Don’t worry, everyone has awkward Christmas dinners. Photo via Flickr
The festive season is in full swing and that means parties, dinners and plenty of drinks — but for those who want to do something spontaneous or who are a little late on the organizational train, figuring out a restaurant to go to or nabbing a last-minute reservation can put a real damper on your holiday cheer. But fear not, friends, because here are some fail-safe ideas that will guarantee good, cheap food and loads of fun.
Jardin de Panos
This place is one of my favourites for a solid, inexpensive BYOB Greek meal. It’s perfect for parties because there are two floors with about four different rooms to handle the volume; plus, the atmosphere is warm and the service is quick and efficient. Panos is probably the best bet for last-minute get-togethers when you realize that you might be more than six or eight people. Opa!
521 Duluth E.
Nothing says party like a little Indian spice, and the guys at Bombay Mahal know how to turn up the heat. With a second room mainly for groups, the atmosphere is best described as rowdy yet controlled chaos. Plenty of dishes are available to please both vegetarians and meat eaters alike, and they even have a $20 all-you-can-eat menu where they serve you so much food, I guarantee you’ll tell them to stop. Did I mention it’s BYOB? Bring it.
1001 Jean-Talon W.
Here’s an idea: Why not have all your friends over to your place and get a bunch of cheap, delicious Thai food delivered to your home? Chak Wow, Mile End’s new answer to authentic Thai, offers a changing selection of dishes that you pre-order through their Facebook page, and then it magically appears the next day at your door. With nothing over $10 and a solid following of growing fans, it’s time to believe the hype and celebrate the holiday, Southeast Asia-styles.
Everyone in this city has a favourite place for roast chicken but I have to say, old Chalet BBQ is really the tits. With two party rooms and a pretty substantial dining area, chances are, if you can make the trek to this NDG poultry haven, you’ll get your bird. The menu, printed on the placemat, is pretty straight-up, and a meal with drinks will cost you less than $20. If you sweet-talk the waitresses, you might get extra gravy — but do yourself a favour and stay away from the house wine.
5456 Sherbrooke W.
Chinese food is the perfect solution to dining out woes, and this Sichuan restaurant’s name pretty much says it all. With big, round tables so you can actually see (and hear) all your friends, Délicieux Xiang is my favourite Chinatown spot for quality, authenticity and food that doesn’t give you a crazy-ass MSG headache as soon as you walk out the door.
1084 St-Laurent ■