After a few years of radio silence, Le Petit Italien posted images on its Facebook page of its windows freshly papered over. Turns out this was in anticipation of a well-loved Italian restaurant reopening last week to much applause.
The fanfare follows little more than a simple announcement late in January this year that one of the restaurant’s original owners was coming back to revive the spot. According to a report by Tastet, Le Petit Italien has been in business since 1999 and its locale has seen the likes of many Montreal figureheads in food, though more recent times have suggested some turbulence in terms of ownership.
After changing hands, including a brief stint with name changes such as Pinokio—even now, the address still comes up under the name Il Bernardino in Google searches—the operation has found new life with friendly faces at the helm: Christian Bisson (Mercuri) heads up the largely private import wine list as sommelier, with Evan Gubersky (Ludger), Alain Starosta (Comptoir 21), and Pablo Rojas (Provisions) addressing the needs of the kitchen.
The latter two principals had worked at this location previously as its chefs, with Rojas working with Federico Martino (Cho) to reinstate the food the location’s been known for: Italian classics such as meatballs, sausages, and carpaccio, in addition to the menu staple of pasta, all together in a menu that will turn with the seasons. Oh, and no pizza.
What’s more, this 55-seater (75 in the summer with its terrasse) marks one of the first designed by the estimable designer Zebulon Pérron, who gave the restaurant a face lift back in 2006. Montrealers looking to visit a piece of restauranteur history would do well to pay the “new” location a visit for a lunch or dinner service.
STATUS — Le Petit Italien is open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.