Fiorellino – the latest in homemade Italian cooking
By Alyssa De Rosa –mtltimes.ca
Fiorellino snack bar and restaurant opened its doors in mid-Decembrer on la Gauchetière West in the heart of downtown Montreal, offering its customers one of the best pizzas this city has ever tasted. This new Italian coven was brought to life by the Buonanotte Group and is run by head chef Erik Mandracchia who also partly owns another newbie, Porchetta in Little Italy.
At just 28-years-old, Erik brings the best of Italian cooking to hungry customers wanting a taste of authentic food just like Nonna used to make. When you walk in, you notice a very contemporary, open, luminous, and welcoming restaurant with white and wooden accents, making it a perfect stop for friends, family, or business lunches. That’s where the snack bar idea was realized; a place where people can get fresh cold-cuts or quick bites during their lunch breaks. Their rush hour lunches welcome over 100 people almost every day. It’s no surprise, after tasting what these mastermind cooks have to offer.
After hearing only great things and keeping in touch with Erik Mandracchia, I decided to taste a couple things on the menu. The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of mushrooms on their menu, and after speaking with Erik, he explained to me that their menu is a seasonal one. So whenever something is in season, you’re bound to find it in Fiorellino’s concoctions. Because of this, the menu is constantly changing, surprising the palette and offering fresh flavours and ingredients every couple of months.
First things first, the appetizer and the second I noticed there was burrata on the menu, I knew I had to have it. The burrata, served with broccoli, mushrooms and bread was absolutely perfect. For those who have no idea what burrata cheese is, it’s a soft, creamy cheese with barely any flavour, but when presented with the right ingredients and cooked just right, it will become your favourite. The broccoli and mushrooms were perfectly seasoned with garlic and spices, accompanied with crunchy bread sticks that worked well with the creaminess of the burrata. Perfection! Next up, we were surprised with a second appetizer, courtesy of the brilliant chef Erik. He served us the insalata di funghi crudi which is a raw mushroom salad served with parmigiano cheese and gremolata. This appetizer is an explosion of flavour. The shaved oyster mushrooms were accompanied with cheese, dried raisins, and drizzled with olive oil. I had never tasted anything like this before. As for the main dishes, we ordered the fettuccine with garlic and mushrooms and the Formaggio di Capra pizza with sausage, roasted red peppers and goat cheese.
The linguini was cooked just the way I like them, and the way everyone should be eating pasta, al dente. The mountain of mushrooms that topped that gorgeous, yellow linguini were meaty and packed with flavour. The sauce had a bit of tanginess to it, which added dimension to the dish. Finally, the pizza. I’ve tried almost every pizza in Little Italy and for the longest time Bottega was always my favourite. After tasting Fiorellino’s thin crust, wood-oven burned pizza, I have to admit that they are giving restaurants across the city a run for their money. The tomato sauce is incredible. Simple ingredients and the right amount of consistency. As for the toppings, nothing makes my stomach happier than homemade sausage and goat cheese. The pizza was topped with both mozzarella and goat cheese, adding both simple and tangy flavours. The crust is perfect. Thin, crispy, fluffy and delicious. What more can you ask for?
Fiorellino is open 7 days a week, offering their clients the best in Italian dining. Whether you want to grab a pizza, a glass of wine and an appetizer or sample their desserts, I definitely recommend this new gem in town.
Address: 470 de la Gauchetiere Ouest.