In 1959, Café Gentile opened on Parc Ave, and have been known for their delicious sandwiches and Italian coffee, serving lunch to the workers of Chabanel for years. It’s a Montreal institution, and because it’s separate from the downtown core it’s well known but still somewhat of a secret. We’ve been in love with Café Gentile since we were kids, you can read our review of their original location HERE.
Imagine our glee when we heard that they were opening a second location in Westmount. Their Ahuntsic location is predominantly a lunch spot, specializing in a few pasta dishes and sandwiches. Café Gentile in Westmount stayed true to their original style for lunch, with many of the same favourites appearing on the menu of their Westmount location, but with so many more options.
Café Gentile Westmount has a sexier vibe, it isn’t as old school 1950s Italian, they left the rustic charm in Ahuntsic and opened a more bistro like restaurant in Westmount. We came for dinner because that’s the biggest difference in the two locations, Café Gentile Westmount has a tantalizing dinner menu, perfect for anyone looking for a delicious Italian meal that is also affordable. It’s a mix of classic Italian dishes like veal scallopini and a few modern twists like their mouth watering truffled carbonara.
We asked our ever so helpful waiter for a few recommendations, and we fell in love with every plate that we tasted. The house made ricotta was surreal, ricotta does not usually taste THAT good but Café Gentile’s ricotta was bursting with flavour. Even P’tit Soeur who is lactose intolerant couldn’t resist, and she suffered for it later.
Their ricotta is served with candied figs, fresh parsley, and crusty country bread, we licked the plate clean. We just couldn’t get over the ricotta that was also topped with a drizzle of Sicilian honey and orange zest, for the perfect amount of sweetness. It was served at the same time as bread and Café Gentile’s homemade olive oil – we could have spent the whole night just eating bread with ricotta and olive oil!
The crispy polenta fries were one of the side dishes, along with sweet potatoes with goat cheese, rapini, classic bruschetta which Café Gentile is known for, and other treats. The polenta fries were perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and topped with fresh Italian parsley, and grated salted ricotta. Served with a generous amount of homemade marinara sauce, we would exchange regular potato fries for crispy polenta fries any day of the week. A generous portion, this side dish was incredible!
Other appetizers on Café Gentile’s menu included classics like calamari, meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, grilled octopus with fennel, and shrimp puttanesca. We opted for something light, the grilled mushrooms with more of that homemade olive oil, and lemon. Grilled to perfection so that they actually tasted like steak, the mushrooms were meaty, and simply dressed to bring out their flavour.
And then came the age old question primi, secondi or both? Well we all wanted pasta so we opted for sharing three primi plateswe clearly love our carbs! We’ll definitely be back to try their veal scaloppini, chicken or veal parmigiana, or any of their daily specials which sounded absolutely decadent when our waiter informed us of them.
Let’s talk about the rigatoni truffled carbonara and how you should definitely order it. Carbonara is already a piece of heaven but this dish had a decadent taste of truffles that had us swooning. Even though we were sharing three pasta dishes, there were still dishes that we did not try that looked delicious, like the gigli rose made with vodka, shallots and peppercorns, and Nonna Teresa’s lasagna, god bless her!
The homemade gnocchi looked perfectly homemade with the perfect Italian tomato sauce, melted mozzarina adding a creaminess to the gnocchi and fresh basil. This pasta dish was so different from the rigatoni truffled carbonara that you have to get both! Their tomato sauce was so divine that next time we want to try their Sunday Lunch for Two which includes meatballs, homemade sausage, beef ribs, fusilli with tomato sauce and whipped ricotta – just like a Sunday lunch at nonna’s!
Cavatelli is one of the most unique pasta shapes, formed with eggless dough, it’s ridges hold various sauces to its shape. They’re the best when prepared from scratch, unlike other pastas they are not easily mass produced. Homemade at Café Gentile, they were tossed with broccoli rabe, sausage and parmesan in an olive oil based sauce. The dish may not look like much but it took craftsmanship and it tasted wonderful.
Honestly how we ate dessert we’ll never know, we’re gluttons and that’s it! Known for their cannoli, we were too full to indulge, their ricotta chocolate chip espresso tart sounded heavenly but again we were just too full. It was too cold for gelato or granita so we opted for a biscotti and Nutella cornetti with our coffee and we weren’t disappointed.
We loved Café Gentile’s so much that since we were shopping downtown the next day, we stopped for a quick cappuccino to go! It’s one of our favourite Italian restaurants in the city, the restaurant has class, the service is impeccable and it’s a part of Montreal history.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 4126 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Café Gentile, Café Gentile Montreal, Café Gentile Westmount, Cappuccino, Carbonara, cavatelli, Espresso, Gnocchi, Grilled Mushrooms, H3Z 1P4, Italian Restaurant, Montreal Café, Montreal italian, Montreal Italian Restaurant, Montreal Restaurant, Nutella cornetti, Polenta Fries, Ricotta, Truffles, Westmount italian, Westmount restaurant