Any true Old Montreal foodie already knows about Chez Delmo.
The original eatery opened in 1932 and was completely revived by new Owners Benoit and Adam who gave the historic venue a contemporary but cozy (and chic) update.
Decorated with stunning murals by Carlito Dal Ceggio and filled with pictures of all the praised celebrities that have dined and love Chez Delmo, this longstanding Montreal Restaurant emanates the perfect mix of the new and the old.
Each table is decorated with wine glasses that are engraved with, “From wine what sudden friendship springs.” And this couldn’t ring more true than at Chez Delmo. The friendships and loyalty that have surrounded this place are known all over Montreal – but they have to be experienced in person to truly understand.
So what keeps Chez Delmo going and where did it all start? We caught up with Co-Owner Benoit Dessureault to get all the answers…
Chez Delmo has quite a history. How long have you been open for?
Chez Delmo opened in 1932…
What was that corner of the Old Port like back then?
Delmo had three floors back then: a restaurant on the first, a gaming house on the 2nd, and a brothel on the 3rd. The second and third are no longer operational.
You have seen your fair share of celebrities here. Do you have any favourites?
Most inspirational is definitely Chris Hadfield. Favourites? Malkovitch and Emerich.
Your chairs at the bar all have a name engraved in them, can you tell us a bit about that?
There are 18 stools left from the original 38 and all have the names of the most regular patrons, some of whom still come every day.
Speaking of loyal clients, what do you think keeps them coming back?
The menu at Delmo has changed little over the past 60 years. There is a wide variety of fish served in a traditional way and a lot of care is taken to be attentive to everybody, which our customers love and appreciate.
You have a beautiful art mural on your walls. What was the concept behind it?
Years ago, in the back of the eastern bar, there was a mosaic made of porcelain representing a garden party; it was destroyed a while back. Carlito DalCeggio, a local muralist, was commissioned to reproduce his version of the scene in 2011. In the graphics you can see images from the old mosaic on our walls.
Let’s talk about your fabulous wine rack. Is Chez Delmo really big on wine?
Most of the wine we sell is French white wine. We have a very regular lunch crowd so we try to have a variety of quality whites wine by the glass. The cellar is about 50 per cent private import.
We spent some time in your kitchen and saw how passionate your chefs are. What is their favourite dish to cook up?
The house specialty is the Dover sole meunière. The chefs take great pride in that dish, which used to be de-boned table-side (now in the kitchen to keep the dish warm.) The lobster bisque takes two days to make, and of course the cream of tomato, which we have been serving for decades.
In terms of your menu, how would you describe it to someone that hasn’t been to Chez Delmo before?
A wide variety of fresh fish and seafood served plain jane in a traditional French way.
What is your specialty?
The Dover sole.
There are a lot of young professionals around your area, are you open for lunch?
Chez Delmo was mostly lunch fare, although, in recent years, the restaurant has become more popular at night, especially on Thursdays with our $1 oyster special…
If you could describe Chez Delmo in three words what would they be?
Not sure I can describe it in three words but Delmo’s slogan is “from wine what sudden friendship springs.” This is engraved on our wine glasses since it couldn’t be truer.
Any special plans we need to know about for the summer?
Do not miss the lobster season at Delmo’s. Our Lobsters are served Bellevue, poached, grilled, in salad, and bisque. We also serve it in the Newburg and Thermidor style to offer it in a lot of different variations and ways to satisfy all tastes.
All images by: Karolina Jez