Egyptian-Style Seafood at Rayan Poissonnerie Montreal
Located on Montreal’s ever bustling Cote-des-Neiges street, Rayan Poissonnerie has been the go-to seafood restaurant for these past couple of years and is showing no signs of slowing down. Since opening their doors they have grown considerably, establishing three other locations around Montreal. A family-friendly restaurant, Rayan has plenty of seating, with rows of 8 table lined up, and plenty of 4 table space.
In terms of decorative pieces and artwork, Rayan keeps it simple and basic. There aren’t much visual here, but it is, most importantly, clean and sufficiently sized. Placed on one of the walls are two miniature ships, giving it some kind of nautical ambiance. What Rayan lacks in interior design is compensated by the fact that there was Qur’an recitation powering through the audio, a pleasant surprise and a rarity in the best kind of way.
Ordering food at Rayan does not follow the usual flow. Upon entering the restaurant, guests could either choose to be seated first while contemplating their catch of the day, or go straight to the seafood counter at the back to select their seafood of choice. The layout is very similar to that of a fresh seafood counter in a grocery store or at the local market with seafood spread out over piles of ice to keep them fresh. Among the choices of seafood are shrimp, calamari, octopus, scallops, mussels, lobster and fish from their Catch of the day selection (Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Red Snapper, Salmon and Tilapia). Customers choose the type of seafood they want and the amount (minimum of ½ pound) and the preparation; grilled, sauté with garlic sauce and tomato sauce- the men behind the counter help with the weighing and takes the orders for the side dishes (Special Fries, Rice, Salad and Soup).
We were feeling rather curious and hungry that day, and thus chose variety of plates to get a good idea of their menu. We settled on ½ pound of Jumbo Shrimp ($13,43) in garlic sauce, the Loup de Mer fish ($11,82) in Tunisian-style preparation and a portion of Grilled Octopus (14,74). For the side dishes I opted for the small portion of Rayan’s Special Fries and rice ($5,99 each).
As we waited, the waiter came around with complimentary bread and butter. The warm and soft bread made for a good opener. Fifteen minutes later our orders came rolling. At this point, everything looked delicious. The Jumbo Shrimp was doused in golden garlic and lemon sauce. While the shrimp was cooked to perfection, the garlic sauce was more on the tangy (lemon) side than expected. The Lourd de Mer in Tunisian-style preparation came in as a whole- bones, head and tail intact, was grilled and sprinkled with Rayan secret mix (green salty /savoury ground mix that make everything taste better). Eating the fish was a bit of a hassle due to the abundance of bones, but it was well prepared and made for a good light seafood dish. While uncertain about the octopus prior to tasting it, my inhibitions were quickly resolved upon the first bite. It was surprisingly soft, not chewy or hard as I thought it would be. And best of all, it was filled with flavor. This might be attributed to the sauce it was drenched in, a combination of oil, lemon and Rayan’s secret mix!
I had heard that their Special Fries was a must, and I could attest to that praise recommendation. The fries were perfect crispy without being oily, cut in thin wedges, sprinkled with the Rayan’s green fairy dust, with two condiments to dip at will (tomato and tartar). On to the next side dish, the rice, was lightly spiced which complemented the more intense flavoured dished well.
Overall, Rayan Poissonnerie was a very satisfying seafood experience. With the swift and straightforward service, it’s an ideal place for families to enjoy a meal out. In addition, it was great to be able to see and choose the seafood, sauce and preparation.
Meat Source: Only seafood is served at this establishment.
Mira Faizawati is a Montreal-based freelance writer, part-time student and full-time dreamer. Her hobbies, interest and passions revolve around food, fashion and travel. Mira’s sensory curiosity means that she is always on the look-out for new tastes to savour, things to wear and places to go. She shares her travel ideas at Elysia Travel, a Montreal travel start-up.
6080 Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal