Throughout the winter, I am one of the many Montreal locals who find comfort and warmth is carb-filled dishes. Italian is, for many of us, the most comforting food you can find. Pasta, pizza, and everything in between, Italians know what they are doing when it comes to food. In celebration of the Italian culinary tradition in the city and in recognition of the season of comfort food, we've put together a list of some of the most popular and authentic Italian restaurants in Montreal.

Today, according to Statistics Canada data, as many as 380,000 people in Montreal claim Italian descent. 

What began as a small community of just 5,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, according to a 2012 Gazette article by Marco Micone, has spread across the metropolitan area and become a driving force when it comes to the food scene in this city.

Now, throughout Little Italy, downtown, Old Montreal, and the East End, there are a ton of incredible and authentic Italian restaurants to pick from. 

This list covers everything from the hole-in-the-wall mainstays to some celebrated newcomers.

Regardless of your budget, Italian food is there for you.

Da Emma

Where: 777 Rue de la Commune O.

Da Emma is more than a restaurant, it is a Montreal institution.

Chef Emma Risa and her husband left Italy to come to Montreal and, in 1993, opened their popular eatery.

Da Emma even attracts a few celebrities.

If you are looking to be part of this dining experience, you should know that reservations are hard to get so you might want to book in advance. 

Visit the restaurant Facebook page here!

Artigiani 

Where: 4657 Rue Saint-Denis

Known for its wood-oven pizzas and fresh pasta, Artigiani has become a go-to for Montreal locals looking to sink their teeth into something tasty. 

The restaurant's warm décor and hospitable staff will make you feel right at home. 

Check it out here!

Restaurant Graziella 

Where: 116 Rue McGill

Restaurant Graziella is a sophisticated choice for anyone looking for refined Italian dishes created from seasonal ingredients. 

Chef Graziella Battista combines her talent and creativity to create elevated Italian dishes.

Dining at this establishment is a culinary experience and if you want to see for yourself you should make a reservation as seats book up fast. 

Check it out here!

Primo e Secondo

Where: 7023 Rue Saint-Dominique

Primo e Secondo is one of my go-to spots for special occasions. 

Steps away from the Jean-Talon market, this homey Italian restaurant is truly what past dreams are made of (cue Lizzie McGuire). 

Roberto Stabile is the chef of this institution and eaters can taste the quality with every bite they take. The restaurant is certain to exceed any and every expectation you have.

More info here!

Lucca 

Where: 12 Rue Dante

Lucca opened its doors in 1999 and has been impressing diners ever since. 

The restaurant combines Quebec ingredients with Italian flavours to create authentic and mouth-watering menu items. 

Refer to the restaurant website for more info!

Osteria Gallo 

Where: 7950 Rue St-Hubert

This family-owned restaurant is fairly new to the Montreal food scene and yet has still managed to leave a mighty impression on our city. 

The small, warm spot serves up some tasty dishes that will keep you coming back for more. 

Check it out here!

Pizzeria Napoletana

Where: 189 Rue Dante

What started out as a pool hall in 1948 has turned into one of the most popular Italian joints in the city. 

Pizzaria Napoletana is a Montreal favourite. Its authentic pizzas and pasta, combined with its affordability make this a spot everyone needs to check out. 

And, if you are not yet sold, this establishment is bring-your-own-wine!

The restaurant doesn't take reservations and there's always a line out the door so be prepared!

Get the details here!

Tre Marie

Where: 6934 Rue Clark

This long-standing Italian restaurant offers traditional dishes that will blow your taste buds away.

I am super indecisive, so I love ordering the pasta trio, where you get 3 different kinds of pasta with 3 different sauces! 

Make your reservation by calling the number on its website!

Fiorellino Snack Bar

Where: 470 Rue de la Gauchetière O. and 381 Avenue Laurier O.

Fiorellino is one of my more recent Italian discoveries and everything I have tried has very much impressed me. 

This restaurant's eye-catching interior and remarkable dishes have earned it a spot on this list.

This restaurant also has an after 9 special with lower prices!

Check out the menu here!

Il Pagliaccio

Where: 365 Avenue Laurier

I am not sure how this restaurant has managed to stay under the radar for so long, as the food is some of the best I have had in the city. 

This humble establishment may not have an internationally famous chef like some of the other establishments on this list but I can promise you that the food is worth every calorie. 

I love veal Milanese and theirs is one of the best I have ever tried — it is outstanding. But then again, so is everything that comes out of this kitchen.

Check it out here!

Luciano Trattoria

Where: 1212 Rue Saint-Zotique 

This cool restaurant found a home in a former garage in Little Italy and is one of those MTL gems that make our city the awesome place it is.

The colourful chairs and luminous décor give the space a hip, European feel, which I love. 

Some of the dishes I have tried and loved were the beef carpaccio and the cavatelli with meatballs! 

Find all the details here!

Via Dante

Where: 251 Rue Dante

This family establishment is one of my go-to spots when I am craving a big bowl of fresh, homemade pasta.

Located in Little Italy, right near the Jean-Talon market, Via Dante serves up a ton of savoury dishes. Its welcoming environment and fresh food have turned this eatery into a Montreal favourite. 

Check out the restaurant website here!

Elio’s Pizzeria

Where: 351 Rue Bellechasse

This fun, lively restaurant has been around since 1964. The authentic Neapolitan dishes include the usual pasta and pizza, as well as a few other dishes like focaccia and calamari. 

Located right outside of Little Italy, Elio’s Pizzeria offers a casual dining experience that will satisfy your pasta and pizza cravings. 

Check it out here!

Impasto

Where: 48 Rue Dante

Stefano Fait is a celebrity chef who also happens to be the author of a best selling cookbook. The Little Italy native opened up an epic Italian eatery right here in his hometown of Montreal. 

Fait partnered up with legendary restauranteur and chef Michele Forgione to create this minimalist eatery that creates authentic Italian dishes with a modern twist. 

Make your reservation here!

Il Miglio 

Where: 5235 Boul. St-Laurent

Il Miglio’s attention to detail and quality is what makes the restaurant stand out.

From fresh pasta and seasonally based dishes to phenomenal meatballs, Il Miglio is one of the most authentic Italian eateries in the city. 

Il Miglio also opened a counter in the new Time Out Market. So, if you want to try out the decadence at a more affordable price, now is your chance! 

Refer to the restaurant website here!

Chez Ennio

Where: 1978 Boul. de Maisonneuve O.

This bring-your-own-wine restaurant has been in business for over 30 years. 

One reviewer on Facebook wrote that owner "Ennio is the best host there is. The food is very good and the atmosphere is super charming and cozy!"

"The pasta is homemade, delicious, and the portions are huge (enough for lunch the next day). It is my go-to Italian place!"

This snug spot also makes for a great date night.

Get all the details on the restaurant Facebook page!

Café Gentile

Where: 9299 Ave. du Parc and 4126 Rue Sainte-Catherine

Café Gentile has been around since 1959. Known for its variety of sandwiches, fresh pasta, and classic coffees, Gentile has been serving up goodness to Montreal locals since its inception. 

It even opened a second location in Westmount. And, although the food is just as good, there is something magical about the original spot.

If you have never been, make sure to try the special iced tea!

See the full menu (including brunch) on the restaurant website here!

Barcola Bistro 

Where: 5607 Ave. du Parc

This underrated Italian eatery is one to put on your list. 

Chef Fabrizio Caprioli's small but hearty menu was designed to impress. 

Customers get a choice of three appetizers and three main dishes, all of which change regularly.

Every dining experience is different, but all of them more than satisfying.

Check out the restaurant website here!

La Bottega

Where: 65 Rue Saint-Zotique E.

This urban-chic Italian restaurant is known for its Neapolitan style dishes.

The wood oven pizzas are a customer favourite, in addition to the authentic pasta and fresh salads. And, who can forget the amazing wine options?

Find all the goodness here!

San Gennaro

Where: 69 Rue Saint-Zotique Est

San Gennaro is the little brother of La Bottega. The pizza counter serves Roman-style pizza as well as authentic gelato throughout the summertime. 

My order includes the potato and caciocavallo pizza and almost always a coffee.

This casual joint oozes authenticity.

Find it on Instagram here!


Happy eating!

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