Disclaimer: This meal was comped.
Restaurant fests have become so common, it feels as though there is something to "celebrate" every day of the year and more! Burgers, poutines, pizza, mac ‘n' cheese, ribs, oysters and others each have their own week today – reaching gimmicky status – but a first mover was Happening Gourmand. Now in its twelfth year, the three-week festival is the brainchild of the Antonopoulos Group – operating under the moniker Experience Old Montreal.
A heavy user of influencer marketing strategies, the restaurant and hotel conglomerate has invited a number of media folks in the days leading to the fest to sample – and talk about – the menus on offer. For my part, I joined a coterie of bloggers over at Taverne Gaspar – the only one of the group's spots I had not tried yet – on this quiet Tuesday evening.
tagged: MEDIA EVENT
The Rue de la Commune locale boasts a darkish, cozy interior giving off a cavernous feel thanks to exposed grey-brick walls. The interior and ambiance nail the "gourmet tavern" concept put forth; after all, you can't be too casual when attached to a boutique hotel such as Auberge du Vieux-Port. Asides from the table reserved for our group, there was a modest turnout of office workers on this pleasant, snowy evening.
For those unaware, Happening Gourmand suggests a table d'hôte for a reduced price at each of the Antonopoulos Group's nine restaurants – all in Old Montreal. At Gaspar, you'll be able to sample a three-course meal showcasing its bistronomie du terroir proposition for a reasonable $24. A choice of two starters and two desserts surrounds a handful of pub grub staples such as mac ‘n' cheese, fish ‘n' chips and a bacon cheeseburger – all elevated by adding a local, French touch.
tagged: TABLE D'HÔTE
For a hospitality group that operates in prime tourist territory, Experience Old Montreal sure knows how to avoid the "tourist trap" label. Their restaurants have a solid track record of permanence while managing to attract locals and out-of-towners alike.
Tonight's fare at Gaspar lived up to its gastropub title with souped-up greasy spoon classics. And at $24 for a full meal, nobody's complaining – I can forgive the fish's dry batter. The festival runs until the 3rd of February; so there is plenty of time to beat the winter blues with an affordable meal at a happening spot.
Price per person: $24
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.