Osteria Venti is an Italian restaurant located in Old Montreal on the beautiful rue St-Paul. They offer a selection of Italian dishes and beautiful home made pasta. Meal size can be on the small side but if you choose wisely, you will experience some lovely Italian food.
372 St-Paul Ouest
Montreal H2Y 2A6
I learned about this new restaurant through the website Montreal for Insiders (where I also learned about Le Filet) and was keen to try it out. One of the reasons I was so interested was because in London (UK – where I previously lived) there is a strong movement towards affordable, very good, simple Italian food (Polpetto, Trullo) and these are some of the hardest seats in town to get. From the description, this appeared to be heading in the same direction and I was keen to check it out.
The restaurant only opened on the 15th April so I expected some hiccups. We were seated and the server seemed fairly knowledgeable about the food. There are two prices listed for the Primi pasta dishes, and we were told that the second price was a meal sized dish.
We started with the Crostini which was a piece of bread piled with the toppings of your choice ($5). This was good, but nothing mind blowing and it would have been nice to have had the flavours shine through a bit more. The capers on the Peperonata were a nice salty touch.
Three of our group chose one of the main sized pasta dishes ($15) as their main meal and we were all quite shocked to see very tiny portions of food served. I realize this is from the Primi section, but when you are told that it is a main sized meal portion I believe that enough food should come along. This is something that will have to be sorted out because it is currently just not adequate. However, the pasta was amazing and definitely home made which was a small comfort. I had the Seafood Soup ( $22) which was nice but I would have liked a little more zing in the tomato sauce.
My dining partners ordered deserts and cheese to try and fill their growling stomaches. OK, we requested 30g of the cheese plate but when it came to our table and we saw just how small the portion was I don’t think it should even be offered as a size. It is ridiculously small and I am sure every person who gets the 30g portion of cheese would be in shock. Like on of my dining partners said, it is similar to the sample that you get at the grocery store. Please start the cheese at 60g and up. 30g is just ridiculous. The other deserts were good but not memorable.
Other positives and negatives – the wine was amazing, the server was friendly and the place was buzzing which is positive for a brand new restaurant. Negatives? Our food was not served at the same time (to be fair the hostess did profusely apologize), and there were small faults with the service (we had to ask for pepper, cutlery, etc.)
Overall, I think it was pretty good for a restaurant that started a week ago. Figure out the service, increase the portion sizes on the pasta and tweak some of the dishes and you could have a good thing going on. I would go back again but only one more time and for only one more chance.
Design: Nice but not cutting edge. It’s somewhere you could bring all generations and both the grandma and hipster kids wouldn’t feel out of place.
Service: Friendly. The service itself was a bit slow but the kitchen is in the entrance to the restaurant and when you see the size of it, it’s pretty impressive that they serve so many people. Then again, the restaurant at Vinoteca is even tinier and they do an amazing job!
Price: It depends. If you had a tiny appetite and could stick with the crostini ($5) and pasta ($15) it would be a very affordable meal. However, most people will have to add onto that bringing the price up. However, it is still not overly expensive.
Good For: Meals with the family, a casual dinner with friends.
Baby/Kid friendly: Not sure about the baby (and I didn’t check out the bathrooms) but there were quite a few kids there (tourists I suppose) and the children looked at home.