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Babacool
Photograph: Duo Tang Studio

Babacool, a Mediterranean oasis on the cheap, has opened up shop in Old Montreal

The new restaurant in Old Montreal offers up a casual atmosphere and affordable food that takes you on a journey through the Aegean Sea.

JP Karwacki
Written by
Tommy Dion
Translated by
JP Karwacki
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Located inside a magnificent heritage building belonging to the Notre-Dame Church, Marco Benatar of Flyjin and Jatoba and Charles Manceau from the Groupe Venice—known for creating spots like Venice MTL and bars like Boho—decided to join forces to open a new oasis in the heart of Old Montreal: Babacool, a new spot to transport Montrealers to the Mediterranean with small sharing plates inspired by Greek, Lebanese, Israeli and Moroccan cuisine.

Wondering about the menu? Think hummus, babaganouj or labneh that clients can take pleasure in dipping homemade pita bread grilled to order into, in addition to some cooked salads, fattouche or Greek salads with halloumi cheese to fill up with before digging into vegetables and proteins like lamb kefta, grilled shrimps, and chicken with olives.

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Chef John Zoumis, himself of Greek descent and previously a self-employed caterer, has plans to bring a modern touch to the restaurant's traditional inspirations. The result is a selection of mezze that seldom break the $10 mark, coupled with a relaxed yet sleek space that's one part bright colors and the other dark. There's also a selection of Greek, Lebanese and Israeli natural wines, and a kitchen overlooking the dining room—all told, that's what helps Babacool really comes into its own.

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After more than a year working on this project despite the pandemic, it was clear that the experience of these veteran restaurateurs would come into play to offer an accessible and affordable experience for all, where it is possible to go for an aperitif, share a few dishes over a cocktail or to spend a pleasant evening with friends. It's an addition to the neighborhood that will certainly please Montrealers (and likely a few tourists too).

Babacool is open Wednesday to Saturday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 140 Notre-Dame West. Check out the menu and other details here on their website.

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