March 27, 2012

Restaurant review: Osteria Venti is my new Italian lover

The thing about being obsessed with food and traveling is that I become extremely picky when it comes to certain types of food. Remember when I ate that quiche in Paris at Angela's? Yeah, I cannot eat quiche anymore unless it's from Gascogne or some similar amazing bakery. This is what happens when you eat the best local food.

Inside the restaurant (website pic)
Did you know that my favorite country in the world is Italy? Yes it is! I have been there a few times, went around the whole country on a tour when I was 15 years old and during the years after, I have stayed in villages (we were once in a villa overlooking Tuscany...beautiful) and even stayed in an apartment in Rome near the Piramide metro station. Furthermore, when it comes to Italian food...I've had food that was beyond heavenly and gained about 5 pounds each time I went. This is why when I am back in Montreal, I have a lot of trouble accepting Italian food that is not authentic: Up to now, I've only appreciated the food at Graziella and Da Emma. Thankfully, I just discoverd this restaurant with food that made me experience multiple foodgasms (see definition on the right of the blog). I mean, just the wine was like WHOA so imagine the food.

The restaurant

Osteria Venti is located in the heart of the Old Port and I was quickly attracted by its cozy decor. Brick walls and dimmed lights automatically made me feel warm and at home...just like in Italy :) I loved how the wine selection of the night and the deserts were written on a chalkboard. Their menu is more about QUALITY than about QUANTITY, which is something you do not find often in Montreal with the endless menu pages of many popular restaurants. This particular menu is consisted of different items showcasing regional Italian dishes at their best, with a maximum of 5 well selected choices per course.

The entrance (website pic)

Crostini & Antipasti

I started with a "Baccala mantecato" which is a crostini with salted cod spread (Crostini is Italian for "Little Toast). In comparison to your usual crostini, the bread was not that crunchy but it was actually a good thing, in my opinion. I cannot even find the worlds to describe the was impeccable and not too much; a perfect start. Afterwards, we had the braised octopus with fennel and capers "Insalata Di Polipo". This delicious dish reminded me a lot of the South of Italy where they eat a lot of yummy seafood. By the way, I said "we" but actually, I did not order this. My friend did but I ate most of it...sorry! I couldn't help it: The tangy octupus tasted way too good.  

My crostini

The yummy octopus


As a Primi, I ordered the
"Garganelli con gamberi, arugula e zefferano" which is garganelli pasta with shrimp, arugula (I LOVE arugula) and rich saffron sauce. I did not know what to expect out of this plate but I almost fell out of my chair after the first was completely exquisite! They put just enough shrimp (don't you hate when you have to LOOK for your shrimp in a meal?) and the arugula, an Italian herb from the mustard family, added just the right amount of bitterness to this creamy dish.

Creamy shrimp pasta


I chose the Porchetta as the main dish and I will have to retain my emotions while I write about it...Okay *sigh*. I simply read "suckling pig shoulder, fennel seeds and pepperoncino" on the menu and since they did not have ossobuco (my favorite Italian dish) and was not in the mood for fish, chicken or veal, I asked our waitress for the description, especially because I am not the biggest fan of fennel. Hear this: They roll up the pork shoulder in spices, put it in a plastic bag and cook it for 24 hours. Did you read this??? This meat marinates and cooks for 24h. Wow. After that, they remove it from the plastic bag, cut it, grill it and then, brush  it with vino cotto (cooked wine) before serving it. If this is not close to a perfect piece of pork, I don't know what is! Each bite was a delight, a little moment in paradise. Seems like the pig they used was one that happily died in his sleep after getting a massage as the meat was extremely tender and the fat around it was crucial to its striking taste. It was so good. I could not even concentrate. I did not see anyone around me. It was just me and the pork. Seriously! I could have this dish over and over again. Any day. I am drooling just thinking about it. 

The pork shoulder. Omg. 


Although I was completely full and tipsy with red wine, I still ordered a desert, or "Dolci" as the Italians would say. It was love at first sight with the "Torta Caprese", a chocolate & almond tart resembling a fancy brownie. Not too big, not too was superb. The chocolate just melted in your mouth...

Torta Caprese

So basically...

I need to go back and taste every single thing they have on their menu. This is by far the most satisfying Italian restaurant I've been to in Montreal. The service was excellent, the prices beyond reasonable and it is well located in the heart of the Old Port, near the financial district. Please, do youself a favor and try it! I promise you will not regret! But don't go if you are on a diet or you'll have to start all over again, that is for would be worth it though.

Osteria Venti
372 St-Paul Ouest
Montreal (Quebec)
H2Y 2A6
Very important to RSVP! (514) 284 0445
Click here to visit their website! You can also reserve your table online.


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