Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mojitos, tapas and good times @ Pica Pica

Last Wednesday, two of my good friends and I decided to meet up and have a nice supper to catch up. Of course, I never go to any restaurant anymore without some form of a group discount in hand. This time, it was Groupon that offered a 50% discount at Pica Pica, a spanish restaurant in the Gay Village. I was curious about their famous mojitos and my friends has never had spanish food before so Pica Pica seems like the right choice, especially with a great discount like that! (My friend J immediately thought of Pikachu when he first heard the name of the restaurant haha)

I've always loved the Gay Village. I love its liveliness and eccentricity. I love the buildings with the rustic exterior but modern and hip interior. I love the restaurants (although they are slightly overpriced). What I love the most is when I'm there, I am reminded how lucky I am to live a city that's so open-minded and liberal. Thank God I don't live in those southern conservative US states. I can't believe they haven't legalize gay marriage yet. God, they still live in the 1800s. Anyways, rant over.

Oh and I apologize for the grainy pictures. I decided against using the flash because I didn't want to bother the other diners with small bursts of light every other minute. The lighting was pretty dim in the restaurant, so that wasn't the brightest idea (no pun intended). Next time, I'll just be inconsiderate and use the flash :)


Ok, back to Pica Pica. The decor was nice. The walls were painted red and the seats/benches were black - very spanish-y. The service was impeccable. Our waiter was friendly and efficient. When we told him it was our first time here, he proceeded to describe the menu and recommended some dishes that were bestsellers. He brought warm, freshly baked bread after we ordered.

The waiter highly recommended the cucumber mojito, which I ended up ordering. Yummm - It was freshness in a glass. I usually hate fresh mint (nothing against mint chocolate though hehe), but this was really good. It reminded me of the vietnamese cabbage salad goi. The waiter explained that their mojitos are renowned because they don't use artificial flavors and always use fresh fruit/cucumber.

J ordered a mango mojito (which was equally tasty and fresh. I love fruity drinks!) and M had a raspberry daiquiri. All 3 drinks were 8.25$ each.


We started with Las ensaladas. The first was the Pica Pica - beet salad with goat cheese served on a nest of baby spinach with balsamic vinaigrette (12$). We reckoned that since this dish was named after the restaurant, it must be good. While it was not extraordinary, it wasn't disappointing. I've only tried beets once before and didn't like it then. But I enjoyed these marinated beets. The goat cheese was served on bread and was excellent. We had a good laugh when I told my friends that the taste of yellow herbs reminded me of my childhood and M remarked that they taste exactly like grass. Yeah, I guess I ate a lot of grass when I was a kid. :) (M knows this because she ate a lot of grass in her day too haha).

The second salad was Mango y chichazon de cerdo - mango julienne, crispy pork, peanuts, coriander and lime juice (9$). It was too spicy for my taste. My fellow diners agreed. My mom makes a kickass mango salad and this really pales in comparison.

Dattes californiennes - Stuffed dates with garlic, wrapped with bacon and served with teriyaki sauce (7$) I hate dates. But not these dates! Wrap anything in bacon and it's good. And dip that bacon-wrapped anything in a sweet sauce and it's amazing! That's a culinary rule. This was without doubt the best tapas dish of the evening! The sweet flavors of the dates and the sauce worked well with the saltiness of the bacon.

Pernil el caribe - roasted pork shoulder, Caribbean style, served on crispy wonton sheets (9$). Tasted good, but wasn't very special.

Relleno de mar - seafood au gratin served on a shell (14$). The most disappointing dish of the evening (and most expensive too!) The scallops and shrimps were microscopic and were swimming in a very rich cream sauce. It tasted like the coquille st-jacques (without the mashed potatoes) that you can get at buffet lines...but worse. Enough said.

Tapas de esparragos - asparagus au gratin with parmigiano reggiano (9$). Although the asparagus were slightly overcooked, this dish redeemed itselft with the sauce which was simply delicious. Overall, a tasty and unique dish.

The waiter wanted to leave the 2 best dishes for last. One of them was the Condornices caramelisados - Marinated and caramelized quail Royal (9$). While M was agonizing over eating such a small bird and promising herself this will be the last time she will eat a quail, I devoured it without having a second thought haha. It was delicious and perfectly marinated.

Gambas Bravas - shrimps with sofrito sauce (10$). "The best shrimps in the world" according to the waiter. The shrimps were breaded and fried and then coated by what seems like a mayo-chili sauce. They're not really the best shrimps in the world, but still damn good.


Although at this point, we were all ready to burst, M decided to give in to the temptation of a orange-flavored Creme brulee (around 6$) of which I had 1 2 3 4 spoonfuls. It was really the perfect ending to a delightful meal.

I had a great evening at Pica Pica; you can't go wrong with tasty tapas, fresh mojitos and great company. :) I will definitely be back again soon for another dose of bacon-dates deliciousness.

Food: 4.2/5
Service: 4.8/5
Setting: 4.5/5
Value: 4/5
Overall: 4.3/5

1310, Boulevard Maisonneuve Est
Montréal, QC H2L 2A5
(514) 658-2884

Pica Pica on Urbanspoon


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