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May 29, 2007 06:39 AM

Petite Italie/J-Talon Mkt Restos?

Quite a few new restaurants, high-end and not, have opened up in la Petite Italie/Jean-Talon market area in Montréal recently. Have any of you been to Pesca, and it is worth the price? (It is the latest incarnation of the former Quelli della notte).

Then there is a new, inexpensive trattoria, "Nonno's" at the southwest corner of St-Laurent and Mozart - the website is not active yet. Seems to be standard Italo-Canadian fare with a few twists; a place to watch soccer games and have a beer or a casual meal, but est-ce que c'est bon dans son genre?

Another newcomer is Villa España, a small Spanish resto in a former bar/café that never seemed particularly popular or interesting, just north of St-Zotique on the east side of St-Laurent. Evidently this restaurant was located somewhere else before.

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. On another tangent, has anyone been to Kitchen Gallery? It recently opened on Jean-Talon just West of Casgrain, in the space that used to hold a middle-eastern kebab joint. Apparently, there are no servers and the cooks bring your food themselves. That's about all I know about it.

      9 Replies
      1. re: SnackHappy

        It looked intriguing (from across the street) but no, I haven't been there. That little stretch doesn't seem to take off. There is an oddly unsuited breakfast place there called Deli Joe, nothing appetising (except of course Le Petit Alep/Restaurant Alep). And then there is the espresso place (Lavazza?) in the former funeral home (odd for me, as I've been to wakes there...).

        1. re: lagatta

          A few months ago, an Italian place opened up on that block but was always empty. It seems to be picking up though. Has anyone been to Il Tignanello?

          1. re: FoodNovice

            Don't know about the resto by that name, but I sure would drink of a bottle of it.

            1. re: FoodNovice

              I know two people who went. They are not particularly picky eaters and said it was terrible. This is enough to keep me away until I hera differently.

              1. re: thelonious777

                I have to disagree with that. I'm a Italian Fine Cuisine Restaurant regular and I have to say I was particularly impressed with this one. The place was a little empty, but the food was great. I pass by that area often, though, and it seems to be picking up. The terrace is obviously closed for the season, but inside it looks busy now. I'm considering going again soon... oh and something people may not know, that restaurant has TWO floors, that's awesome for business events and parties.

                1. re: daridave

                  So what did you eat when you went there. I wanted to go, but was dissuaded by the comments on this board.

          2. re: SnackHappy

            I have almost eaten there a couple times but I think you have to order a three course meal, which I find a little too much during the week. People are going, though. It seemed to be full this weekend and there have been a few tables occupied every time I passed by last week.

              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. Sara Musgrave has done a review of Nonno's in the Gazette. It sounds decent enough, though a few kinks remain to be worked out (Don't order the crème brouillée...) This is an unpretentious place with TV screens to watch soccer and other sports; it always seems popular when I pass by.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: lagatta

                    Happened upon a cute little resto bar on St-Zotique just east of Christophe-Colomb, hence a bit east of Little Italy and the Jean-Talon market. There seem to be a few interesting new businesses filling in between there and the area of Rosemont near Cinéma Beaubien and Parc Molson.

           According to Vespa's website, they were elsewhere before and have just moved. Prices look very reasonable, the staff I spoke to did speak Italian. I didn't try a coffee or anything because they were hosting a private event.

                    One of my clients is right around the corner from them, so I should have more details soon.

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Vespa is DISGUSTING - AVOID at all costs. The quality of the ingredients is extremely poor, and the pizza was the worst I have had in the city of Montreal. Go west on St. Zotique to Bottega, or to St. Laurent to Cafe International for food, you cannot go wrong.

                      1. re: chemfemme

                        We've been to Vespa quite a few times already, most recently yesterday. I don't know what chemfemme is talking about, the food there is delicious.

                        The pesto is always fresh, the pizzas are spectacular (the prosciutto & spinach pizza changed, they now have fresh parmesan shavings ontop) and the pasta is definitely fresh.

                        Also, their calamari is amazing. Very light breading, making it mostly calamari rather than breading, and cooked just right.

                  2. Try Pesca. It is simply beautiful inside. They also have a new chef and things have improved. I would stay away from NOno's

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: rosief

                      rosie, could you tell us what you had there? I love fish, and indeed that restaurant is beautiful in its new incarnation, but the people I know who went there before (and these are people with taste as well as money) said it wasn't worth the price. If it is very good, it is worth keeping in mind as a special treat.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        I was there last week and I started with the Octopus plate and then followed it up with a shrimp linguini plate. My mate had Limoncello scallops followed by red snapper. I understand the chef is new.