Infusing her food with love and passion, Montreal's Marissa Leon-John has made it her mission to share delicious food in great atmospheres with all types of people.
In 2018, following her stint on MasterChef Canada season 5, Leon-John had the opportunity to share her food love as the head chef for Fierté MTL. Since first appearing on the series, her private dining business has found much success in Montreal and beyond. Looking further down the road, she hopes to run an eatery in St. Lucia.
The talented cook has to put those pipe dreams aside for now, though, as she remains focused in the heated competition that is MasterChef Canada: Back To Win (airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV).
Recently, Leon-John took some time to sit down and dish on her favourite places for eats and drinks around Montreal.
Regine Café is my number one spot for breakfast or brunch in the city. Everything about this restaurant makes you feel like you’re having a meal with your favourite bougie French aunty. Sweet and savoury dishes are my absolute favourite so their Sucré Salé ("sweet and salty") is my go-to. It features their signature brioche French toast topped with pulled ham, an egg, aged cheddar cheese and homemade maple sugar cream.
You might need a nap afterwards, but I guarantee you’ll have the sweetest (or saltiest) dreams!
Falafel Yoni in the Mile End is my jam! There are only a few items on the menu and every single one of them is magic. The classic spicy falafel pita is what I keep going back for. Everything inside is made fresh in-house and the pita is literally overflowing with falafel and all the fixings.
Insider tip: ask for a little amba (pickled mango sauce) on anything you order. You can thank me later.
[I love the] lamb neck cavatelli at Le Bremner. This dish gives me all the feels. It’s rich and warm and hearty and every bite feels like you’re giving yourself a hug. I honestly can’t say much else about this dish–it is damn near perfection.
I catch myself daydreaming about going to Hanzo for cocktails (and snacks) with friends.
Fun fact: Kill Bill is one of my favourite movies. When you walk into Hanzo, it’s like you’ve stepped into a scene from the film. You’ll also recognize the names of key characters on the drink menu. My number one is the Gogo Yubari – it is a beautifully balanced cocktail made with calvados, wintergreen, alder pepper, togarashi wine, lemon.
Hanzo will definitely be one of the first places I visit when it is safe to do so again!