Restaurant Review-Osteria Venti (Montreal, Canada)
Osteria Venti was another restaurant that my Montreal guidebook recommended and it did not disappoint. Our first night’s meal at Bonaparte was “old world French” and so for our second night there, I wanted the complete opposite of dining experiences and Osteria Venti fulfilled that requirement perfectly.
Like many restaurants in Old Montreal, O.V. is located in a centuries’ old refurbished building which successfully combines old with new. As its website notes, it features an “innovative twist on Italian regional cuisine” and its name of Venti refers to Italy’s 20 regions and the restaurant’s attempts to celebrate each one.
O.V. offered a myriad of options on its menu which is broken down into the following components-Italian cheeses (you can order them by the gram, $7 per gram), crostini, antipasti, tagliere (basically cold cuts), primi (first courses), pietanzane (main courses), contorni (sides), and of course, dolci (dessert).
While I was intrigued by the cheese by the gram option, we ended up splitting an order of the homemade mozzarella bread and artichoke dip ($7). You can never go wrong with ordering something with artichokes, but the mozzarella bread was equally good.
Being an Italian restaurant, they also brought out a basket of breads, a couple of which our waitress noted were made in-house along with olive oil for dipping.
For my entree I went with one of the evening’s specials, cannelloni stuffed with meat. I semi-refuse to make cannelloni myself, as without a piping bag it’s next to impossible and virtually a PIA to do so so. Hence when I eat out and they’re on the menu I often get them. They were delicious and not too cheesy, with the meat stuffing definitely giving them a distinctive taste.
D went for the half Cornish hen marinated with fresh chili, N’duja sausage and garlic and served with Swiss chard ($23). His dish took a bit longer to prepare and although we weren’t told it would take longer, our waitress apologized for this and brought out a plate of complimentary gnocchi. As we had no evening plans after our meal and certainly weren’t starving with all the food we had already eaten, the gnocchi was not needed but a thoughtful touch all the same.
To accompany his hen, D ordered a side of charred Brussel sprouts ($7), which like many of the dishes at O.V. was huge. He left some behind on his plate even though he had already eaten a ton.
While I would have loved to dig into some of their highly touted tiramisu ($6), after all I had already eaten, I knew that adding anything more sweet and decadent into my stomach would make me go from comfortably stuffed to miserably stuffed.
D did try two Italian beers during the meal, both of which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Food and service was terrific as was the ambiance. While obviously D and I comprised the tourist demographic, there also seemed to be a lot of locals dining there. When in a new city, it’s always a good sign as to the restaurant’s popularity if the natives are there too. My only critique of the restaurant was the noise. It was extremely hard to hear at times as voices from neighboring tables definitely carried with what seemed one person being louder than the next in order to make themselves heard. Just don’t go expecting a quiet and intimate meal because that it’s not. Otherwise, I loved it.
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