Every place – bar, restaurant, whatever – has a raison d’être. A mission statement, if you will. Focusing on different parts of the “going out” experience essentially differentiates one place from the next. A venue’s vibe, created by the confluence of many different factors – like décor, price, music, staff and uniforms, among other things – can be anything from classic to avant-garde or pretentious to relaxed. When you go somewhere, you have to be in the mood for what’s on the table.
It might seem obvious, but to many it’s not. Just as you don’t go to Joe Beef when you’re worried about fitting into your Hervé Léger dress, you don’t go to Velvet on a Saturday night to have a tête-à-tête with your BFF. In the same vein, you can’t be upset at Toqué for being a little stuffy, and you can’t be annoyed at Cavalli for being pretentious – these are carefully crafted restaurant personalities. If that’s not what you’re looking for on a particular night, go elsewhere.
I do my best to rate a restaurant/bar on whatever idea they’re trying to sell. To let you know whether I think they’ve succeeded in what they’ve set out to do. I’ve done all kinds of scenes and I love them (almost) all, so I can judge.
On that note – Cavalli is what it is. It’s pretentious, there’s no doubt about it. But if you’re downtown on a Thursday night, have had a few 5à7 (lets be honest, 5à9) drinks and aren’t sure where to continue the party, Cavalli is the place to go. As long as you can play along with clientele, the service, the atmosphere… And flirt shamelessly.
On Thursday nights, the place is buzzing. It’s filled with mostly trendy male and female business types that work in the area and like to party hardy to level out their hard week of work. Later on, the partiers join the scene. As do the escorts. Waitresses are really good-looking and they’re decent at their job. Especially, of course, when you offer them some Veuve.
The music is a fun mix of everything, and although pretty pricy, the food is good. The grilled octopus, which I ordered as a late night snack, was definitely satisfying. Decently large and accompanied by Mediterranean flavours such as heirloom tomatoes, roasted eggplant hummus, chickpeas, black olives, and feta cheese, it was tender and tasty, although I would have liked to taste more of the “grilled”.
In all, there’s something sexy about Thursday nights at Cavalli – maybe it’s the Miami-meets-Montreal pink glow or the fact that it’s a cross between a restaurant and a (pretty cool) nightclub. Or the fact that the place draws in a good-looking crowd that wants to see and be seen, and isn’t ashamed of doing it confidently.
Food 9/10, Atmosphere (dontbeintimidated) 8.5/10, Pretty people (older crowd) 9/10, Music 8/10, Service 8/10.