Restaurant Profile: Damas…Serious Syrian Cuisine

Meet Damas, the hottest restaurant in Montreal. YUL has long been a haven for local foodies and international chefs alike, and while many associate the French Canadian metropolis with European bistros and cafés, Montreal’s food culture is much more widespread than that. Case in point: Damas.

Damas, which serves up Syrian cuisine on the daily, has quickly become one of the most popular eateries in Montreal (you can be sure that making a reservation well in advance is the way to go). Nestled in the quaint neighbourhood of Outremont at the corner of Van Horne and Bloomfield, this upscale bistro has a simple (and deceiving) facade that gives way to a warm and colourful Middle East-inspired interior. Mosaic tiles, Arabic motifs, and jewel tones are the perfect reflection of the vibrant, flavourful dishes that await. Inside, you’ll find 100 or so seats (additional seating is available on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace in the summertime), comprising a mixture of bar stools, high top tables, and standard tables.

Now onto Chef and co-owner, Fuad Alneirabeie, and his incredible food. It’s worth noting that the portions at Damas are generous, which is not something you typically see at higher-end restaurants. With virtually any dish on the menu, prepare for all of your senses to be delighted. Not only does the authentic-yet-modern cuisine use spice combinations that will blow your mind (and taste buds), but you can rest assured that your plate will be chock full of fresh, vividly-hued foods that are guaranteed to look good on the ’gram!

The house specialties include a range of barbecued meats, fish, and curries. Some of the most enticing options are the Fattet Mozat (tender lamb shank on a bed of rice and yogurt sauce, served with pita)and the Shish Taouk (Damascus style marinated chicken breast with homemade pickles and ketchup, served with sumac french fries). Though it may sound simple, another must when visiting Damas is the hummus; it is, quite simply, the perfect appetizer. The hummus and mutabbal (found in the Cold Mezzes section of the menu), are prepared fresh daily and paired with the most delicious pita you’ve likely ever tasted.

To round out the menu, beverages consist of a select wine list with bottles starting at $50 and cocktails infused with a Syrian flair. The Syrian Apricot Gimlet, consisting of rye, Damas tea, and apricot, is the perfect cocktail to start the evening; if your palate is partial to things a little less sweet, the Aleppo Gin Sour is concocted from gin, orange blossom, coriander, and Alleppo pepper.

If you’re looking for an elevated dining experience with unique flavour combinations and a festive atmosphere, be sure to stop by Damas on your next visit to Montreal.

 

Photos via Instagram.

Emily Southey
Emily Southey is a freelance writer from Vancouver. Currently based in Toronto, it was during her time studying History and English at McGill and University College London that she became interested in writing. When she's not working, you can typically find her in a museum, baking cupcakes, watching Disney musicals, or Instagramming her new favourite coffee spot.