By YP Contributor

Leading European chef brings a taste of home to Montreal

Oleg Scobiola spent 19 years as a chef in Moldova, routinely invited to prepare elaborate meals at such illustrious venues as the Russian embassy. In search of greater security and stability for his family, he immigrated to Canada. Despite his best efforts and his impressive credentials, he struggled to find work. So he did what any expert chef would do: he went into business for himself.

Out to create a place that would allow locals to discover Russian and Eastern European cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere, he opened Ermitage in 1998 on a stretch of Queen Mary Street. For 14 years, Ermitage delighted locals and Europeans alike with authentic old-country fare.

When his lease was up, the building owner decided the structure would be better off as condominiums, and Ermitage was forced to relocate. Oleg found a new space not far away and, after extensive renovations, it was rechristened Ermitage. “We found this space and made major renovations,” says Oleg. “We changed everything to create a nice inviting space to offer a taste of Eastern Europe.” Now, this still popular restaurant inhabits a lavish space not far away on Côte-Des-Neiges Street.

Ermitage delights locals and Europeans alike with authentic old-country fare. - Oleg Scobiola, owner

Fine dining from the old-country at its best

Ermitage pays tribute to the renowned Ermitage restaurant in Moscow where legend has it the famous Russian salad was invented by a visiting French chef. When you step through the doors at Ermitage, expect to embark on a journey through the best of Russian culinary arts.

The menu presents each dish in French, English and Russian. Locals love the beef stroganoff and the chicken Kiev, both dishes that have come to signify Russian cuisine around the world. “I recommend the Menu Dégustation, which presents a taste of some of Eastern Europe's most celebrated dishes,” says Oleg. Salmon caviar are served alongside blini, a type of pancake served with caviar and sour cream, before meat and mushroom-filled. Next arrives your choice of main dish, such as Wapiti steak with port sauce or grilled lamb chops with porcini Madeira sauce.

The convenient lunch menu features a choice of soup, main dish, chef salad and a coffee, espresso or tea. If you've come for something to celebrate, a special banquet menu is always available for groups and special events.

One-of-a-kind events and live russian music

At any given time of year, the tables here fill for special themed dinners. One such event invited patrons to enjoy a recreation of the last meal served aboard the titanic, encircled by Titanic-themed décor.

Friday and Saturday evenings feature live classical music. A violinist and live singer will grace your ears with Russian tunes while you dine in an intimate candlelit atmosphere. “The candlelit tables and music make it a very romantic atmosphere,” says Oleg.

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