I discovered Mon Nan back in 2015 and raved about it after immediately falling in love with it. Since then I have returned at least a dozen times; open 365 days a year, it is now my family's de facto spot for any occasion from birthday celebrations to holiday dinners.
So here I was thinking a reservation was not needed on this Easter Sunday night when, lo and behold, a small huddle of people was crammed by the fish tank at the entrance of the packed dining room.
The rationale behind the interior's renovation work a couple years back and its results are perplexing. The characteristically-Chinese mural and ornaments have made way for nondescript walls lined with white tiles reminiscent of public toilets.
Worse yet, the color-changing light scheme is plain bizarre – and certainly makes it tricky to snap decent pictures! Regardless, none of this seems to bother the habitual crowd of Chinese-and-more families of all ages and sizes.
Navigating the fourteen-page menu of Cantonese, Szechuan and even Thai specialties can pose a challenge. Over time, my family has narrowed down a couple favourites such as the comforting seafood/tofu soup and anything with salt & pepper in the name.
Tonight we also tried a few new dishes; ordinary shrimp dumplings and chicken fried rice were overshadowed by uber-garlicky Chinese broccoli and incredibly flavourful, cumin seed-enhanced ginger beef.
tagged: YOU MAKE ALL THIS?
The crew at Mon Nan runs like a well-oiled machine. As busy as the restaurant gets, the all-male waitstaff is always on top of things. You never have to wait long before plates arrive, and the sequencing is always right.
Something that has caught my attention since day one was every waiter's memorization of the 200+ items on the menu, including their number; impressive!
tagged: HUSTLE & BUSTLE
Questionable remodeling aside, Mon Nan is still my go-to spot for extended – or not – family gatherings. Its smooth functioning is a case study in consistency and reliability.
Whether you stick to your safe bets or are in for something new, you are bound to stumble on a gem or two. What a treat it is to have it open throughout the week and round the year!
Price per person: $18.16
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.