There is an affinity between Montreal and Buenos Aires. They are the two most European cities within their respective Americas, and they also have their share of Jewish grandmothers—the inspiration for the deeply personal yet punctilious cuisine at Beba. Here, Argentine-born brothers Ari (former chef de cuisine, Liverpool House) and Pablo Schor (former barman at Vancouver’s Bao Bei) share sophisticated versions of their Italian- and Spanish-inflected childhood favourites, which may well become your grownup go-to’s. The small, chatty room, with 28 seats on an out-of-the-way corner of Verdun, charms with an equally diminutive menu on which dishes that could easily come off as heavy are re-envisioned with savvy, contemporary delicatesse. Start with a set of exemplary, magically light chorizo-stuffed empanadas. Brussels sprouts and smoked almonds offer a landscape of sweet, tangy, roasted flavours. Fluke in mushroom butter, showered with Périgord truffles, is an embarrassment of riches. But it’s the brisket in sugo, which sits in tomato sauce for a full day, presented with just-chewy potato gnocchi on top (Beba herself favoured a plate of pasta on the side), that captures the distinctive character, confidence and care that make this place so memorable.
Photos: MATTHEW PERRIN