The family behind departed Little Italy restaurant Casa Napoli are back, with a lunch-friendly fast casual counter in downtown Montreal, named Brotelli Pasta Bar.
It opened this week in the recently renovated food court of the CIBC Tower, and looks to be a cut above much of the average food court fare available downtown (and also much less corporate). It’s run by Joey and Orlando Napolitano, the grandsons of Casa Napoli’s Giuseppe Napolitano, who founded that restaurant back in 1978.
While the Napolitanos are sticking with Italian fare here, the approach is far more casual than at the longtime restaurant — the menu focuses in on pasta, with 11 options served as to-go boxes. Some options lean classic — fettuccine with meat sauce, tomato-laden gnocchi — while a few playful options are there too, like the Casa Napoli with penne and plenty of tomato, but also dried figs and raisins. Then there’s the Nola, rigatoni loaded up with tomato sauce, pancetta, black olives, peas, basil, parmesan and scamorza.
There’s also a couple of options for those fearful of wheat — rutabaga pasta and zucchini pasta (“zoodles”, if you prefer) are on the menu with a classic tomato sauce and parmesan.
Given its early opening hours, Brotelli will also serve Italian espresso and pastries.
Casa Napoli closed back in 2013, and its location on St-Laurent was slated to be converted into a multi-million dollar theatre and restaurant under different owners sometime around 2015, although that project never eventuated.
STATUS — Brotelli Pasta Bar is open inside 1155 René-Lévesque W from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, closed weekends.