Diva #1 and Sweet Pea have been going to Lucca for years and though we reviewed them in 2013, we felt that they needed a standing ovation. We’ve made it tradition to take a day off from work and enjoy an amazing day that starts with lunch at Lucca and usually ends with a shopping trip.
Their lunch menu is available from Monday to Friday from 12 to 2:30pm, and it’s a great deal. For the cost of your main you also receive the option of enjoying their delicious soup of the day or a green salad, and their perfect tiramisu dessert. We have actually never been to Lucca for dinner because we associate them with a leisurely lunch on a Friday.
Their signature bruschetta is always brought to the table at the beginning of the meal. The room temperature tomatoes are always sweet and glistening with extra virgin olive oil. The slice of baguette is piled high with bruschetta toppings and it always leaves us wanting more. This traditional bruschetta is seamless with hints of finely chopped red onion and basil.
Sweet Pea has a hard time resisting their soups, and though we’ve had their minestrone soup, this time the broth was cooked with prosciutto giving it a dark colour and meatier feel. It was perfect, not too salty and Sweet Pea was further convinced that you should always order the soup
Since we were playing hooky from work we opted for a glass of red with our meal. Not that work would stop us! We considered ordering the bottle but we did not want to be boozy at noon. Anthony our waiter, and partner at Lucca, chose a nice full bodied Merlot from the north and as usual his recommendation was flawless. We were brought slices of baguette and their customary extra virgin olive oil sat at the table with us, perfect for dipping the fresh bread.
The green salad is fresh and dressed with a delicious vinaigrette that Diva #1 loves. The balsamic vinegar is never too tart and the olive oil simply coats the mixed greens instead of drowning the salad and making it heavy.
Although we are very picky when it comes to ordering calamari, Lucca never disappoints us. The calamari is always lightly breaded, crunchy, and is never chewy. Their marinara sauce is delicious, as we would expect from a fine Italian restaurant of this caliber, and as usual, we ate too much before our mains.
Diva #1 was having a bad day but somewhere in the clouds, Bacchus the Roman god of merriment, wine, ecstasy and ritual madness, was in full support of her gluttony. The chalkboard menu at Lucca listed a dish that was made for Diva#1, pappardelle with mixed mushrooms and duck tossed in an au jus sauce made with the duck meat. The pappardelle was cooked al dente and so very fresh and the duck meat and wild mushrooms were similar texturally which was pleasing to the palate. Fresh herbs including basil were tossed in this pasta dish and of course Diva #1 added plenty of parmigiano. She had to stop herself from licking the plate clean!
Sweet Pea has always loved the risotto dishes at Lucca and couldn’t resist the very summer risotto that they had on their menu. Chunks of fresh salmon and tuna were lightly cooked and tossed in a pesto risotto with cherry tomatoes. The risotto was al dente, the fish was so flavourful that you could taste if you were having a bite of salmon or tuna. Sweet Pea had trouble finishing her plate but Diva #1 was more than happy to help her!
One of our favourite dishes at Lucca is their rigatoni with gorgonzola sauce, chicken, sun dried tomatoes and zucchini. Though it was not on their menu during this particular lunch we have had it so many times that we need to rave about it! The rigatoni rigate is once again cooked al dente, the creamy gorgonzola sauce always pools in the bottom of the plate, perfect for dipping your baguette. The zucchini is never soggy and the gorgonzola sauce is always a light pink colour from the sun dried tomatoes. Though chicken is often seen as boring, Lucca makes it absolutely mouth-watering and tender.
The lunch menu always comes with tiramisu and though Diva #1 doesn’t particularly like tiramisu, she adores it here. Creamy mascarpone that isn’t too sweet hugs the lady fingers that aren’t soggy. The cocoa is rich and decadent and the espresso bitter. Their tiramisu is the perfect combination of ingredients that creates this traditional Italian dessert.
And like all true Italian meals, Sweet Pea and Diva#1 couldn’t end their lunch without an espresso or a cappuccino. What can we say? Everything was perfect from the bruschetta that we started our meal with to the coffee at the end.
Anthony couldn’t let us leave without bringing us a digestif, and what a treat he brought us! Amaro Lucano is the perfect Italian digestif that’s served on ice with a swirl of orange rind. It tastes like summer in Italy, we loved it so much that we asked to see the bottle but we were unfortunately informed that it’s a private import; we wanted to spend a day in Tuscany drinking it while talking about life.
Though they do not have a terrace, their wall of tall windows can be opened to overlook Dante Street in Little Italy. The entire restaurant has a nice airy feel in the summer months, and because the restaurant is small you always feel comfortable and cozy when there.
As we left Lucca on what seemed like the first real day of spring, we were full of optimism for our shopping trip in preparation for our joint birthday party at Diva #1’s. No matter where we are working, Diva #1 and Sweet Pea will always escape now and then, to enjoy that indulgent Friday lunch at Lucca, a tradition since 2008.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: 12 Rue Dante, Amaro Lucano, Bruschetta, Calamari, Chalkboard Menu, Duck, Duck Papardelle, Fish Risotto, Gorgonzola, Gorgonzola Rigatoni, H2S 1J6, Italian, Italian Restaurant, Little Italy, Lucca, Lucca Little Italy, Lucca Montreal, Lunch, Montreal, Montreal Food, Montreal italian, Montreal Restaurant, Papardelle, Pasta, Pesto Risotto, Risotto, Ristorante Lucca, Salmon, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Table d’hôte, Tiramisu, Tuna, Wild Mushroom Papardelle