personality… we often go there for a quick breakfast, when it’s nice and quiet and we can sit at the window bench and watch the day unfurl… go there often enough and the staff know what you want even before you sit down…

  • by Diane Asselin - April 8, 2007, 12:13 pm

    I have to agree that the food at Guido and Angelina leaves alot to be desired. When they first open up in the Pepsi forum, the food was good and first quality, (not necessarily authenique italian) but ever since it has been in steady decline. The olive oil they use for dipping doesn’t appear to be of the highest quality and the pasta’s I tried were not always “al dente” as a matter of fact it appear as if they had been sitting in hot water for quite some time as they were soft and mushy. Don’t bother, better restaurants and prices elsewhere.

  • by Mathew Valergas - April 9, 2007, 10:53 am

    I’ve never been so disappointed, the food here is disgusting and over priced. There are so many better Italian restaurants who sell there meals cheaper for better quality. If you we’re ever thinking of going to Guido & Angelina, THINK AGAIN.

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