Sadly (for some) the cold weather has abruptly arrived. We’ve already seen the first flakes of snow cover the greater Montreal with a thin white layer. Fortunately, who says winter and snow, says Christmas, family and of course scrumptious meals and comfort food, which will undoubtedly satiate us and keep us warm. Certain dishes are typical for the season, such as meat pie and turkey, whilst others are specific to individual traditions. During the cold weather, when I am not visiting my family, I have a weakness for wood-fired oven pizzas. Yum! Montreal is lucky enough to have an amazing selection of authentic Italian restaurants. On the other hand, some of the more modern restaurants have recreated the wood-fired oven pizzas. Luckily, several of them nail it. I decided to go visit the very recent Pizzeria Caldo, located in the Angus Technopole (also newly opened) on Molson street, north of Sherbrooke E, in Rosemont-Petite-Patrie.
At first sight, Pizzeria Caldo is absolutely beautiful. The decor is industrial; the ceilings are imposingly high and adorned with modern chandeliers. The brick walls and wooden tables give a rustic, warm contrast, which, according to me, gives an enjoyable atmosphere, especially in a restaurant. What I appreciate even more than the decor is the distinguished smell of fresh bread emanating from the open kitchen. Yum! A staff member kindly greets us gives us the choice of our table. We decide however to sit at the large U shaped bar, near the kitchen and the wood-fired oven. Needless to say that I like to be in the center of the action when it comes to food and drinks! The clientele is very diversified. There are groups of friends, families with children, couples ... Evidently, there must be little something to please everyone.
The barman briefly explains that their specialty is of course the pizza, baked in a traditional wood oven imported from Italy. Their selection of cocktails is interesting but small, although I do appreciate the variety of their wine list. By looking at the menu, I notice that there is an extensive choice of mains compared to the very little options of appetizers. We finally settle on some house recommendations, as well as some of our own selections. Unfortunately, they do not serve fresh pasta, therefore, we did not choose from this portion of the menu.
Our dinner begins with the salmon tartare, served with delicious homemade flat bread. I’m guessing they cleverly took leftover pizza dough and made a crispy bread and serve it with certain appetizers. Bravo to cutting down the waste! The tartare itself, although very spicy (my request), is a little bland. Made with yogurt, shallots, cucumbers and caviar, I find it strange that only the yogurt is mixed with the salmon. The cucumbers, shallots and caviar are simply laid on top, almost as presentation elements. It consequently had a lack of texture. I ended up eating it with a ton of bread, whereas I usually eat most of my tartare alone.
We then enjoyed the authentic beef carpaccio. Served with traditional elements such as roquette and parmesan cheese, as well as their own twist on the classic, a caper mayonnaise. The beef was fresh yet very lightly seasoned. However, thanks to their mayonnaise, the dish itself was very tasty.
To finish the round of appetizers, we choose a new entry on the menu, the fried calamari “salad”, which, according to me, is not a salad at all. The calamari is good and the dough, crispy. They are served on a bed of tempura vegetables and a spicy mayonnaise. The sauce is good and generously hot. The vegetables (bell peppers and zucchinis) are very coarsely cut, to say the least. Not the most appealing plate visually. Luckily, the star of the dish really is the best part.
The long-awaited moment finally comes and we are served their delicious wood-fired oven pizza and it does not disappoint. Although, the recipe almost guaranties its success; whipped cream, parmesan, fior di latte, (fresh mozzarella cheese), smoked prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, green onions and salami. Wow. The crust is delicious; fresh and crispy but tender nonetheless. The smokey taste of wood, required with such a pizza, is compelling! The portion of mozzarella cheese and proscuitto is surprisingly generous. We certainly chose the right pizza.
All in all, the service is enjoyable and professional, despite their very recent opening. The bartender and other members of the staff are courteous and very attentive to customer requests. Furthermore, the pizza is remarkable and definitely the star of the evening. Although the beginning of the meal was not perfect, it definitely ended with a bang.