We’re gluttons, what else can we say? Peaches told Diva #1 about the amazing paninis and pasta dishes at Café Gentile in Ahuntsic and Diva #1 instantly started salivating. And though we don’t work anywhere near Café Gentile we decided to take an extended lunch from the office and go there. Why not?
Café Gentile opened in 1959 and they know how to serve a serious coffee and sandwiches. They are only open until 7:30 pm during the week and they close even earlier on the weekends, making this the perfect lunch spot in Ahuntsic on Parc Ave.
On our first visit, their soup of the day was the clam chowder which was delicious and creamy, and packed with clams and potatoes. It was more stew-like than soup-like, which is just the way we like it. They brought us some fresh homemade bruschetta with plenty of parmigiano, which made us giddy with delight. Although she has recently broken Diva #1’s heart by dieting, generally Peaches is a little porker and loves food as much as the Divas.
Café Gentile is non-descript, it looks like an old school Italian coffee shop mixed with nonna’s basement. A pool table on one side, a lunch counter to order food to go, and of course, they only take cash, but they have an ATM machine in house. Everyone told us to order their homemade ice tea and it was amazing! So fresh, and delicious, it lived up to the hype surrounding it.
We decided to split their steak and cheese sandwich and their pasta special of the day. The bread was oiled up and grilled for added decadence, the steak was cooked to perfection and we asked for extra spicy sauce. The caramelized onions were plentiful and were the perfect addition to the steak and cheese panini.
One of their pastas of the day was a rosé romanoff rigatoni that we dove into. You definitely need to ask Café Gentile for their specials and indulge! Perfectly cooked al dente, the pasta sauce had that nice hint of vodka that was not overpowering. The rosé sauce was not too pink and creamy, but the perfect colour and consistency. We piled it high with cheese and we were soon eating the remaining pooled sauce from the bottom of the bowl.
So we went back to work a little late and very full, but it was worth it. So much so for Diva #1 that she returned for a quick lunch for P’tit Frère’s birthday with Senior Diva. This time we started our lunch with their house salad of arugula, tomatoes, dried cranberries, walnuts and again, tons of parmigiano. It was fresh, the extra virgin olive oil was the perfect amount and it made for a perfect Italian starter salad.
Diva #1 and P’tit Frère decided to split two sandwiches, the breaded chicken panini was a traditional Italian sandwich. Served simply with lettuce, tomato, mayo and more of their secret bomba sauce, the panini was divine. The italian sausage sandwich was packed with eggplants, caramelized onions, lettuce and again more bomba. Both were delicious although the steak and cheese remains our favourite of their paninis. They all came with a side of olives and they were served on the freshest baguette.
Senior Diva opted out of the traditional Italian panini and instead she ordered the Cuban. This was served on a Kaiser bun with pulled pork that was cooked in a tangy but sweet barbecue sauce and topped with cheese. The sandwich was not too runny, there was just the right amount of sauce, and the addition of pickles added some sourness and crunch. Not your traditional Italian fare, Café Gentile did not disappoint, we were impressed!
Diva #1 had already tried their delicious cannoli on her first visit. When she returned, she knew to order them and have a few put on the side because they often run out. These cannolis are divine, full of pastry cream, but the shell is always so fresh. The chocolate chips in the filling are an added bonus and we aren’t surprised that Café Gentile runs out of cannolis.
Since it is an Italian coffee shop, Diva #1 loves to end her meal with a cappuccino. Italians know their coffee – enough said! When Diva #1 went with P’tit Frère they only had one cannoli left so we were given some homemade biscotti made by the owner’s mother (he explained this to us). They were warm and just out of the oven, fresh and the best damn biscotti that we had ever tried! Full of macadamia nuts, it was just so full of flavour and moist. Usually biscotti are rather dry and meant for dipping in coffee but not this one!
Café Gentile is a perfect lunch or coffee break stop in Ahuntsic, it’s an unassuming little place with delicious food. Definitely worth the trek if you aren’t in the area!
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 9299 Ave. Du Parc, Ahuntsic, Biscotti, Bruschetta, Café Gentile, Café Gentile Ahuntsic, Café Gentile Montreal, Cannoli, Daily specials, H2N 2A2, Ice Tea, Italian, Italian Coffee, Italian Sandwich, Italian Sausage, Lunch, Montreal, Montreal Café, Montreal Food, Montreal Lunch, Panini, Pasta, rosé romanoff, sandwich, steak and cheese