Restaurant EVOO
By YP Contributor

Fine Dining, But Casual

"What we’re aiming for is a high quality, fine dining experience in a relaxed, neighbourhoody ambiance," explains Peter Saunders, one of the three partners behind EVOO, a Saint-Henri culinary staple.

Having put together an expertly crafted mix of French cuisine, Irish traditions and Mediterranean influences, it is no wonder the restaurant quickly attracted diners from all over town. The house rules are simple, yet effective: Fresh, seasonal cuisine; ingredients sourced from local producers; and a friendly vibe appreciated by its patrons.

It’s the three of us running the business and making sure the highest standards are met. Our team is as devoted as we are, and a great, motivated team delivers the best in this industry. - Peter Saunders, co-owner
EVOO - cuisine française, cuisine irlandaise, cuisine méditerranéenne

When Great Minds Meet

Peter landed in Montreal in 2008. A former chef de partie at Dublin’s Michelin star restaurant L’Écrivain, he found work at the legendary DNA. There he worked alongside Claudie Harvey and Sophie Ouellet, his fellow co-owners at EVOO. "That’s really how we formed our business relationship, and of course our friendship," Saunders adds.

Later, as Sophie left for Australia and Claudie flew down to Jamaica, both to hone their skills, Peter continued to find success on the Montreal food scene. The trio reunited in 2012, when they laid the foundations for their first self-owned restaurant.

"It’s a very competitive business. You have to work hard, be versatile and give it your all; it becomes your life," Peter explains. "That’s why we’re keeping our team small; so we can control the end product and the experience better. Sophie and I, we’re in the kitchen all the time, preparing and cooking everything from bread to mascarpone and ricotta cheese. Two other cooks help us, especially for brunches. Front of house is smaller again, with Claudie serving as waitress, Maitre D, sommelier and receptionist."

On busier days, Claudie counts on the help of another server and her bus-girl ― mostly during the weekend’s very popular brunches. "It’s really the three of us running the business and making sure the highest standards are met. Our team is as devoted as we are, and a great, motivated team delivers the best in this industry," says Peter.

EVOO - cuisine française, cuisine irlandaise, cuisine méditerranéenne

It’s All About the Human Touch

"Being an entrepreneur in this industry is such hard work," says Peter. "One of the first things I realized is you have to get people to know that the food served at your restaurant is consistently good so they will come back."

Peter credits EVOO’s success to the privileged relationships it maintains with its providers and clients.

"The industry changes so fast, so in order to make a name for yourself you really have to bet on genuine relationships. To me, the best reward is when I go to a table and talk with the clients, get to know and recognize them. When they tell me their meal and the service was great, it makes it all worthwhile. Some of our regulars even bring us vegetables from their gardens so that we can incorporate them in our menus. That’s really the best reward there is."

EVOO - cuisine française, cuisine irlandaise, cuisine méditerranéenne
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