By Alyssa De Rosa –mtltimes.ca
The Main is saturated with restaurants, cafés, and clubs, but no supper club does it quite like Buonanotte does. Buonanotte first opened its doors back in 1991, bringing a unique taste and charm to Montreal’s already established restaurant market. This St-Laurent blvd. staple became well known quickly because of its bottle service and great DJ’s – lighting up the city’s nightlife and creating a demand for classy, chic, locations where it’s okay to enjoy a well-cooked meal followed by a night of dancing and liquid courage. Now, Buonanotte has a new chef who’s creating fresh dishes for their summer menu and kicking the restaurant portion of the location up a notch.
It was a Thursday evening and the restaurant already had a couple businessmen scattered around the place sipping on drinks and making small talk. The media gang slowly trickled in as we were seated by the large windows at the right side of the restaurant for a media tasting. All of us foodies elated, anticipating what 29-year-old Chef Marco Bertoldini had in store for us. He came to greet the table once we were all seated and explained briefly what the menu would consist of – some summer dishes as well as classics made to share – tapas style.
We began by tasting their homemade mortadella topped with slices of soft cheese. The mortadella was on point – light, airy, and not too oily which is usually a problem with store-bought cold cuts. After he teased our stomachs with a little pork, some light and fresh salads graced the table. My favorite salad – and I think the opinion at the table was unanimous was the insalata di ricotta – homemade ricotta, frisée lettuce, compressed squash, pine nuts, pomegranate, mint in an orange and thyme dressing. Not being a big fan of ricotta – yes, I know, as an Italian that’s just shameful, this one however, was perfect. Light, creamy in texture with just the right amount of sweetness. It worked very nicely with the pomegranate and pine nuts.
Next, it was time for the carbs – pizza and pasta anyone? I have very strong opinions on who makes the best pizza in the city. Let me tell you, this one is very close. The crust was just the way I liked it – thin and crispy. Chef Marco spoiled us with two pizzas – a white one with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil and thin slices of pork as well as the classic Margherita – tomato sauce, fior di latte and basil. As for the pasta, probably one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in a restaurant in a while. It was interesting and something none of us had ever tasted before. A white pasta with sausage, some hot pepper and fiddleheads – a harvested part of a baby fern plant. Definitely had to Google that one while I was eating!
The food didn’t end there – though many of us were stuffed by that point. As the last savory dish of the meal, we had the pleasure of tasting the “Butcher’s platter” with a variety of prosciutto, mortadella, raw sausage, capicollo, olives, pickled eggplants “melanzane” and roasted, pickled artichokes.
Last but not least, it was time for dessert! They sent out these chocolate tartelettes with a dollop of ice cream and nuts on top. They were warm, gooey and chocolatey – the way chocolate dessert should be. There was also my favorite summer ice cream – granita – also known as Italian ice. More of a sorbet than an ice cream, granita is usually lemon in flavor and can be eaten with just about anything. Chef Marco decided to use some sort of cookie crumble as a base topped with granita. One word – heaven.
After a three-course meal there was not much left to do but go home and nap, which is what I did. All in all, the food at Buonanotte is definitely fresh – no bottled ingredients here. The staff is friendly, the week-ends are always busy with people and celebrities definitely make their way to this place time and time again. Whether you want to stop by for a cocktail and an appetizer, enjoy a meal with friends or spend a Saturday night, Buonanotte is definitely one of those versatile places in the city.