Italian restaurants, cafés and bakeries in [Montreal] [St. Léonard] [Little Italy]

I am starting a list of places worth checking out, as well as places I’d like to check out.

Restaurants that are often recommended include Impasto, and Pizzeria Gema.

A Bakery/ Patisserie known for Sicilian specialties:
https://www.alaticaserta.com/

Cafés

Mile End

St Léonard

https://www.cafemilano.ca/

Parc Ave and Westmount locations

http://www.cafegentile.ca/our-story/#

We were at the Notre Dame Basilica yesterday evening, so we reserved around the corner at Quattro, one of the Italian places written up by Eater (among others) above. It was very busy, with several large tables & the 3 staff (owner? plus waitress plus one helper) ran around and very efficiently got everyone wine, food and attentive service throughout. Impressive. We ordered red wines by the glass and neither my wife’s nor mine was more than okay. The food was good, nothing exceptional. The burrata was fresh, as were the tomatoes & arugula it was served with. The minnestone soup was similarly tasty, with fresh vegetables and good broth. My wife’s veal scallopine and my tile fish were also well prepared. No complaints. But, as I said elsewhere, we get so much excellent Italian food at home that its hard for us to get excited about a place where everything is done appropriately with good ingredients, but where there’s nothing making it noteworthy either. The bill, with tip, was about CA$180. Maybe a little high, but reasonable. I know this comes off as a negative review, but I really wouldnt tell anyone not to go. It’s fine. Really.

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Thanks for posting a review. Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay!

I wasn’t too happy with some places recommended by Eater when I visited Detroit in 2018 and Hawaii in 2019.

In Montréal, Tastet is a better online resource, I think! https://tastet.ca/en/

Antonietta looks promising

https://instagram.com/antonietta.mtl

Eater.com is for trendy “of the moment” places, mostly where their writers have connections. In NYC, we joke that its a good resource for finding out what’s opening/closing, but not what’s in business. However, its always good to keep up with what’s happening.

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It might depend on location. It seemed like the recommended places in Detroit were compiled by 20somethings who focus on what looks good, rather than what tastes hppd. My Chowhound friend and I went to a dozen places over a weekend in Detroit. We went off the beaten track to try this African roast chicken that was supposed to be unbelievably juicy. Nice people running the place, but but the chicken was dry. Drier than most roast or rotisserie chickens I’ve ever had at a restaurant or even a grocery store. At a hip brunch spot, we ordered chicken and waffles, which were pretty good, but the fried chicken was fried in oil that wasn’t hot enough. In a city like Detroit, how could a very popular brunch spot not have their frying perfected?

It seemed like whoever was choosing the Detroit hot list for Eater didn’t have too much experience eating.

The one the thing that sometimes happens in Montréal, is that the English language food sites are sometimes dominated by English speakers (especially McGill Students), who might not be checking out the new places being opened by non-Anglos in neighbourhoods further from downtown/ St Laurent/ Little Burgundy, etc

Hey Steve!

Recommending an italian restaurant to someone living in New-York feels a bit like recommending a chinese restaurant to someone living in Shanghai but hey - if you are looking for a few more recs here’s what I think

Old school classics:

Historical high end places. If you know any italians you are probably able to safely bring them there. One of my former boss (Italian) has Da Emma as a safe space - he goes in the kitchen and gets yelled at by the cook and loves it.

Da Emma - tried it once, not my favorite but I’m probably not italian enough.

Graziella

When you want italian and you don’t want to mess it up - classic and safe

The new school of cool

Impasto

Michele Forgione was a legend before launching impasto. When he teamed up with one of italy’s favorite sons (Stephano Faita) it was a recipe for success. Simply enough - if you know your classics in Mtl you go to Da Emma or Gaziella, if you know your modern italian you go to Nora Gray or Impasto.

Le Serpent

Worthy of mention by being in the fantastic “Club Chasse & Pêche” familly. Good food by ppl that cares.

The upstart:

Bar Bara - I’ve never been but I’ve ordered from them a million times during covid. Their meatballs rocks and their homemade gnocchi are insane. The only thing more insane than their gnocchi is that they stopped doing them and that the place somehow closes at 8pm (what??). It takes balls to open a place during covid and I wish they get enough clients to open later haha.

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Thanks. For what its worth, friends at home recommended Gatto Matto (in Laval) to us for a good, basic Italian dinner. Dont think we’re going to make it there, but figure I might as well spread secondhand info.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr