Ten years feels like an eternity in the volatile restauration business. Some spots reach this milestone amid much fanfare; others manage to do so under the radar. Then there's Old Montreal's Graziella, which will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary later this year while keeping a relatively low profile yet drawing critical acclaim.
Birthdays are as good an occasion as any to splurge – don't ask my age – and boy does Graziella fit the bill. At a time when fine dining establishments are growing increasingly casual, the McGill Street locale is still pushing formally-attired waitstaff, subdued music and white table linens. All of this naturally translates into a crowd more mature than what we have come to expect at trendier spots.
tagged: SPECIAL OCCASION
A concise, ingredient-driven menu is split into antipasti, primi and secondi sections; with 3-4 options under each. Dishes are a tad expensive, but the sophistication, execution and plating more than justify the price tag.
A sort of tempura of Lebanese zucchinis stuffed with smooth, creamy ricotta resulting in a delicate balance of flavours and play on textures; splendido!
Perfectly-al dente hat-shaped pasta shells were filled with ricotta and mint and came swimming in a rich, salty, cheesy tomato sauce; another winner.
We are instantly drawn to any dish that combines lobster with spaghetti but this one – although cooked flawlessly – needed a little boost from the tomato sauce/bisque.
A snazzy setting and refined fare call for capable, polished service. Our sharp, young waiter was up to the task; displaying professionalism without being too uptight. Our only complaint regards a twenty-minute delay before we were given menus after grabbing a table. We understand this is common practice in certain European countries, but last time I checked: we're in North America!
Our first dinner at Graziella was a pleasure; the chic room, sharp service and soigné food rose up to the – birthday – occasion. Despite our minor quibbles with a couple plates and that unnecessary wait, there is no denying this ristorante is making the case for fine dining as a category, in the face of its steady decline. Here's to another ten years or more!
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $47.33
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.