Montreal is a very European style city. The stone buildings and cobblestone streets elegantly display the 16th century architecture in Old Montreal. And I guess that’s where it all began. Over time, people immigrated to Montreal from various countries and began establishing their cultures throughout the city. To experience this, all you have to do is travel up St. Laurent street. You will pass Spanish grocery stores, Portuguese bakeries, European-influenced Jewish delicatessens, Hungarian butchers and eventually, Little Italy. But just before things start to get all European, you may find some Venezuelan food at a little place called Bocadillo.
Surrounded by cheap Asian noodle establishments, greasy spoons, places that claim they serve 99 cent pizza, and 24 hour cafés, lies a breath of fresh air. An adventure awaits your taste buds in a way that makes you grunt with pleasure. Located in what is considered the downtown area of St. Laurent street, Bocadillo adds fresh and bold flavors to this culinary hot pot. Displays full of empanada’s, arepas, and some desserts are what you first experience when you walk in. A big blackboard proudly showcases the sandwiches, sides, salads, and snacks with some mouth-watering pictures of the food bordering it. The seating capacity is about 12-15 people and the restaurant is a bit narrow, but who cares. The food is awesome.
My go-to dish is the beef mechada: a pulled beef sandwich that’s heated on the flattop grill, topped with a special white sauce that gives a great tang. This sandwich is divine. Not too messy, but just enough juice to run down your hand (this is a good thing), and is as tender as could be. Spicy, bold flavors fill the body in a way that feels so right. And yes, they also have pulled pork which is the next one on my list of things to try. Lately, I have been getting the roast beef sandwich. Also as tender as you can get, the roast beef comes with coleslaw inside the sandwich which freshens it up and elevates it to a new level of Venezuelan goodness. To quote Guy Fieri, you can put this on a flip flop and it would taste amazing. I’m also a big fan of the chicken and potato salad, and the empanada’s. Oh yes, I feel good here. They use the same bread for all their sandwiches. It holds up to the juicyness of the meats very well, and stays together as you eat it. It tastes great, and I can’t imagine using another type of bread for this.
Bocadillo is one of my favorites. In the summer, they serve from their open window on the street which gives them more appeal as a street food. This South American haven on St. Laurent has made their mark as a one of the better culinary adventures you can have here. Besides the chic and posh restaurants in the area, you just can’t find better quality food than Bocadillo. Every time I bring friends, I always hear the same thing from them while we eat: complete silence. That’s a sign of good food.