The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 10.30.02


My secret: Piazza Perfection

When I visit a new restaurant for the first time, I am privately hoping that I will discover a place that I can call my own and guard as a secret so as to impress friends and have the chef all to myself. However, that just wouldn't be fair to diners or the restaurateur.

Bocca di Piazza lives up to its moniker as an inviting place to meet and eat. While it's not located in the town square, it is a shining star on Montreal's West Island.

It is all about food here and the décor is inviting, , and fresh. Sandy tones accent good linen and crisp table settings. The service compliments the style and individual attention seems natural to those working the front of house.

Backed up by a great chef, an inspired symphony awaits. You are the audience as the conductor and the orchestra play. Plates arrive with flare and understated grace. Confetti of colored peppers or a dusting of pepper makes good presentation, as does height and masterful arrangement.

Beyond the usual Italian fare, this restaurant includes a couple of rare offerings. Bresaola, (dry cured beef slices) and Carpaccio, (raw thinly sliced filet mignon seasoned with lemon, basil, olive oil, spinach and shaved parmesan).

Even more rare is hand made gnocchi which, if not done right, can be stodgy and tasteless. The chef here will not share his recipe for the best gnocchi my partner and I have ever tasted.

Plump, toothy dumplings swim in a heavenly creamy Gorgonzola sauce. All the antipasti in the world could not satisfy like these dumplings.

Appetizers here are easy on the eyes and the stomach and offerings such as fresh asparagus with Parmesan and Boccancino with tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and onion delight. Good zuppa such as pasta e faglioli (Italian bean soup) will set the stage for your main course.

There is a lot to choose from and I suggest you have a salad as you order your main .We opted for a simple house salad and were pleased with the baby fresh greens topped with slices of fennel and supported by radicchio and endive. Balsamic vinegar and oil didn't interrupt or over shadow creating a nice balance.

A Catullo red wine was recommended and paired with our selections while Pellegrino cleansed as we ate.

Pasta lovers will head straight to the 17 choices and veal lovers will select from 12 offerings.

Chicken and beef lovers will choose from items such as Pollo Milanese or grilled filet.

Seafood lovers may want to choose Cozza Finnocio (mussels with fennel) or seafood risotto containing items such as shrimp, scallops, mussels and calamari.

We accepted a recommendation for Vitello (veal) and were not disappointed. My partner indulged in a spinach, prosciutto, and cheese stuffed version while I chose a grilled chop. Both were meltingly tender and adorned with wild mushrooms.

Madeira sauce along with grilled veggies and a small portion of pasta completed the plates.

The grilled veal chop is man-sized and smoky underneath its deep mushroom blanket. We anticipated good desserts and were presented with a tray of delights to choose from.

Cheesecake of a different breed resides here and was a wise choice. It is light and fluffy with just the right amount of Marscapone to satisfy. Good Italian cappuccino brought our evening full circle.

A nightly table d'hote based on fresh seasonal ingredients and a tasting menu is available for reasonable prices while luncheon specials allow a daytime visit to sample promised goodness.

Ristorante Bocca di Piazza is located at 3360 Sources Boulevard in Dollard des Ormeaux on the West Island. Reservations-514-421-1422.