By: Elizabeth Tomaras – mtltimes.ca
On a sleepy Tuesday evening in the Old Port, people were scarce. It was nice to see the city’s famous tourist attraction without the tourists. It was also the perfect night to try a new restaurant without having to deal with crowded quarters or long lineups.
The charm of Al Pizzetta is evident the moment you walk in. The waiter greets diners with buonasera and the red, checkered table cloths pop from the rest of the neutral decor. The stone walls and thin ceiling pipes snaking around the restaurant are typical of an Old Montreal eatery. There’s a bar in the middle of the restaurant, and a wine cellar to the back.
The space is small but long. The back provides a more intimate setting. I’m told lawyers often stop by on their lunch breaks when working at the nearby courthouse. The inside holds 65 to 70 people and, although there is no terrasse yet, it will seat about 15 when opened. Located at the corner of de la Commune, the docks and greenery of the promenade are visible from the inside of the restaurant. Needless to say, they have a great view.
The menu at Al Pizzetta is not too expansive but all the Italian staples are there. Appetizers consist of calamari, fried melted cheeses, bruschetta, and bocconcini with tomatoes. Entrees are divided into pizzas, pasta, meats.
We started off with the bruschetta which was warm and garlicky. The bread that held the tomatoes and herbs was perfectly packed to the brim. It was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside.
As a cheese lover, the caprese salad was an instant favourite. Rings of tomato were topped with slices of bocconcini, with a single caper as a finishing touch. Fresh basil was sprinkled all over the plate, as well as a splash of balsamic vinegar.
As for the entrees, we couldn’t have asked for anything better. The pasta menu has four different sauces (napolitana, bolognese, alfredo, and vegetarian) and you can choose which pasta you’d like between penne, spaghetti, and fettucini. I went with the penne napolitana. The sauce was tasty and thick; no excess oil, nor was it too watery.
My dining partner chose the steak with creamy mushroom sauce. The plate came with a side of fries and green salad. Although it was covered in sauce, the steak’s flavours came through. It did not overpower but simply enhance the taste of the meat.
We ended our meal with a traditional Italian delicacy — a tiramisu. A velvety cream enveloped the cookie-coated bottom. It wasn’t too heavy either which is common with rich desserts.
Al Pizzetta is a fantastic place for a date night, get together, or just an excuse to get out of the house. It has only been opened for a month, so make your way there before the masses find this darling restaurant.
Al Pizzetta is located at 39 de la Commune Est.