Elena, the more casual wood-fired pizza (and more) restaurant from two Nora Gray co-owners (Emma Cardarelli and Ryan Gray) along with Marley Sniatowsky, opened up in Saint-Henri last week.
The restaurant had its pizza oven custom-built for the Notre-Dame West space, and is keeping its pies simple with a focus on a well-rounded naturally-leavened dough. Those pizzas are accompanied by a selection of pastas (the carb that helped make Cardarelli into a Montreal Italian food icon), salads, and roasted bream and rabbit, cooked in that same oven — and it’s rounded out with a neat selection of Italian-leaning natural wine.
But then there’s the design — Elena takes over an abandoned bar (the former Au Vieux Pub), giving the 3,000 square foot space a major transformation.
“It’s Italian modern, lots of colours, lots of textures, really fun, and pretty slick actually,” Gray told Eater on opening day — check out those coloured banquettes, velvety textures, and strip lighting along the edges of the room, courtesy of designer Kyle Adams Goforth, who was also behind the decor at nearby Loïc, and Outremont day-and-night spot Boxermans.