12 exceptional Italian restaurants to try in Montreal

At BEVO Bar + Pizzeria, the convivial vibe is fueled by antipasti, spritz, and wood-fired pizzas. Credit: BEVO Bar + Pizzeria

A significant slice of the Italian diaspora lives in Montreal so it’s no surprise that the city is filled with world-class trattorias and ristorantes.

A downtown institution has served osso bucco and other classics in a striking Victorian space for over 60 years. Wood-fired Neapolitan pies are the draw at a casual but lively spot in Old Montreal. For outstanding aperitivo, there’s a chic cicchetti bar in Marconi-Alexandra.

Whether you’re in the mood for a vintage red-sauce joint or a market-driven hotspot, these places fit the bill. Read on for a guide to Montreal’s 12 best Italian restaurants to check out now.


Marcella (Old Montreal)

A gnocchi dish with a cream sauce and mushrooms in a white plate on a table

Ricotta gnocchi with mushroom and gorgonzola cream sauce. Credit: Marcella

This intimate dinette in the heart of Old Montreal is all about soul-soothing, homestyle recipes. That means a menu stacked with cozy staples including eggplant parm, meatballs, carbonara pasta (complete with the traditional egg yolks), and chicken cacciatore. Cocktails such as the fig spritz and espresso martini are decidedly fancier.

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Graziella (Old Montreal)

Chef Graziella Battista’s eponymous restaurant is arguably the finest Italian dining destination in town. Take a seat in the elegant dining room with its high ceilings, leather chairs, and white tablecloths for especially attentive service. The menu is concise with no more than four antipasti, primi, and secondi to choose from. But there’s always handmade pasta topped with seasonal sauces, plus tender cuts of guinea fowl and striploin steak. Don’t skip the vino: sommelier and co-owner Pierre Jullien is an exceptionally knowledgeable guide. 

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Da Emma (Old Montreal/Cité-du-Multimédia)

A clandestine vibe fills Da Gemma, a nearly 30-year-old Old Montreal institution. The refined Roman spot is tucked below a historic stone building and strikes a delicate balance between fancy and laidback. Da Gemma’s offerings swing between traditional dishes and more modern creations, depending on what you’re craving. Crisp salads, pillowy pastas, and herbed and sauced meats are always part of the ever-evolving menu.

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Il Bazzali (Little Italy)

The statue of a sailor next to a jar with dried oranges on the shelf of a restaurant

Il Bazzali is run by chef and tenor Davide Bazzali. Credit: Livio Verona, Il Bazzali

Davide Bazzali, chef and owner of this cozy bistro, made his name by hosting five-course dinners that paired Italian cuisine with opera. While there’s no stage here, you might still be treated to an impromptu aria—Bazzali is known for singing in the kitchen. Expect hearty dishes such as Tuscan-style ravioli and seasonal risotto. French influences surface in the form of tender beef macreuse (braised beef shoulder). 

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Le Muscadin (Old Montreal)

Le Muscadin, the grand old signora of Montreal’s Italian dining scene, is known for a gigantic wine cellar with thousands of bottles stashed underground (ask and they’ll usually give you a glimpse). Italian staples abound on the menu: start with prosciutto from Parma or nonna-style meatballs. Then proceed to pasta dishes such as carbonara and clam linguini and meaty mains including veal scallopini with a lemon white wine sauce. For the grand finale, there’s a winning tiramisu. 

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Restaurant Tbsp. (Downtown-Quartier International)

A red risotto dish with tuna and capers on a black plate with a blue napkin and a glass of white wine in the background

Risotto with basil oil, poached red tuna,
tomato confit, and Sicilian black olives. Credit: Restaurant Tbsp.

This sleek space in the W Hotel is home to one of the city’s more inventive Italian spots. Tbsp.’s menu highlights Quebec produce such as whelks (served with umami anchovy butter) and sea buckthorn, which shows up in a vinaigrette on a smoky bean salad. Consider, too, the restaurant’s flexible tasting menu to dip into a variety of dishes including Cornish hen with olive polenta and handmade agnolotti with parmesan broth and cauliflower. 

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BEVO Bar + Pizzeria (Old Montreal)

A dish of rigatoni pasta with sausage and rocket on a white plate with a spritz and small plates in the background

Rigatoni pasta with sausage and rocket. Credit: BEVO Bar + Pizzeria

This lively restaurant and bar on a charming cobblestoned side street is a versatile hangout. You could stop in for wood-fired pizzas topped with prosciutto and fior di latte, but BEVO is also a go-to spot for a casual spritz and nibbles with friends or colleagues. The convivial vibe is fueled by a robust antipasti selection (salumi platters, arancini). The good times continue on Fridays and Saturdays when live DJs spin. 

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Da Vinci Ristorante (Downtown-Concordia)

Da Vinci has ruled downtown Montreal since 1960. A gorgeous 19th-century stone building sets the classy scene for a meal here, as do mahogany and marble fixtures in the dining room. This spot is known for decadent meat and seafood dishes such as grilled octopus, lamb with Calabrese-style sauce, and an array of steak cuts. For toasting special occasions there’s plenty of sparkling wines to choose from. 

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Ristorante Donato (Westmount)

A pizza with a burrata being opened in the center, mortadella ham and pine nuts

Ristorante Donato is an elegant Italian chop house also serving top-notch pizzas and pasta dishes. Credit: Ristorante Donato

This sleek Italian chop house landed in west Montreal in 2021. The meaty parts of the menu are its strengths (think milk-fed veal with aged balsamic and ribeye dressed with salt and olive oil). Other standout mains include ricotta gnocchi with tomato sauce and green pea ravioli stuffed with Calabrese sausage. Round it all out with a killer negroni or a pick from the Italian-leaning wine list. 

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Kesté (Mile End)

Don’t be fooled by its ultra-cool industrial digs—despite its concrete floors and massive windows, Kesté is well-suited for a warm and inviting evening. Chef and owner Gianluca Esposito is all about crisp Neapolitan-style pizzas, serving a mix of red and white toppings such as creamy Gorgonzola with radicchio and cherry tomatoes with smoked mozzarella. Throw in imported Italian beers and faithful accompaniments including fried calamari and a Caprese salad and you’ll have a feast to remember. 

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Bar Cicchetti (Mile Ex/Marconi-Alexandra)

For what may be Montreal’s best aperitivo, head to this Venice-inspired bar. “Cicchetti” refers to small tapas-like bites. Naturally, those small plates headline the menu here with rotating choices such as prosciutto, fried polenta, arancini, and more. The cocktail selection is a blend of traditional spritzes and negronis plus more contemporary concoctions featuring elderflower liqueur and lava-colored Sicilian bitters. In the warmer months, enjoy it all on a sprawling wooden terrace out front.


Stellina (Old Montreal)

Noodles are a must at Stellina, a self-described pasta factory. Chef Jonathan Agnello’s menu is tiny but mighty, featuring lesser-seen shapes such as the pea pod-like capunti. While there are classic sauce options, the menu also features out-of-the-box choices such as duck ragout and oxtail with bone marrow and sugo, a slow-simmered tomato sauce. Exposed brick interiors and dim lights make Stellina a sought-after spot for date nights. 

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