The Best Poke in Montreal: Our suggestions
The popularity of raw fish has been seen in sashimi, sushi, carpaccio, tartare, and now it is gaining popularity with poke. Pronounced “po-ké”, this dish consisting of delicious raw fish is offered in several Montreal establishments. Given poke’s merited popularity, we’ve prepared a list of the best in Montreal to help you.
According to the Hawaiian dictionary, poke means “to slice or dice”. It is a traditional Hawaiian dish that has been adopted by many places. First in Los Angeles, then elsewhere in the United States, Europe and now Canada. The classic Hawaiian dish has been transformed into healthy fast food. The story goes that the dish originated as a fisherman’s snack, where they would dice up the fish from their fishing trips. The poke as we know it today likely gained popularity in the 70s. Nowadays, rice and all sorts of related ingredients are added.
Poke is usually made with yellowfin tuna, but there are some variations with salmon, octopus or other raw fish or seafood. The side dishes have been influenced by Asian cuisine, mainly Japanese. Among the ingredients used, soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, chili peppers, seaweed, salt, fish roe, wasabi, and others are most often used. “Poke is like deconstructed sushi,” explains Allen Mouradian, owner of Poké Bar.
Like many of our readers, we love poke! Fresh, tasty, and generally healthy, they’re a great option for a light lunch.
Here is our list of the best poke in Montreal:
From the same owners as Escondite, Habanera and Biiru, these establishments are perfect places for a good, healthy and affordable lunch downtown. Koa Lua offers a variety of tuna, salmon, shrimp and tofu pokes on the menu. Unlike other poke places, Koa Lua offers recipes that are already customized – co-owner Yann Levy and his friend Athiraj Phrasavath designed the mixes.
Venice MTL is a Californian-inspired restaurant that first opened its doors in Old Montreal. The establishment serves soups, salads, tartines, tacos and… pokes! Owner Charles Manceau explained to us that he fell in love with this dish for its simplicity and freshness. “The fishermen in Hawaii, as soon as they come back, they cut small cubes of fish and season them with soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame seeds, and they eat it. It’s very fresh and very good!” Here you can find tuna, salmon, shrimp and veggie pokes. There is also the possibility to enjoy it on a puffed rice cake. The fish is also marinated in tamari sauce to avoid gluten. Similarly prepared pokes are also available at the other Venice locations in Old Montreal and in Saint-Henri.
Le Tô Comptoir Asiatique is a small address that focuses on freshness in fast food. The ready-to-eat counter serves a delicious poke of various fish – salmon sashimi, tuna tataki and salmon gravlax. Served over golden rice rather than the usual sticky white rice, Tô’s poke evokes a range of flavours.
Aloha Espresso Bar is a café in the Old Port whose inspiration, as the name suggests, comes straight from Hawaii. In line with this culinary culture, Aloha Espresso Bar offers a short menu of very tasty pokes, done just right. The address is a popular stop in the Old Port on hot summer days, the perfect time to enjoy one of the establishment’s original iced coffees.
Installé à quelques pas du café Mollo, à Pointe-Saint-Charles, Maui Poke propose d’excellents bols poké préparés avec des ingrédients de qualité. Les bols sont toujours frais, le poisson – le plus possible de source locale – est assez frais pour être mangé en sashimi ou en tartare. On craque pour le décor coloré d’inspiration tiki et les jolis enseignes au néon.