The 28th edition of Montreal's Italian festival runs from August 6 to August 22 and features concerts, comedy, culinary capsules, an opera evening and a drive-in event.
What's on at ItalfestMTL?
Most of the events will take place virtually, but there will be a two-night drive-in theatre event in Kirkland and guided tours of Montreal's Little Italy.
The first day of the virtual events, on August 7, will broadcast a recurring children's event called Storytime in Italian. Read by Sara Ottoboni in Italian and interpreted by Tina Mancini, the first story, Ti Ricordi La Pioggia, is a tale about a girl who's sad that she can't see her friends and family, but uses her imagination to feel better about being socially distant.
On August 14 and 21, the festival will host guided tours of Little Italy, which begin in front of Casa d'Italia on Rue Jean-Talon. The tour, over two hours long, consists of a "historical introduction about the Italian community in Montreal," a tour of Little Italy's attractions, with a stop for Italian pastries.
The tour will also consist of stops on Rue Dante and Boul. Saint-Laurent, La Madonna della Difesa church and Dante Park.
The recurring drive-in theatre event will take place on August 14 and 15 in Kirkland. On August 14, the festival will host a viewing of The Chain,an English-language play by Vitorio Rossi, and August 15's showing will play Ma cosa ci dice il cervello by Riccardo Milani, an Italian-language film with English subtitles.
Reservations are required for many of the events. You can consult the full festival event schedule here.
While there are a million and one spots to enjoy a 5 à 7 in the city, not everywhere does happy hour quite like this Montreal restaurant in the Village.
Resto Keela serves $6 drinks from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., including house draft beer, house red or white wine, and speed rail mixed drinks, which is a choice of vodka, rye, rum, or gin — a pretty hard drink deal to beat.
As for food, you can go every week and try a different $6 dish at happy hour. "The $6 bites change from week to week but we always offer 3-5 options," owners Kristin Murphy and Johnny Hamilton told MTL Blog.
I went on September 10 and got to try green beans with a cashew romesco sauce and feta crumble, chorizo sausage, chicken Kaarage with kimchi cucumbers, and organic cherry tomato salad with blue cheese. And I kid you not when I say these dishes all take your taste buds on a culinary trip to heaven.
Keela's full menu is also filled with tons of unique dishes for you to try. The celery root carpaccio is hands down my favourite.
Every Friday night, you can hear the sweet voice of Bud Rice sing live at the restaurant.