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Va-et-vient (Café le)
3706 Notre-Dame Ouest (near Lionel-Groulx Métro)

Tel. 940-2330
It was after 10 and we were looking for a place to eat around the Atwater Market. Prime rib at Magnan's seemed too heavy for that hour. We drove over to Sans Menu, a reliable mid-range French restaurant which was closed by 10. Next door, however, was a place I had passed by several times without thinking—Va-et-vient. There was a jazz quintet inside working on some decent standards, a menu board on the door with veal and pasta specials. We walked in an within a few minutes had a glass of house red and a large draft of Griffon ale. Platters of nachos and pizza were streaming by to other tables. We settled on something labeled an Andalusian salad: lots of greens, hot sausage and salsa—a weird combination that worked at that hour and a decent pasta with a sauce that was muddied with too many ingredients: artichokes, spinach, tomato—whoa—let's jes’ slow down a little and get back to the basics. But for $7 and $8 main course dishes that are filling and tasty, it's hard to complain . . .

The menu is strong on munchies: sandwiches, pizza, large dishes of pastas and salads with a few main courses thrown in. The food was good without being exceptional. There is a decent bar with an espresso machine. I could see lingering over a decent cigar here. It is a good, reliable place to enter during a storm. The music changes nightly. We were lucky with the jazz. Sometimes it's Irish, sometimes roadhouse funk, once or twice a month a Gypsy group called La Chango Family is around. There’s no admission charge but $5 for the band is suggested.

This place is a lot of fun and the staff is friendly and accommodating to special requests. Lots of smoke, however, and poor ventilation. It should be wonderful in summer when the windows open and the music beats its way to the street.

The restaurant is open roughly from 11 AM to 11 PM and the kitchen until nearly then. —
Reviewed by Barry Lazar

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