For those of you looking for healthy and cheap way to start your day, head on over to Laurier and Papineau. Located minutes from the Laurier metro stop, Les Saveurs du Plateau offers both a French-style bakery and a separate restaurant within just a few steps of each other.
I had come for the restaurant’s $4.99 promise of “Le Spécial” breakfast, but found myself distracted by the bakery’s tempting display of chouquettes (6 for $1) before I reached my destination. Oversized plastic mushrooms made up the window display, at first convincing me that Les Saveurs would be a psychedelic, rather than delicious, experience. Offering a mixture of tasty pastries, baguettes, and blues serenades, the bakery is a triple threat: it looks like a smoke shop, tastes like an authentic Parisian café, but feels like what we all imagine our parents’ basement was like in the 60s. Fairly priced, with comfortable bar stool seating, this place offers the most delectable comfort food I’ve found in Montreal.
Venturing a bit further down Laurier, I arrived at the Les Saveurs du Plateau restaurant, home of “Le Spécial”. A Plateau couple hung over the railing, exchanging “bonjours” with the waitress and milkman, awaiting the restaurant’s 9:30 a.m. opening time and, more importantly, their “Spécial”. At a whopping $4.99, Les Saveurs serves up two eggs, a choice of bacon or sausage, potatoes, fresh fruit, AND coffee. For $4.99. Splurge on some freshly- squeezed OJ? I think I just might.
Swaths of blue paint, gold paneling, and velvet seat coverings make for a very Van Gogh Café Terrace vibe, complete with Rococo chandeliers and polished teapots – just like those old ones your Mom never let you take out of the cupboard when you were little. The restaurant decor matches the clientele: rustic, filled with character, and French. No English menus here, and certainly no time to spare for an English student to ask a few questions to the waitress. Despite the meagre five patrons for their 10:00 a.m. breakfast, Les Saveurs’ staff seemed to give priority to their regulars. This became clear later on, when the waitress asked me when I had been there before, surprised that she did not recognize me. A compulsive liar, I blurted out August, figuring she would have been on vacation. It did the trick, but the not-so-petit déjeuner didn’t sit any better.
Feigning the inability to use my debit card, I finagled a few more questions out of the waitress. Owned by a couple, the elusive Nicole and Patrick, the restaurant recently reached its 16th anniversary with almost the same set of staff. Business is good, asserts the waitress, considering “Les Saveurs” is closed on both Monday and Tuesday. How could business be anything but great with such a sweet deal on the “Le Spécial”? Yet, don’t be fooled. This seemingly cheap breakfast joint becomes a chic tapas bar at night, with prices ranging from $9 tapas to $20 main courses.
Despite encountering some communication issues, I truly found two for the price of one at these same-named joints. A charming neighborhood treat, “Les Saveurs du Plateau” provides a little bit of Paris in a big ole’ American breakfast. So skip across Laurier some morning with a couple toonies in hand. While the service may lack warmth, the delicious food and pastries most definitely make up for it.