"Ospitalità Italiana" is an Italian seal of quality that aims to protect the "Made in Italy" fine dining experience and to promote the delicacies of authentic Italian cuisine abroad through certified restaurants that guarantee the standards of quality of Italian hospitality. The selected certified few take part in an international network of quality restaurants by having completed the strict evaluation. As a result, they gain the “Ospitalità Italiana” seal on display. One therefore knows that when visiting one of these ambassadors, they will receive a quality Italian culinary experience.
Useless to say that this prestigious seal guarantees the authenticity of an Italian restaurant. Whether it's the quality of its ingredients or even the cooking style they use, each restaurant is meticulously evaluated by the Unioncamere (the Italian Chamber of Commerce). It’s pretty obvious that when the landmark of Montreal supper clubs, Buonanotte presented its brand new snack bar Fiorellino (both certified Ospitalita Italiana), I was eager to try it out.
Located on La Gauchetière Street at the intersection of Saint-Alexandre, Fiorellino is directly between the city center and Old Montreal. A rather professional and accessible district, Quartier International is definitely not the busiest sector, despite its prime location. Upon entering, we first notice the beautiful Italian pastries showcased in the cafe section of the restaurant. The décor is anything but ordinary. Modern, with a retro touch worthy of the 70s in New York City. Their beautiful wood-burning oven is covered in glossy white tiles that extend to the adjacent walls. And despite the more industrial side of the décor, standing out are beautiful splashes of color; teal tiled walls, brick colored leather chairs, visually, this snack bar is superb.
I would not describe this restaurant as being a simple pizzeria or a "snack bar". Besides the beautiful décor or even the warm service staff, Fiorellino’s menu is worthy of much more.
To start, the Prosciutto e Melone, a typical Italian dish, is a definite must. The proscuitto is served with cantaloupe, mozzarella di Buffala, basil and drizzled with olive oil. This appetizer puts all the ingredients at the forefront of their flavors. The simplicity of the dish allows us to appreciate the impeccable quality of each element. Simple and fresh, this is a perfect summer dish. Next, the Burrata, served with mushrooms, broccolini and Italian breadsticks. We are surprised to see the generous portion of Burrata. What a pleasure it is to cut through an intact ball of fresh Burrata, releasing its creamy center. The mushrooms and the broccolini are lightly sautéed and simply seasoned. Delicious, once again.
We start our main courses with the bucatini Amatriciana. A nearby table asks their charming waitress if the pasta is homemade. To this question, she answers "yes, as is everything else on the menu". Always nice to hear! The bucatini is tossed in a delicious tomato sauce with onions, red wine and guanciale. The pasta is full of amazing flavors despite the simplicity of the ingredients. Yum!
Finally, the pizzas. Although the owners prefer not to categorize Fiorellino as a pizzeria, their pizza is delicious and impeccably cooked in their majestic wood oven. First, our selection among the pizza Bianco -without tomato sauce-, the Caprese. A white pizza topped with marinated tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and Fior di Latte (mozzarella). Then our pizza Rosso, topped with Fior di Latte and spicy Soppressata. Both very different but equally delicious. The dough is fluffy and crispy and the ingredients could not be fresher.
Fiorellino is distinguished by the quality of its ingredients, the authenticity of its menu and the warmth of its staff. Montreal is blessed to have, once again, a fantastic location that heightened the bar for other pizzerias. Affordable and accessible, Fiorellino must be tried and tried again.