This was certainly not our first time at Bottega in Little Italy. But it was definitely the first time that we veered from the traditional pizza, arancini and calamari that is commonly served at Italian pizzerias in Montreal. Besides Bottega, the Covone Family owns Hostaria, a fine dining Italian restaurant down the street, and San Gennaro a café with Roman-style pizza al taglio and sweet treats next door.
We were back at Bottega for a friend’s birthday and with a Covone sitting at our table, we were happy to be told exactly what to order. He strayed from most of our usual favourites at Bottega, and since we love being taken out of our comfort zone, we were intrigued! He showed us that this pizzeria Neapolitan has so much more to offer than the usual appetizers associated with their wood-oven fired pizza.
Their bacio are out of this world and no matter how many times we return to Bottega we always order a few of these for the middle of the table. Little doughy balls of pizza are stuffed with prosciutto cotto, fresh mozzarella and ricotta. They are topped with arugula, parmigiano and extra virgin olive oil. They are not sold as an appetizer but individually which is perfect because you can order however many you want.
The same idea is applied to their veal meatballs, which are sold individually. Homemade veal meatballs are drowned in San Marzano tomato sauce and topped with a single basil leaf. This simple southern Italian dish is perfected at Bottega. Although we wanted to veer away from the traditional pizzeria dishes, we had to stay true to some of the classics!
A special of the night was the octopus, which was thankfully not made in that traditional Mediterranean style that you see absolutely everywhere. Bottega had a few tricks up their sleeve with their tender octopus cooked with the crispiest homemade croutons with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. It was served wrapped in parchment paper with plenty of fresh basil for that quintessential Italian flavour that we love.
Without any competition, one of our favourite appetizers of the night was the fresh artichokes stuffed with prosciutto and fontina and cooked to absolute perfection. Cheese oozed out of the artichokes and the prosciutto added the perfect amount of saltiness to the dish. Topped with rosemary and basil, it was chock full of flavour. There is nothing more to say, if you see this dish on the chalkboard list of evening specials, order it or you will regret it!
Last but not least we received a plate of succulent grilled lamb chops., something we would never have ordered from a pizzeria. Grilled to that perfect medium, with rosemary and basil infused olive oil, we added some lemon and instantly fell in love with these meaty chops. The light layer of caramelized fat melted into the meat and added sweetness to this savoury dish. They are sold individually so once again, you can decide how many you would like to enjoy.
And last but not least we shared the margherita pizza, as always, a simple margherita pizza is the most rigorous test that an Italian pizzeria undergoes. We always order the pizza at Bottega and we are never disappointed. This visit was all about trying new dishes although we still shared the simple margherita. As always it came before us with Bottega’s perfect dough, that unpretentious San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. Simple and always delicious!
For dessert we were recommended the flourless dark chocolate and almond cake. Gluten free and dense like a rich brownie made with dark chocolate, it was almost fudge like in texture. We loved it!
We should divulge that being the gluttons that we are, our friends sat at a table of 20 with a set group menu. We sat at a table of four apart from the rest, ordering whatever we wanted and enjoying all of Bottega’s specials. At first they felt bad that we were sitting apart from everyone because there wasn’t any room at the long table. But after they saw everything that we were eating, that pity turned into intense jealousy! The Divas know where to sit in a restaurant 😉
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 65 Rue St-Zotique, Artichokes, Baccio, Bottega, Bottega Montreal, Bottega Pizzeria, Cocktails, Covone, H2S 1K6, Italian Restaurant, Lamb Chops, Little Italy, Margherita Pizza, Meatballs, Montreal, Montreal italian, Montreal Pizza, Neapolitan Pizza, Octopus, Pizza, Reservations Needed, San Marzano tomatoes, Stuffed Artichokes, wine, Wood Burning Oven