Café Gentile Westmount – When it comes to writing about Café Gentile, I don’t know where to begin. I have so many wonderful things to say that I am worried that I will run out of superlatives to give the exceptional food at this restaurant its due. At the end of the meal, I decided that this was going to be my new favourite restaurant, and where I would plan to enjoy many dinners.
First, a little history about the origins of Cafe Gentile and the ambitious and talented family which owns it. The Gentile family immigrated to Canada from Sicily in 1954. Ignazio, the father, and his younger son Anthony opened the original Cafe Gentile in Parc extension. It is recognized as an important cultural element in the history of Montreal, since it demonstrates how talent and honest hard work is how many newly-arrived families made a well-deserved place for themselves in this city. It is at this location that the family-run business, offering authentic Sicilian dishes based on grandmother Teresa’s recipes, became well-known and appreciated by Montrealers. It is still running today, and is worth a visit, not only for its excellent food and coffee, but because of its authentic retro-quirky vibe.
Anna-Maria, Paolo and Anthony Gentile have taken the reigns of this family-run business, and although the Westmount location opened only a year ago, it is has already been successfully adopted by the neighbourhood.
It was just the two of us, my daughter (and photographer) Elena and I, and we arrived at around 6:30 in the evening. Although there is an ample terrasse, we chose to sit inside because the lighting is usually better for photo taking, and also because we get to see the restaurant team at work.
The decor at Café Gentile is tasteful, contemporary and current. There is leather-upholstered seating along the wall, which allows for comfortable tÃªte-Ã -tÃªtes, marble tabletops and discreet lighting, as well as a clean-cut design vibe which makes for a space that doesn’t take over, and rightfully puts the spotlight on the food. The restaurant was almost full while we were there, and yet we were able to have a conversation without yelling at each other, and this is not often the case in many venues.
Our host and the manager for the evening was Guiseppe. He shared his knowledge of the origin and composition of the menu items, which are mostly recipes which belonged to the family grandmother, Teresa. I can now say, after having eating here, the world would be a happier place if we all had a Nonna Teresa cooking meals for us. Each dish seems to have been given the necessary time and care of preparation, as if it were made for beloved grandchildren.
Guiseppe started us off with a homemade olive oil starter. The olive oil, which can also be purchased to take home, is produced at and imported from the family-owned farm in Sicily. It is more than difficult to find this level of quality olive oil in Montreal. It had a firs