Osteria Venti MontrealPosted By Jennifer Ho Aug 19 2011 · 2 comments · Dining Out, Old Montreal
Due to its location in the Old Port, it is no wonder that Osteria Venti attracts an older, more sophisticated crowd. As we waited to be seated, a foursome of seniors pushed past us, completely foregoing the line while quickly beckoning at their friends outside, grabbing the two remaining barstools. The hostess who was away at the moment immediately noticed and notified them that reservations were necessary and recommended Philemon as the next closest bar, if a drink was all they wanted. I thought that was a particularly humorous start to the evening.
Our waitress explained the dining style of the restaurant is however you want it – some diners like to go the traditional way and order one of every course (crostini, antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni) while others like to mix and match, tapas-style. Others simply order like you would at most other restaurants, in other words an entree, a main and a dessert. We just went with what we thought looked and sounded the best – so to start off with, I had the braised octopus with fennel and capers while my friend had the bucatini with guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon). The octopus was well charred but I felt like there was too much – I had trouble finishing the octopus and it felt like almost a main dish as opposed to a starter. There could have been more fennel as well. The bucatini was perfect.
For our mains, my friend had the rabbit cooked Ischia style with tomatoes and olives. Sounding deceptively simple, the dish evoked more flavors than you would expect – and that’s a good thing. But a warning to those who don’t like to eat much meat – the dish is extremely meaty. I had a bite and I was immediately glad I hadn’t ordered that specific dish (I had been considering it). Instead, I had the beet filled ravioli with butter, poppy seeds and sage sauce. That was single handedly one of the most interesting and unique kinds of pasta I have ever had; the beets made the pasta a tad sweet, and the poppy seeds and butter drenched ravioli made each bite an experience in itself. We chose garlic sauteed rapini and polenta to accompany the dishes.
Good ambiance, good service, prices are reasonable.
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