Top 5 Italian Restaurants in Quebec, Canada
Risotto. Tortellini. Rigatoni. Gnocchi. As one of the most popular cuisines in the world, it’s easy for most of us to instantly conjure up images of Italian food in our minds. Immediately we think of homemade pasta, ripe tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Or maybe a juicy Florentine-style steak, bowl of creamy fettuccine alfredo, or hot Friday-night pizza comes to your mind.
Whatever the case, if you’re in Québec and craving Italian right now, there are a bunch of great restaurant options there.
It’s hard not to be charmed by the warm, cozy atmosphere when you step through the door of the Portofino Italian Bistro. Proudly located in historic old Québec, the restaurant’s stone building dates back to 1760. Serving both locals and tourists alike, Portofino is known for its fresh ingredients, homemade pasta, and amazing desserts. (Personally, I’m dying to try its duck risotto! Where else can you get that?) To start your meal, Portofino provides complimentary bread with an herb/olive oil blend, which is always a nice touch. On top of all that, online reviewers gush about Portofino’s attentive and friendly service. So whether you’re just visiting old Québec or you live in the area, you should really give Portofino Italian Bistro a try – you won’t regret it!
If you’re in the mood for a romantic Italian meal or just one that’s on the fancier side, then you might want to visit Montreal’s Barcola Bistro Audio. Patrons describe the restaurant as “beautifully decorated” and “lovely,” and the food as “incredible” and “authentic.” Barcola stands out from a lot of other eateries by serving a fixed menu that changes daily. It’s also unique because during the day (between 11am and 5pm W-F) the restaurant doubles as a record store where music lovers can grab an Italian coffee and browse. (I don’t know about you, but this excites me because I’m a huge fan of both Italian food and music!) Since Barcola is on the smaller side, if you’re planning to go, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation.
Craving pizza? Then you might want to drop by La Piazzetta Lévis – especially if you’re planning a trip to the nearby L’Anglicane theater or Lido Cinema. Not your typical pizzeria, La Piazzetta serves up the type of classy atmosphere where you can pair a glass of wine with your own personal gourmet pizza. If you have crust preferences, keep in mind that you can choose from thin, focaccia, or vegan cauliflower, and there is a vast selection of toppings and pie types. (Left to my own devices, I’d pick the scallops pizza. Right?! Bouillabaisse sauce, scallops, mozzarella, parmesan, leek, garlic, dill, lemon, and white wine. Sounds interesting and tasty!)
La Bella Italiana is well known for its desserts: cannoli that are overflowing with filling (mmm – this sounds amazing to me!), creamy, cold gelato best savoured while relaxing outside on the restaurant’s large terrace, crème brulee, tiramisu, tartufo… we could easily go on and on. Welcoming yet refined in décor, other notable menu items at La Bella Italiana include the crispy calamari, gnocchi poutine with its braised beef sauce, and the rapini (broccoli rabe) that is mixed with Italian sausage and garlic. Is your mouth watering yet? It should be!
Small and unassuming from the outside, Gualdieri Ristorante sure has some staying power. The Italian eatery has been in business for over 25 years, located across the river from Montreal in Laval. Gualdieri provides authentic Italian food with an excellent wine list and attentive service in a friendly, relaxed setting. (Right now I’m picturing myself with a menu in hand trying to decide between the restaurant’s time-tested and tasty manicotti, lasagna, or ravioli) So if you’re searching for a place to host a private party, meet up with business partners, or to grab a nice family dinner, look no further than Gualdieri Ristorante.