89 Rue de la Commune E./St Gabriel,
Phone: (514) 392-1649
Cost: $ 138.45 ( 3 persons)
Chef hats: 4/5
Taverne Gaspar is approaching its ninth year in business and needs no formal introduction to the world of Montreal foodies and pub aficionados alike. It has settled down quietly ever so as a constant presence in Old Montreal’s dining scene. Overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, this Gastro pub attached to Auberge du Vieux Port remains a fixture with tourists and locals who want to dine on comfort pub food and local craft beer.
The Taverne remains a casual and friendly establishment that welcomes its patrons in a modern hip atmosphere guaranteeing a fun, pleasant and professional experience. The food, a fusion of British, French and Quebecois cuisine is still above par and has an interesting list of choices to please any palate. Only change is that former Executive Chef Gerald Barthelémy left in 2017 to open St Tropez wine bar in NYC, but these days we can find Caroline Kobloth as chef de partie manning the kitchen at Gaspar. A local girl who has worked previously at Restaurant Le Vestibule in Brossard before moving her way up to Gaspar. You will not be disappointed as the food remains unscathed.
The Tavern’s decor also basically has not changed either since its inception eight years ago. It manages to remain current with its lit-up brick walls, black leather and oak woodwork, brass accents and mirrors, tin tiled ceilings and eclectic bar. Like many restaurants that inhabit these century old buildings the setting can be cavernous, but contain a “je ne sais quoi” sense of mystique. Once inside, the atmosphere is electric, festive and bubbly.
During the winter months in January, Taverne Gaspar which is part of chain of restaurants owned by the Antonopoulos group offers an annual promotion during Happening Gourmand festival. Dinners can take advantage of a reduced priced menu that offers a three-course meal for only $ 24.00. A great deal for those newcomers and for those who love dining out at affordable prices.
This year, we returned to Taverne Gaspar during the Happening Gourmand Festival after a brief hiatus. We brought with us an additional family member to introduce him to our usual decadent dining adventures. We knew the price would be a huge draw and I kept my fingers crossed that the food was going to be to his liking. This evening we got a spacious round table in a nook in the center of the room against the wall. Our guest loved the Jack Daniels electric guitar hanging on the wall near our table, it reminded him of the decor at Hard Rock café with its rock memorabilia. A great conversation piece that transported us back to times when life was simple and easy.
Service was professional, our waiter was friendly, very patient and accommodating. He suggested a pale ale local beer called MTL on tap for $8.00 by the pint, which we enjoyed immensely. He came back a few times to see if we were ready to order. After perusing the menu, we decided on soup and salad to start our meal.
The soup was a cream of cauliflower that was super delicious and impressive. It was silky and creamy in texture. Really smooth with a sprinkle of smoked paprika as topping and packed with flavor.
The Caesar salad was also very good with just the right mix of fresh romaine lettuce leaves, large chunks of shaved parmesan and tons of croutons. Not overpowering with garlic or anchovies., it was light, delicate and a good mix of flavors. It came served with a wedge of lemon.
For mains, we ordered, the gourmet cheeseburger with smoked bacon, caramelized onions and mushrooms. It came with a three mustard sauce and homemade fries. Served on a wooden plank, it made all the difference to our guest as he liked the different accoutrements and non-generic white plates. A perfect introduction and added plus to a dish that would be simple otherwise. He found the burger at Gaspar to be superior to many other gourmet burgers sampled elsewhere and was pleasantly surprised.
Being Friday night, this foodie went with my usual classic fish n chips, which I had eaten here previously. I received two large battered cod fish filets made with Gaspar beer, homemade fries and tartar sauce and a small house salad. The last time I sampled fish n chips at the Taverne it was delicious and far one of the best fish n chips I had in the city. This evening, it was different. It lacked the oomph but nonetheless, flavorful and satisfying. The fish was crispy, tender and not overcooked. The fries were equally tasty and filling, but beer batter fell flat.
For dessert, on the menu this evening was a Smores Cake and a Maple Crème Brulée. Both decadent, well mastered and beautifully presented, topped with a ground cherry tomatoes, it was just heavenly and perfect ending to a good meal. It left a lasting impression with everyone and loved by all. We had a great fun family outing and very memorable. I strongly recommend the Taverne Gaspar. My experience here has always been good one. I am already looking forward to my next visit in the summer where I could sit on the terrace and enjoy the easy life, some good beer and some more great food.