The Divas are not particularly fond of BYOW restaurants; usually the food is mediocre to compensate for the fact that you can bring your own wine because restaurants make more profit from selling alcohol than food. Anyone who goes out knows that the SAQ to restaurant mark up on alcohol is insane but wine without dinner is like walking outside during a Canadian winter without a coat on, not worth it. Senior Diva had brought Diva #1 when she was a lil Diva to Il Piatto Pieno many moons ago. One night, Bellatrix and Diva #1 had gone shopping together and wanted an informal bite to eat, we weren’t dressed up but we wanted to gossip over some wine and good food. We were craving pasta, had spent too much money on shopping so decided to go to Il PIatto Pieno, which offers an affordable dining experience. Both of us had been there before, Diva #1 even has a friend who works there as a waitress. Il Piatto Pieno is reliably wonderful for an inexpensive dinner, and you drink as much as you bring with you. So we came in with two bottles of Liano wine for well… two thirsty girls.
Il Piatto Pieno is on St-Zotique in Little Italy and has pretty good Italian food. We have only had the pizzas and the pastas so we don’t know about their main meat dishes. They are known for their menu table d’hote that can be as cheap as 30.95$ for any antipasto, any pizza or pasta, coffee and dessert. If you opt for one of their veal scaloppinis or a grilled meat that also comes with a mixed salad, the table d’hote can be go up to 39.95$. Inexpensive and delicious, Il Piatto Pieno is great for a fun night out to chat, without too much chicness and tra-la-la. Their grilled meats include rabbit, lamb, veal and steak, and it is something to return for.
On this fine night Diva #1 started with the classic mozzarella di Bufala with cherry tomatoes and basil, covered lightly with delicious Italian extra virgin olive oil. What is truly great about their table d’hote is that you are not forced to choose amongst a few appetizers, pastas or pizzas but you can actually have any listed on the menu. Diva #1 loves mozzarella di Buffala and Il Piatto Pieno provided us with a generous amount and we were soon asking for more bread and polishing off the plate.
Bellatrix loves Italian sausage and opted for the grilled sausage with marinated eggplants. The dish was heavy, the portion huge and perfect when we ate it together with our lighter mozzarella di Bufala and cherry tomatoes. This appetizer had a touch of spice and was amazing. Il Piatto Pieno has quite a long menu and every time Diva #1 has come she has enjoyed something new and delicious. The eggplant parmesan is another great appetizer and we have never been disappointed with what we have ordered.
Diva #1 and P’tit Frère love a good carbonara, we make it at home and enjoy it when we go out. Diva #1 finds it hard to resist Il Piatto Pieno’s carbonara; there is only a little cream because too much makes for an imitation carbonara. The egg was perfectly incorporated, the pancetta was smoky and the parmesan plentiful. The dish is huge, you can probably bathe in the bowl that it is served in and it has thus far not disappointed us.
The other neat thing about Il Piatto Pieno is that you can switch up the type of pasta with either taglioglini, fettucine, pappardelle, penne, tortellini, fusili, gnocchi, or cavatelli, regardless of how the dish is described on their menu. The Divas love changing dishes on a menu and perfecting them before they are served to us, some chefs hate us for this but we find it an endearing quality, we are women who know what we like. Il Piatto Pieno anticipates that patrons will possibly want to change the pastas within a dish.
Bellatrix loves mushrooms, so she tried something that the Divas had not had before. The Boscaiola is an olive oil based pasta dish with garlic, onions, shallots, pancetta, a mix of mushrooms, Italian sausage and an amazing porcini sauce. This pasta was amazing and we took a lot of it home to eat at work the next day. Once again, the portion was huge and we were almost too full for dessert. Diva #1 would definitely return for this dish, it was even better than expected and we had high expectations because a porcini sauce sounds incredible.
On another visit, the Divas and friends have had the Fresca pasta which is another delicious olive oil based pasta with bocconcini, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil, perfect and refreshing for the summer months. Their delicious pizzas include a really good quatro fromaggi which is a tomato based pizza with goat cheese, provolone, crotonese and gorgonzola; and their gamberetti e rucula that does not contain tomato sauce and is covered in shrimp, cherry tomatoes, arugula and fresh parsley.
Last but not least we love Il Piatto PIeno because when they advertise that their table d’hote comes with coffee they thankfully do not mean filtered American coffee but delicious espresso as either a shot, a cappuccino or a latte. God bless the Italians and their wonderful cappuccinos! Besides their usual cannoli, granita and gelato, on this evening, the dolci of the night included a limoncello cake and a carrot cake. Their limoncello cake was a white cake, moist from the alcohol, very lemony and very delicious, we were rather impressed. The Divas are not big cake eaters, we prefer a mousse based pastry but the cakes at Il Piatto Pieno are worth ordering.
Bellatrix got the carrot cake which was rich, fresh and piled high with delicious cream cheese based frosting. Their granita is also amazing but it does not go well with coffee so we opted for the cakes instead. We left our meal a little tipsy and very full. Though we do not frequent BYOW restaurants, if we are going to go to one it will likely be Il PIatto Pieno for their large portions, fresh ingredients and amazing prices. Sometimes the Divas shop too much and do not have much money left for dinner and drinks
In the end, Il Piatto PIeno is not where you go for a wild Diva night filled with tiny cocktail dresses and drinks heavy on the hard liquor, nor is it a place to see and be seen… it is where you go for good food over a few bottles of wine to chat with your friends. It is usually packed, reservations are a must, and their beautiful solarium filled with plants is even available in the winter where you feel like you are in a separate oasis. The restaurant has two floors and a solarium, yet is always packed; the restaurant’s popularity speaks for itself.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 177 St-Zotique, Antipasto, Bolognese, bring your own wine, BYOW, Calabrese, Cannoli, Caprese, Carbonara, Chicken Scaloppini, Dolci, Eggplants, Frutti di Mare, Gelato, Gnocchi, Granita, Grilled Lamb, H2S 1K9, Il Piatto Pieno Little Italy, Il Piatto Pieno Montreal, Il Piatto Pieno St-Zotique, Italian, Italian Sausage, Little Italy, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Mozzarella di bufala, Mushrooms, Pancetta, Pasta, Pizza, Primavera, Prosciutto, Quatro Fromaggi, Rabbit, Reservations Needed, Romanov, Saint-Zotique, Solarium, Splendid, Table D’ Hote, Veal, Veal Scaloppini