Le Foiegwa: Montreal’s First Real ‘French Diner’
Located between Saint-Henri and Griffintown, Foiegwa restaurant is Americanizing French Bistro cuisine.
Le Foiegwa recently opened its doors across from the Atwater Market, and we found, among others, Roberto Pores, who you might recall we spoke with a few months ago. After showing off their talents in Old Montreal at Barroco and Bocata, he and his cronies decided to conquer new territories in the exciting areas of Griffintown and Saint-Henri.
The experienced team at Foiegwa consists of Chef Jeremie Falissard, Marcus Sahou, the Gauley brothers (who decorated the place), Nicolas Dauzet and Christophe Beaudoin. Each brought with them a specific talent: whether the bar, kitchen or design; what they all have in common is they’re young entrepreneurs with proven experience.
From a personal joke on social networks to a restaurant
The mere mention of the restaurant’s name brings a smile: the genesis of Foiegwa goes back to Las Vegas, where the owners were giving foie gras to a crowd of Americans during the Life is Beautiful festival. The difficult pronunciation of the French term by Americans led them to make a “hashtag” on Instagram, then jackets, T-shirts, caps, and finally, a restaurant!
A warm and friendly atmosphere
Located at the corner of Notre Dame and Atwater, the Gauley Brothers took tasteful advantage of the décor of this former Belle Province. From the outside we see large round windows, chrome-framed walls and black mosaic that catches your eye while welcoming you in. Once inside, a large mirror makes this forty or-so seat room seem slightly bigger, and we quickly felt more than comfortable.
The choice of furniture and materials gives the restaurant its elegance: light leather benches, marble tables and bar, dark wood chairs and white-tiled walls are warmed by globes showering slightly tinted light. Finally, many black and white portraits reminiscent of Parisian brasseries adorn the walls.
Quality is their motto
Where French cuisine tends to remain self-absorbed, Chef Jeremie Falissard has instilled American characteristics and influences. Located directly opposite the popular Atwater market, it is only natural the chef went to find the best the market has to offer.
They call it “bistronomy” when gastronomy leans on classic French brasserie cuisine, and this is exactly what we find at Foiegwa. True high quality cuisine, they offer classic entrées and appetizers such as frog legs, snails in garlic butter or the traditional onion soup. In addition, they are always concentrating on the quality of their products. Butter for your radishes? It comes from Quebec’s Chagnon dairy farm. The seafood? From Ocean Wise sustainable fishing.
A rich and generous cuisine
As for the main courses, although it remains similar to well-known French brasseries recipes, Jeremie Falissard surprises us with his execution and the few freedoms he sometimes takes in altering his shepherd’s pie with duck confit, porcini, mushrooms and foie gras, or his salad nicoise with tuna confit and stracciatella.
Furthermore, the foie gras is offered in several ways: entrée, escalope with tomato confit, cottage pie or cheeseburger. On the word of Rahma, who guarantees the service, we opted for the popular cheeseburger. The result is as delicious as it is surprising!
A call to gluttony
As for the sweets, we highly recommend trying the Paris-Brest-revisited Foiegwa. Instead of baking with puff pastry traditionally used to make the famous cream dessert, the chef uses a donut dough that creatively changes the texture.
A fine selection of wines and cocktails
Of all the arguments that make Foiegwa a favorite, the drinks menu is especially noteworthy. Behind the bar, Christophe Beaudoin concocted more than ten classic cocktails as well as some of his own creation, while Roberto Pores was responsible for selecting imported wines, mostly from large private suppliers such as Oenopole, Maître de Chai, Boire or Vinealis.
Bubbly fans are also sure to love their selection of champagnes…
Finally, the restaurant is open every day and their kitchens close at 2am; it’s the place to go after a concert, a play or just for a late dinner!
3001, Notre-Dame Street West
Photo credits: Frédéric Ryan – Instagram (@feddomtl)