We’ve been following around Piero, aka Baristello, since we met him at the much loved Caffé San Simeon, in Little Italy. A popular spot amongst coffee aficionados from all around Montreal for both their delicious coffee, and their late opening hours because let’s face it, Montrealers like coffee all day and night!
When Piero left Caffé San Simeon, we followed him (we swear we aren’t stalkers) to Caf Mtl in Old Montreal. Piero made every café that he worked at brighter, he gave it a personal touch, knowing all of his customers by name and how they took their coffee. He reminded us of our childhood, when you would go out with your grandfather and father and they would go to the butcher, or fishmonger, and know the guy serving them personally.
Somewhere along the way, Piero, your friendly neighbourhood barista earned the nickname Baristello. A nickname that comes with a symbol, the pineapple. But why the pineapple? In Hawaii, the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, as well as friendship and generosity. To Montrealers who know Piero, it’s his symbol. And when he finally opened his own café, Baristello & cie, it came as no surprise that pineapples were very dominant in his décor. Can you spot the pineapples?
Baristello & cie isn’t just owned by Piero, but co-owned by Jonathan as well. We first met Jonathan at Caffé San Simeon too, he is another expert barista and in charge of the food at Baristello & cie. They serve delicious food, very Italian, simple, but full of flavour. If you want a small snack with a perfect coffee, then this is the place for you. And because we’re gluttons, on one visit we tried almost all of the sandwiches, they were THAT good. But let’s describe their sandwiches, first of all they don’t serve paninis, like most Italian cafés, they serve tramezzinis.
A tramezzini is a sandwich made of sliced white bread, with the crusts cut off, available in Italy at bars as a snack. Think of the Italian version of the English tea sandwich, but with much better fillings. We loved the egg and spicy salami tramezzini, the mortadella and provolone, and the prosciutto cotto with bocconcini. Ventresca is similar to prosciutto but really a type of bacon, and we tried this delicious cured meat in a sandwich too.
The prosciutto with spicy jardinière by Chuck Hughes was heaven and an ode to Montreal. You can even buy Chuck Hughes’ Hot Pepper Spread at Baristello & cie where they have a little section with both Italian and Montreal items in the back of the café. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, on one visit we tried their formidable Nutella and fiori di latte tramezzini. Their fresh buttery croissants are always a great option, or try their Nutella cornetti, for a true taste of Italy.
Their espresso is always delicious, but we always opt for a latte or cappuccino. Made by two expert barristas, how could you go wrong? On one visit we had Jonathan’s mom’s lemon cookies that Piero drizzled extra virgin olive oil over. Absolutely heavenly, and perfection with a cappuccino. It’s truly a cozy coffee shop run by love, as seen in every little sandwich, cookie and coffee, all made with a story.
And since one of our visits was right around Christmas we tried another Baristello & cie treat, grilled raisin panettone with a cherry tomato jam. The cherry tomato jam reminded us of quince in its tartness but instead the jam was made with the most delicious cherry tomatoes, preserved at the height of their season. The desserts and tamezzini change daily, and sometimes if you get there too late, they run out, but that just shows you the freshness of their sandwiches and baked goods that are made daily!
An ode to yesteryears is both the 60s style décor and the few grocery store items in the back of the store. They sell more than antipasto, olive oil, tomato sauce, and chocolate, but a few little surprises too. Like Proraso, an Italian brand of shaving cream for your face, and their beard cream for the burly bearded man. As well as Felce Azzurra, an Italian beauty company’s bars of soap and hand soap. Bene bene!
Right across Jarry metro, in Villeray, check out Bartistello & cie for a great Italian café experience right in Montreal. Their coffee is delicious, their tamezzini and baked goods mouth watering, and the atmosphere, created by Piero and Jonathan, unbeatable. We wish these boys all the luck in the world, we’ll definitely be back often! In bocca al lupo!
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 709B Rue Jarry E, Cappuccino, cornetti, croissant, Espresso, H2P 1W2, Italian, Italian Coffee, lemon cookies, Montreal, Montreal Café, Montreal Coffee, Montreal espresso, Montreal italian, Montreal Italian Café, Mtl Café Crawl, Nutella, Piero Baristello, Sandwiches, tramezzini, Villeray