Cavalli Restaurant located in the heart of downtown Montreal claims a status of being an absolutely trendy restaurant offering a seasonal menu of fresh ingredients. Designed by the well-known architect Miguel Cancio Martins, Cavalli Restaurant is an upscale dining restaurant. Being in the business of exploring claims of restaurants amongst other things, we set out to investigate how much was true and how much was all hype.
The First Impression: The Cavalli Restaurant was definitely trendy. The first thing that hit us as we stepped in was that it seemed like a place that just tried too hard. Trendy draws a fine line between being cool, warm and intimate and being cold and pretentious. The Cavalli Restaurant was not on the favorable side of the line.
Décor and Ambience: The Cavalli Restaurant was decorated in hues of pink, lavender, purple and cream. The chairs were all in pinks and greens, arranged in mismatched color order in a room that had strange wall hangings and light fixtures. Modern chic was the intention, but it was a bit lost on the diners. The bar was in vivid purple and seemed disjointed from the room. The lower level had seating for 160 people and the upper level which was a private dining area was made to seat 150 people.
The Food: The menu at the Cavalli Restaurant offered what any normal Italian restaurant would have offered. There were no signature dishes or other surprising entrees that had us in a food-frenzy grip. There were quite a few starters, six pasta first courses, and the regular meat dishes with filet mignon, veal chops, rib-eye, rack of lamb and veal cheeks and fish dishes with tuna, scallops, swordfish, Chilean sea bass and the fresh catch of the day.
We started our food investigation with the Tagliolini with wild mushrooms and truffle flavored olive oil and buffalo mozzarella. The dish was expensive and didn’t do any justice to the price. Having being disappointed and 30$ CAN down, we moved onto our main course choices; Braised Veal Cheeks with roasted root vegetables and crispy shitake mushrooms and the Australian Rack of Lamb with roasted sweet and spicy peppers, lemon sections, feta, olives, braised escarole and split pea puree. Both the dishes failed to stimulate our taste buds and wow us. The veal was tender and juicy, but the vegetables and mushrooms served alongside were over cooked and extremely dry. The lamb had no flavor, was insipid and very dry. Not the best way for a lamb to be cooked for sure!
The Service: The service at Cavalli Restaurant doesn’t deserve any points. To keep in with the modern chic ambience they were trying to create, the restaurant had picked young women dressed in slinky purple dresses to match the décor, to serve the food and drinks. These women were more decorative than effective and the service was below par. We could not help thinking that had the restaurant invested a bit more money and effort in training the staff instead of dressing them fashionably, the place would have worked much more efficiently.
The Calculated Impression: Our experience at the Cavalli Restaurant was far from pleasing. There was so much of an effort and stress spent on making the place trendy that they seemed to have forgotten what a restaurant should be about; warmth, coziness, good service and most importantly good food. The over-priced food is not worth the visit in anyway.
What I liked: The location of the Cavalli Restaurant.
What I didn’t like: The ambience, the overpriced food and the below average service at the Cavalli Restaurant.
Rating: Between Bombastic and Not
Address and Telephone Number Cavalli Ristorante and Bar 2040 Rue Peel
QC H3A 2R4