What makes Osteria Venti sing is the chef’s true passion for integrating the interesting old recipes from his Italian family and from Italy’s twenty regional traditions into his dishes. His objective: offering Montreal the depth and richness of Italy in a rustic and relaxed (yet fairly boisterous) environment. It’s an Osteria, after all.
Here, all the pasta is handmade, even the spaghetti. So no “al-dente” pasta on the menu, only fresh, soft and silky pasta, served with simple yet unexpected seasonal sauces. I personally fell in love with the Fontina-filled pasta with pistachio sauce, which was like having a creamy cloud burst in your mouth. The secret of this northern Italian recipe from Valle d’Aosta lies in the cheese: the Fontina is drenched in milk for 24 hours with a little butter, making it infinitely creamier.
As a traditional Osteria, you will find homemade lip-smacking salumi, luscious crostini, antipasti, primi piatti, secondi and contorni sections. The restaurant is an open-concept kitchen; my preferred seat is at the kitchen bar, where you can see all the action. The menu is seasonal, with only the freshest of ingredients. Venti is one of the few restaurants that will serve you fresh pea raviolis in spring and mouth-watering beets and poppy seed pasta in the fall.
Chef Michele pushes the seasonal concept into the dessert service. If you’re lucky enough to be there in March, ask for his zeppole. As a trained pastry chef, his love for well-made desserts is a treat for sweet-seeking people like me. I cannot say how many times I whispered “this is the best I ever had”! His tiramisu, caprese cake, ricotta pie and cannoli are definitely worth every calorie.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the restaurant is open for lunch on weekdays from Tuesday to Friday, offering a great alternative in Old Montreal. So if you’re looking for a fun dining experience, in a relaxed atmosphere, where you can chat and laugh with your friends while eating delicious fresh quality Italian food… there’s no better place in Montreal than Osteria Venti.
Osteria Venti, 372 St-Paul West, (514) 284-0445
Andrea Doucet Donida is a web marketer in the gastronomy field and is also an avid food-blogger in both English and French and has founded the very first Montreal and Quebec association of Food Bloggers: BBQc.
Photos: Andrea Doucet Donida