The Divas fell in love with Le Richmond, having been for dinner in 2013 and their maple brunch in 2014 for Quebec’s sugar shack season. The restaurant is truly a gem in Griffintown, serving Northern Italian cuisine and decadent brunches. They are also known for their beautiful terrace and its fabulous ambiance in this up and coming Montreal neighbourhood.
Le Richmond’s latest expansion is Le Richmond Marché Italien, a gourmet market of affordable and upscale goods, as well as an Italian bistro, created by the same team behind the restaurant. It is 6000 sq. feet of fine, gourmet quality products along with a 100 seat bistro. An industrial design with chandeliers, marble counter tops and exposed beams creates a beautiful space.
We started with a tour of the market and the pret-à-manger section, glasses of Prosecco in hand. Their counter enclosed in glass is filled with delicious goods, some of which we were lucky enough to sample. Even their desserts are available both at the bistro or to take home in the market. Besides their desserts, they also carry some of the same foods that they use in the bistro portion of the market. Stuffed tomatoes, grilled vegetables, green beans, tomato salad, braised lamb and other meals and side dishes tantalized us from behind the glass.
We started our tasting with items from the market and their pret-à-manger section, all available for purchase to take home. Marinated eggplant, mushrooms, olives, etc were bursting with flavour. Mini arancini with peas and fresh mint were tasty, served with an arrabbiata sauce for dipping. Crispy bite-size cod cakes were topped with a dollop of tartar sauce as an amuse bouche. These little bites were appetizing and the presentation exquisite!
One of our favourite sections of the market was the olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. Five different extra virgin olive oils from all over Italy were poured on individual plates with a bowl of cut up baguette. They even offered little spoons if you just wanted to taste the oil in its purest form. One was smoky, another lighter, etc. Trying the olive oils one right after the other really made you appreciate the varied tastes.
Two balsamic vinegars were also offered in the tasting, one so thick and sweet that it was almost a reduction but was meant to enjoy on ice cream or with fruits. The chef gladly explained the olive oils and balsamic vinegars to us and how they ranged in price but remained affordable.
We also sampled a charcuterie platter which we had to peel ourselves away from to save room for the tasting of Le Richmond Marché Italien bistro menu! Filled with slices of spicy calabrese, salami, prosciutto and bresola, we were also provided with a tomato compote, cheeses and a surprisingly delightful white cherry preserve. This preserve was not sweet, and it even had a little spice; it was perfect with the cheeses and cured meats.
All the cheese and charcuterie from Le Richmond Marché Italien’s bistro are available at their cheese and charcuterie counters to take home. This is perfect if you’re planning a dinner party or if you just want to try varied cheeses and charcuterie that you would not find in your neighbourhood grocery store. Le Richmond Marché Italien is about providing your usual products, as well as finer products, at varied costs to suit all budgets.
We moved to the bistro side of the market, ready to taste what the menu had to offer and ordered cocktails. The Bloody Richmond is their take on a bloody Caesar. Spicy with a coarse rim, it was garnished with an olive and a crispy slice of bresola which we loved! The Limonade Folle was served in a small carafe with extra Fentman’s Victorian Lemonade that could be added to the refreshing drink.
The calamari was served with a slightly spicy aioli painted around the inside of the dish. They were crunchy thanks to the semolina flour coating and still tender inside. All they needed was a squeeze of the grilled lemon to balance the saltiness and they were additive like popcorn. A true Italian snack!
The mini eggplants were baked in a homemade tomato sauce and topped with ricotta which added richness and creaminess to the dish. This was a type of deconstructed and modern eggplant parmesan with creamy ricotta instead! The tomato sauce was not too acidic, full of fresh basil, and the eggplants still had some bite to them and didn’t fall apart on your fork.
The beef carpaccio was dressed in a vinaigrette with pickles, capers and olives. Despite this flavourful vinaigrette, there was an element of salt missing from the dish to bring it all together. Otherwise, the beef was cut perfectly thin, with a crusty sear on the outside and bright red inside. It was topped with some type of cheese; we are guessing that it was a Sicilian ricotta because it was similar in texture and flavour.
We love mac n’ cheese, in fact, we think it should be a food group all on its own. The mac n’ cheese at Le Richmond Marché Italien is delicious, made with three different Quebec cheeses that add both the traditional creamy and a more unique nutty flavour to the sauce. Garnished with chives for some colour and tossed with crispy croutons that were soaked in truffle oil, this was our favourite dish of the night.
A thick slice of porchetta was served on a delicious gravy-like sauce. The chef explained how the porchetta was cooked, starting by sitting in a brine for 24 hours to ensure a very moist piece of meat. Full of flavour with a dominant taste coming from fennel, the meat simply fell apart, a knife was hardly necessary. It was served with tender baby potatoes and greens to round out the dish.
The margherita pizza was thin and topped with a simple tomato sauce, fior di latte cheese, and leaves of fresh basil. How could you go wrong? It was simple, flavourful and what you would expect. Le Richmond Marché Italien has several other pizzas that have mushrooms or sausage, and rapini as toppings. They also serve a breakfast pizza which is available during their brunch.
We were treated to a variety of pastries and they also have cakes and baked goods at their counter, ready to purchase. We tasted a dark chocolate tart that was very rich and topped with hazelnuts, a blueberry and a raspberry. It was a touch too chocolaty for our liking! The tiramisu was presented beautifully and rather good but our favourite was the raspberry mousse that was refreshing, light and perfect for the summer.
We also tasted three different cannolis, the traditional variation, pistachio and chocolate. We are cannoli snobs, and we like our cannolis stuffed to order to ensure the crispiness of the shell. Our favourite of the desserts remained the raspberry mousse, although there are other baked goods like croissants to choose from!
The passion from the team behind Le Richmond Marché Italien is evident. The design is beautiful, the products are well thought out and of high quality, and the bistro is serving simple dishes with complex flavours that satisfy. If you’re in Griffintown, stop by Le Richmond Marché Italien and pick up dinner, dessert, or perhaps stay and eat at their bistro.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: 333 Richmond, Baked Eggplant, Beef Carpaccio, bistro, Calamari, Cannoli, Charcuterie, Griffintown, Griffintown restaurant, H3J 1T9, Italian Market, Le Richmond Bistro, Le Richmond Marché Italien Montreal, Le Richmond Marché Montreal, Le Richmond Market Montreal, Mac n' Cheese, Montreal Market, Montreal Restaurant, Pizza, Porchetta