Rotisserie chicken has a long history in Québec, from grocery store takeout and Mom and Pop neighbourhood joints to the St Hubert franchises found at almost every highway off-ramp in the province. Roasted birds and Québec “barbecue sauce” (ie chicken gravy) conjure up fond childhood memories for those who grew up here. That’s why it’s no surprise that Portuguese chicken has become as integral a part of the city’s food scene as poutine, bagels, steamé hot dogs and smoked meat.
Portuguese immigrants came to Canada by the thousands starting in the 1950s, and in Montreal, they were historically concentrated in the Little Portugal neighbourhood along Saint-Laurent boulevard between Pine and Marie-Anne streets. As with many other immigrant groups, many Portuguese opted to open restaurants. Along with Pasteis de natas and bifana sandwiches, these restaurants served Portuguese chicken, served on a roll or on its own, marinated in a mix of piri piri hot sauce and chicken drippings, roasted and grilled over charcoal.
What used to be a neighbourhood specialty has spread to almost every area of the city, following the Portuguese diaspora and Montrealers’ ever-increasing appetite for piri piri. If there’s one place that’s most responsible for introducing the wider Montreal public to Portuguese chicken, it’s Romados. Their restaurant at the corner of Rachel and de Bullion is well-known for its around-the-block lineups and now ranks with the likes of Schwartz’s on many Montreal restaurant bucket lists. Along with their signature chicken, Romados’ chicken poutine has become a fan favourite—the spicy piri piri sauce and crispy chicken blends perfectly with the restaurant’s hand-cut fries and fresh curds.
For the first time ever, you’ll be able to get your hands on Romados’ famous chicken, poutine and natas in the heart of downtown at the Time Out Market Montréal. That’s big news for the downtown office crowd, shoppers and tourists alike.
Time Out Market Montréal will be open to the public on November 14th inside the Centre Eaton de Montréal (705 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, niveau 1). Hours: Monday to Wednesday 8am—9pm, Thursday to Friday 8am—midnight, Saturday 9am—midnight, Sunday 9am—9pm