In Montreal’s Old Port, a Transportive Experience Awaits at Hayat

Ivy Studios channeled the beauty of the Syrian desert for the color-rich interiors of chef Joseph Awad’s new Middle Eastern restaurant.

Canadian architecture and interiors firm Ivy Studio is known for creating color-rich spaces that radiate both warmth and indisputable style. At Hayat, a new Middle Eastern restaurant overseen by chef Joseph Awad, the main point of inspiration was the beauty of Syria’s deserts. Striated marble is something of a studio signature for Ivy, and at Hayat its earthy hues of orange, taupe, black, and maroon evoke the play of sun and moonlight across the desert. Exposed stone walls impart a sense of place and time rooted in the history of the surrounding Old Port neighborhood.

On the menu, too, chef Awad—an alumnus of Momofuku, Massimo Bottura, and more—evokes the cuisines of Syria and Lebanon. His menu’s mix of familiar staples, like the hummus and baba ganoush, or short ribs and Hayat fries seasoned with aleppo pepper, are complemented by inventive creations like vegetarian-friendly Impossible meat dumplings, as well as spicy and hearty mains. Top it all off with a Rose Garden cocktail of gin, lime, grapefruit, and rosewater—we’ll cheers to that.

Photography by Alex Lesage. 

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