Spirite Lounge

Montréal, Quebec


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DECOR: If Liberace was force fed LSD and told to go to a flea market and buy supplies in order to decorate a restaurant, this place would be the final result. The walls are gold-plated, the windows have velvet drapes drawn over them in order to block out external light (giving the restaurant an amber glow) and grandfather clocks, complete with ticking pendulums, are everywhere.

The FOOD: There is no menu. Instead, you're given the day's soup, then the entree and finally dessert. The food is exquisite (you'll love the desserts if you're into chocolate) and the portions ample.

The PRICE: The standard 3 course meal is $15 (regardless of the portion size). Tap water isn't served, and bottled water is $2 for a 1.5 liter bottle. Wine is $6 a glass.

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I probably read every internet review on the Spirite Lounge before deciding to eat there. The more that I read, the more that I wanted to try the restaurant universally described as "an experience" for myself. I was intrigued by the "no waste" policy and by various patrons' accounts of being asked to leave (and never return) as punishment for not finishing the meal.

In spite of the fact that I had prepared myself for a very bizarre experience, the Spirite Lounge still managed to exceed my expectations. The decor was indescribable. We ate in the room closest to the kitchen, which featured textured gold walls (if you looked carefully, you could see letters and leaves that were glued to the walls before they were painted), animal print napkins, miniature trees covered with Christmas lights and parasols hanging from the ceiling. It had the feel of a harem mixed with an enchanted forest.

The waitstaff was equally decorative. The owner reminded me of a Cirque du Soleil performer, with his thick French accent, colorful clothing and optimistic world views.

The food was amazing and, at $15 for the entire 3 course meal, was quite a bargain. I chose to eat the "small" portion, which was still more than enough food for me to eat. Our first course was a creamy coconut coriander soup, served with small slices of whole wheat bread.

The main course was a vegetable-filled crepe, covered in a savory mushroom gravy and garnished with tropical fruit compote. I normally hate mushrooms, but I managed to devour every last morsel on my plate.

The dessert was a fruit-sweetened chocolate cake. It was a rich, moist cake filled with blueberries and coated in a fudge frosting. After dessert, we were given complimentary ginger cardamon tea.

The service was somewhat slow at times, but we didn't mind. It gave us the chance to savor our delicious meal and enjoy the serene environment.

My only disappointment in visiting the Spirite Lounge was that I didn't have the chance to witness any conflicts over wasting food.

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Slightly hard to find but well worth it, the decor is really fabulous (though rather closed-in and obviously done on the cheap) and I found the staff to be super friendly and it helps that they tend to wear the most outragous outfits they can find. They are actually rather camp.

The food is great, but this place is a bit of a one trick pony. All the meals are in the same vein which makes this a place to go every once in a while and you know more or less what you are going to get. Oddly there tends to be sorbet involved in almost every course.

The featured cocktails are interesting and fun and are chosen (invented?) to compliment the meal.

The most distinctive feature is that if you don't finish your soup, you can't have your main, and likewise if you don't finish your main you can't have any dessert. They do provide smaller portions for those with smaller appetites so it's not such a difficult task after all. This no wasted food policy could grate on some but I think it's great. The waiters also tell you all the ingredients in the meal (in french or english) in case of allergies or dislikes.

Highly recommended for a fun place to eat a tasty meal.

rating star

Food is good
Price is high
Wait staff is fun
Management is rude
Food lacks variety - always the same soup, crêpe, and chocolate cake

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