A couple weeks ago we realized that we still hadn't reviewed an Italian restaurant. For our last review of the year, we decided to rectify this situation, which proved a little tricky, as many of the more established, older addresses were closed for the holidays. We knew we could count on BEVO as a last-minute option. Given its tourist-magnet location, it would HAVE to be open.
BEVO's interior is a hodgepodge of styles. Old meets new in this spacious two-storey restaurant that features a multitude of seating arrangements, from regular and bar-height tables to suspended pod chairs. As for the crowd, we spotted everybody from tourists to local yuppies, young to old, singles to families… all enjoying food to the background lounge music.
The menu is broken down into four sections: antipasti, primi, secondi and pizze. We decided to sample one item from each of those, which worked out really well. Don't be fooled by BEVO's touristy location and flashy interior, the food here is actually quite serious. The pizzas in particular have received their share of praise from the blogosphere.
"Fried calamari, spicy roasted tomato sauce". One of us is on a quest to find the best fried calamari in town; this wasn't it. The squid was cooked ok and had an average crunch. The tomatoes gave the sauce some sweetness, but there was nothing spicy about it. Average dish; nothing spectacular.
"Stuffed ricotta pasta, fresh diced tomato". Just as the rich creamy ricotta coats your mouth, the freshness of the tomatoes breaks in, creating a luscious combination of flavours. The cheese was laced with parsley and the sauce had a bold garlicky flavour, all working greatly in this well put together dish.
"Braised veal poutine". This is not your traditional poutine with some added meat. Melt-in-your mouth veal sitting atop a mound of fries and mozzarella cheese, all doused with the veal braising "jus". However, WE do not like poutine as a "main" dish, no matter what you add to it. Good dish to share, just not satisfying as a standalone meal.
"Anchovies, tomato sauce, mozzarella". Pizza doesn't get better than straight out of a wood-burning oven. They do it right here: tasty dough with the right thickness holding a tangy tomato sauce, just enough cheese, and salty oily strips of anchovies. The dough might be a little thin for heavier ingredients; we'll test that on a future visit.
Service tonight was excellent in general; we were well attended to and weren't left in need of anything. But, if you've been reading us long enough, you know we like to nit-pick, so here it goes. Our plates were delivered a little too close to each other, with barely any break in between two courses.
tagged: ARE YOU IN A HURRY?
When we first heard that an Italian restaurant was opening this close to Old Montreal's Place Jacques-Cartier, we immediately thought "tourist trap", and didn't think the spot would work well with locals. After tonight and a prior visit in the summer, however, we can safely say that BEVO is not all about location or trendiness. It is actually a decent "food" destination. Happy new year!
Price per person: $32.50
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.