A large new Italian restaurant is on its way to Old Montreal-Cité du Multimédia, as Joiea Sociale prepares to open this weekend (Saturday June 2).
It’s the first new venture in a while for restaurant group Ville-Marie Collection, known for steakhouse L’Atelier d’Argentine, fancy French spot Decca 77, and Crescent Street’s Wienstein & Gavino’s. It also marks a very fast turnover for the Wellington Street space that housed grill restaurant Mercuri until it closed to reformat and move a couple of weeks ago.
Joiea Sociale is using its space in a few ways — first and foremost is the restaurant, which appears to be leaning into fairly classic Italian fare — think garlicky spaghetti aglio e olio, a mushroom risotto, panzanella salad, veal scallopini, and pizza (the non-overloaded kinds: prosciutto-arugula, or margherita). “An unpretentious, accessible, vibrant and engaging bar and eatery destination” is how Ville-Marie Collection CEO Brian Bendix describes it.
The restaurant has brought in a Venuto, Italy-based chef, Luigi Greco, to oversee the operation.
Beyond the 100-seat restaurant is a 70-seat bar, with a focus on aperitivos, the dry, pre-dinner Italian drinking tradition. Perhaps most intriguing, though, is the plan to open a cooking school on-site in the near future, with Greco leading 12-person classes on both Italian cooking, and wine and cocktail pairing. Those are set to start in July.
STATUS — Joiea Sociale opens Saturday June 2 at 645 Wellington. Open weekday lunches (Monday to Friday) from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Monday to Saturday evenings from 5 p.m. to late. Closed Sunday.