Le Latini Italian Restaurant - Montreal, Quebec: Considered as one of the best, if not the best Italian restaurants in Montreal, le Latini Italian restaurant was definitely good, but I cannot say it is was the best Italian restaurant I have ever experienced.
We dined at Latini, which is located on the corner of René-Levesque Blvd and Jeanne-Mance on a Monday evening. Upon our arrival we were greeted (not as warm and welcoming as you would get in an authentic Italian restaurant in some parts of Italy) and we were quickly shown to our table, which was located on the first floor (Latini has seating upstairs as well). Our table had a good view of Latini'sopen kitchen, and the long seafood and meat display case.
Once seated, we ordered a glass of Italian sparkling wine and took the opportunity to check out Latini's decor and atmosphere. The restaurant was sparsely filled, even for a Monday it was much quieter than I expected, especially since many consider Latini one of the best restaurants in Montreal. The décor was relaxed, but the layered, white tablecloths, white cloth napkins and upscale dinnerware gave it a more luxurious feel. However, the waiter's ill fitting, royal blue jackets and simple paper menus kept the feeling much more relaxed than high-end, fine dining.
The menu was definitely all Italian and not to be cliché, really had something for everyone. The starters ranged from fried zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, to carpaccio alla veneta – thin slices of raw filet mignon served with mild cheese, basil, lemon and primolio. Prices ranged from $12CAN - $30CAN (for the Alaskan king crab). And of course, a nice variety of soups and salads were available as well ($9CAN– $17CAN).
Latini's pasta section boasted 15 different dishes; I think if you could imagine a dish, they had it, or could whip one up. Pasta prices ranged from $24CAN - $38CAN.
The main courses were just as varied with a good selection of seafood, Chilean sea bass, Alaskan king salmon, Dover sole, halibut, scallops, shrimp and squid. For the meat lovers, Latini did not disappoint with offers of Cornish hen, veal, Colorado lamb, a fillet of buffalo, and a small mix of beef dishes.
To start, we shared a pasta course of spaghetti lobster. While it was tasty, it surely was not as delicious as some south Italian spaghetti lobster dishes I’ve had in Italy. The best description would be bland and uninspiring.
For our main courses, I had the grilled beef filet on the bone, plus a side of mashed potatoes. My partner had the halibut with potatoes and asparagus. The beef, well, it was huge; it took up half of my plate, but for $63CAN, it was presented pretty much like a huge hunk of meat on a bone, thrown onto a plate. Oh yes, there was a small side of vegetables, but as presentations go, it was a big flop. However, I was there to eat my food, not just look at it, so on to the taste… dull! Yes, it was cooked medium rare as I requested, and yes, it was tender and juicy, but the taste simply did nothing to make it anything special. Simply put, the fillet was huge, but my disappointment with it was even larger. On a good note, the mashed potatoes were amazing!
My partner’s halibut was nice, but again, it lacked any qualities which would make one say, “this was one of the best fish courses I’ve ever had”. The potatoes and asparagus were fresh and nicely prepared, but the centerpiece of his dinner, the halibut, would never win any awards.
We complimented our dinner with an Italian Cortaccia Pinot, priced at $79CAN and recommended by our waiter as a perfect match to our dinners. It was a far cry from a perfect match to our dinners, and an even further cry from worth the $79CAN. It was harsh, especially for a pinot, and tasted much more like a table wine than the gentle, floral, full bodied wine we said that we wanted.
After a number of less than satisfactory courses, it came time for desert. We played it safe and went with the desert sampler plate which had tiramisu, chocolate mousse, crème brulée and fig cake. Finally we had something which we could rate as outstanding. That is, other than the fig cake, which, regardless how good it was, would never be one of our favorites.
Service throughout dinner was courteous and attentive, never rushed, but never anything that matched the $300CAN+ we spent on dinner. Now, if you are a regular reader of Bombastic Life, you’ll notice I mentioned the prices much more than normal, and that is because the food, service, atmosphere and overall experience just do not justify the prices charged.
After all is said and done, would I go back to Latini? No, probably not. If so, maybe it would be for lunch or to try some of their other pasta dishes. Latini Italian Restaurant in Montreal, is not a place that I could enthusiastically recommend and with that said, Latini receives our rating of between bombastic and not.
What I liked: The mashed potatoes, the desert sample platter.
What I didn’t like: My mediocre beef dish.
Rating: Between bombastic and not.
Le Latini Italian Restaurant address and telephone number:
1130, rue Jeanne-Mance
Montreal, Quebec H2Z 1L7