521 Duluth E. Mont-Royal or Sherbrooke métro.
RESERVATIONS: 521-4206. HOURS: 12 a.m.12 P.M. NO-SMOKING SECTION: Yes. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No. PRICESTABLE YHOTE: $12$18 at lunchtime; $10.95, 4 p.m.5 p.m. CREDIT CARDS: Visa, Mastercard, Amex.
Although, in principle its good to stay away from rating the cavernous brochetteries with 300 or more seats, we have tried the competition, and NOBODY beats Le Jardin de Panos. We had hoped to be able to unearth a new challenger, but only Panos has the goods.
Their secrets? They limit their menu: although there is no experimentation, what they do, they do well.
Le Jardin de Panos in spring, fall or winter? As you enter, take a good look at the tiny, open kitchen: they have nothing to hide here. The food is simple, but it's good. If you're a non-smoker, head to your left, for what is the prettiest room in the place, where exposed dark-brown beams set off the"sun bleached" walls. You may see the snow falling through the many-paned, wood-framed window, but inside all is warm and sunny: the p astel-checkered tablecloths, the modern Greek paintings, tapestries, etchings and reproductions, and the antique collectibles all combine for a feel that is unmatched in style or authenticity by ANY other BYOB brochetterie in the city, period.
The upstairs is smoking, better for groups, and looks over the trees on the terrasse, while the other room downstairs is all green-hued arches, very intimate.
Le Jardin de Panos in summer? For a leafy vision of what the Plateau's backyards are like, come dine on the massive back terrasse in May, June, July, August or September. Full-grown trees are interspersed with tables full of laughing patrons, punctuated by the sound of corks being pulled, the Plateau's bird population, and Greek "Rembetiko" music. There's something so European about it all, actually stopping to live a bitl Here, jole de vivre reigns and, incredibly, the quality from the tiny kitchen rarely suffers, despite the fact that it must now serve hundreds more people than in the winterl Arrive on a sunny mid-week day just before the crowds arrive, take a sip or two of wine, squint your eyes a bit and imagine yourself on a Greek isle.
Panos' best? The freshly battered, lightly fried calamari, the authentic pikilia that boasts homemade ingredients, including a Greek baba ghanouj, and the fresh dill in the salads. Also, try the silky bechamel-stuffed moussaka or the authentically spiced lambchops (pythakia). The most authentic dessert is the homemade, rich Greek-style yogurt. Thick Greek honey is the traditional topping, but ask your waiter for the Greek sour cherries in syrup. The combination is excruciatingly heavenly, and the waiter will nod at you knowingly.