Crazy for the old city

Old Montreal’s rich history, beauty and, above all, architecture totally won the heart of Ontario’s Dyan Solomon. Which is why she chose this neighbourhood to open her bakery, Olive + Gourmando, in 1997.

It’s not as if she hadn’t visited her fair share of other locations; she had spent time in Kingston, Boston, Washington and Vermont, honing her culinary skills. But she really had to have been smitten, because at the time, the old city was almost flatlining. Happily, though, thanks to a high vacancy rate, rents were affordable. Nevertheless, skeptics abounded when she opened the bakery with partner Éric Girard. Today, she’s getting the last laugh, because not only has the establishment, now a café-resto, passed the 30-year mark, it’s perhaps the hottest lunch spot in Montreal.

Olive + Gourmando has mastered the science of the all-homemade light lunch. The eatery’s star dishes include pancetta or smoked roast beef panini, capicollo or Cajun chicken sandwiches, salads, house ricotta and pastries, especially their famous brownies.

Three years ago, eager for a new experience, Dyan Solomon and Éric Girard launched a second restaurant, Foxy, in Griffintown.

With Chief Leigh Roper in charge, Foxy’s mission is quite different. The menu here is heavy on barbecue: beef, pork, fish or poultry is grilled over a live fire or roasted in a wood-burning oven, which impregnates the whole restaurant with the fragrant smell of burning logs.

Like at Olive + Gourmando, everything at Foxy is homemade: feta, yogurt, sausages, pancetta, pasta, pastries and ice cream.

351 Saint-Paul St. W.

1638 Notre-Dame St. W.