In November 2015, Restaurant Candide opened its doors in Little Burgundy on the ground floor of a church converted into a commercial building. The restaurant offers patrons a pleasant, zen atmosphere, impeccable service and a menu derived mainly from local vegetables, fruits, grains and plants.
The Countryside in the City
Tucked away from the main commercial arteries, Candide’s location is, in chef John Winter Russell’s words, a blessing in disguise: "You really have the sensation of getting out of the city. It's calm." And that is one of John's goals—to offer a country restaurant in the city. The restaurant is small, and deliberately so; it's meant to be a complete experience from arrival to departure. "We aren't looking to demonstrate cooking techniques. We offer perfectly prepared food, without trying to impress," adds the chef. All of the ingredients come from Quebec, the Maritimes and occasionally from Eastern Ontario, but never further. Candide also features seasonal cuisine; in the spring, for example, root vegetables and preserved smoked fish give way to wild greenery.
In Search of El Dorado
The Ontario-born Russell began his career as a chef in Vancouver before relocating to Montreal, where he worked in restaurants like Pastaga and Van Horne. Eventually John got the idea to open his own restaurant. In 2014, he had the fortune of meeting Danielle Bitton, an events management expert who fell under the spell of John's cooking. And so Candide was born. John spent six months scouring the vast metropolis for a perfect location. The goal was clear—they wanted this new restaurant to be around for at least a decade.
Candide is about discovering regional cuisine in a pleasant and rustic environment, all set in bustling Montreal, minutes from the iconic Notre Dame.”
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