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First Date Series: Chez Doval

Posted by Tara / April 3, 2011

Chez Doval OutsideThe First Date Series takes a look at restaurants in Montreal where you might want to go (or not go) on a first date. In Part 4, we check out Chez Doval on the corner of Marianne and de Bullion, not a bad place to get to know someone.

As you're approaching Chez Doval, the backlit plastic sign and somewhat homely exterior give you no indication that inside is a quaint Portuguese restaurant, ideal for a first date. Don't judge the place (and perhaps your date) by first impressions alone. Inside, Chez Doval is charming.

Red tablecloths match the waiters' shirts, and an open grill lines the back wall. The place is comfortable and has a warm, traditional feel. On a first date, this may be a better pick than one of the sleeker, trendier restaurants in the city, where the atmosphere can be more intimidating than the date itself.Chez Doval InsideThe restaurant's website claims that Chez Doval is perfect for "une soirée tranquille," although both times I've eaten there, the place has been bustling. Not necessarily great for first date ambiance, but at the same time, it's never really felt that crowded, and a full restaurant definitely beats an empty one on a first date.Chez Doval GrillThe majority of the items on the menu are preceded by the word "grilled," as the cuisine here is based around foods prepared on an open charcoal grill. We started off with the grilled quail and the grilled calamari. The calamari here is amazing; the long, thin slices were perfectly grilled, giving one side a near-crisp taste that can make or break a calamari dish.Chez Doval CalamariWhenever I find decent quail on a menu, I'm pleased. Chez Doval's flavourful and not too greasy grilled quail was definitely worthwhile.Chez Doval QuailBoth appetizers, as well as our main dishes, were served with a lettuce, onion, and tomato salad. Though this may sound relatively unexciting, it was covered in a tangy lemon dressing that made the salad pretty great. The bread was also a highlight -- even unoccupied tables have baskets sitting in wait, filled with fluffy Portuguese buns and a massive pile of seasoned croutons (both are excellent for drenching in any excess salad dressing).

As our main courses arrived, our first impression was that portions were gigantic. We could have easily shared one meal, although suggesting that on a first date with someone you barely know may be a bit off-putting. I went with the grilled grouper, served alongside a salad and boiled vegetable-potato mix. The thick chunk of fish was slightly boney for my taste, but delicious: charcoal-crusted on the outside and flaky on the inside. The boiled goods lacked some flavour, and I immediately wished that I'd gone for fries instead.

My date had the grilled chicken. Two breasts and a leg were served on top of a salad with -- surprise, surprise -- a mountain of fries. The fries were fresh and homemade, and the chicken was tasty and not too greasy. The grilled dishes all shared the same distinct taste: a combination of the charcoal-y goodness and some kind of piri-piri-inspired spices.Chez Doval ChickenChez Doval makes an excellent and potent espresso -- not a bad way to keep your date up for a few more hours of chatting.

The drinks here aren't too exceptional, other than the fact that they make 'em strong, and the wine list has some good Portuguese selections. If you're looking to take a date to a place that's comfortable and unassuming with very decent food, Chez Doval's a perfect pick.

Chez Doval is located at 150, rue Marie-Anne Est, corner de Bullion. They're open everyday from 11am to 11pm, and lunch specials are available from noon to 3pm.

Check out some of our other First Date ideas like the Griffintown Cafe and La Cabane.

Do you have suggestions for other fun first date places that Midnight Poutine should consider? Leave a comment below!



Zeke / April 4, 2011 at 09:19 am

What's wrong with the people that you're going out with? Why don't you ever go on a second date?
Tara replying to a comment from Zeke / April 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm
Good question! Though 'The Dates of My Life Series' doesn't have quite the same ring to it...
Mojo / April 16, 2011 at 03:26 pm
Try Casa Manolo on Wellington in Verdun. Their BBQ chicken rivals Chez Doval and its under 10$!
Tara replying to a comment from Mojo / April 18, 2011 at 05:14 pm
Thanks for the tip! I'll make my way there for sure.
http://tinyurl.com/lehepage47142 / January 13, 2013 at 04:51 pm
I appreciate it for posting “First Date Series: Chez Doval”.

Iwill absolutely be coming back for more reading through and
writing comments soon enough. With thanks, Brittney
Carmen / August 25, 2013 at 07:23 pm
Casa Manolo is not lo get open for business. Traditionally sardines are allllqays served with boiled potatoes NEVER with fries!!!
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