A month after Marie-Claude Lortie's endorsement in La Presse, the casual new Italian restaurant from the Buonanotte group in the Quartier International's Unity development nets a rave from the food critic for the Montreal Gazette. At Fiorellino the "ambiance is fun-verging-on-decadent," writes Lesley Chesterman this week. Management may not want to brand it as a pizzeria, "but when the pizza’s this good, why not?"
The menu beyond the pizza list is where Fiorellino shines, however. This thanks to chef Erik Mandracchia, formerly of Impasto. Chesterman enjoys starters like a salad of red and golden beets, creamy ricotta, arugula, and pistachio pesto, and a king eryngii mushroom salad with parmesan and gremolata. "Lovely," is how the critic describes a porchetta tonnata. Butternut squash with chilies, walnuts, crème fraîche, greens and olive oil is "an absolute hit." Mandracchia has a deft hand with pasta too. His pappardelle with pork and cabbage ragu, and tomato gnocchi are "swoonworthy."
Save room for Fiorellino's dessert, counsels Chesterman. Persimmons on sabayon and bombolone toast with caramel are good, if a bit heavy. "I far preferred the velvety pannacotta topped with preserved cherries and a couple of biscotti. Perfect!" Add a strong wine list, sharp service, and affordable prices, and Fiorellino registers three stars on four.