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Barcola Bistro: An exceptional Italian bistro
Barcola Bistro offers authentic Italian cuisine inspired by traditional recipes from the Northeast of Italy. Located in the heart of Mile End and on the doorstep of Outremont, this small establishment is also one of the best Italian restaurants in Montreal.
Barcola is a neighbourhood in the city of Trieste, in the North-East of Italy, near Slovenia and Croatia. Chef Fabrizio Caprioli started his career in the kitchen at a small restaurant in Trieste called Osteria La Cagnassa.
He arrived in Montreal in 2004 and worked at Buonanotte. In 2010, he met his wife Danielle Robichaud and together they decided to open a small restaurant. Living in the Mile-End, they saw the possibilities of gastronomy in the neighbourhood and decided to establish themselves on Parc Avenue. Barcola Bistro opened in 2013.
The small neighbourhood bistro seats about 30 inside, and about 15 on the terrace. In a simple, unpretentious and cozy bistro decor, Barcola’s atmosphere is welcoming and warm. Small wooden tables, stools, a bar in the center and the kitchen in the back; the owners and the Italian architect Lucas Rossi designed the space. Vinyl lovers will also be impressed by the chef’s extensive collection.
Barcola is most impressive when it comes to the dishes. If at first the chef wanted to make a small Italian tapas restaurant-bar, the customers wanted something else from him. Barcola now offers a delicious menu of traditional Italian cuisine with a rather modern technique.
The menu changes daily, at lunch and dinner, and includes a few appetizers and three main courses – all between $8 and $16. There is always a vegetarian option, pasta, a fish dish, and sometimes a meat dish. Fabrizio prepares the daily menus and is assisted in the kitchen by his new chef de cuisine Bruno De Angelis (ex Bottega). The plates are generous in their flavours, great for sharing, and are truly delicious thanks to the high quality and authentic Italian products used, among other things. Even if the menu is constantly changing, we generally recommend the house pasta, the scamorza cheese if it is available, and we suggest you save room for the Barcola chocolate cake.
Joining the couple as a partner of Barcola is manager Francesca Pala who ensures the well-being of the warm service. To drink, there is a small but very nice wine list developed by Danielle. About sixty choices of bottles, mainly of Italian private importation and whose price averages around $65. The house also offers a few cocktails; the most popular of the house include the favourite aperol spritz and the negroni. They also make a cancaro cocktail, with lime, prosecco and mint which is quite good.
What makes Barcola Bistro an address that we love is the homey yet professional atmosphere of the place. The atmosphere is casual, but the dishes are well thought out. The customers quickly become regulars, since they feel welcomed like at home.
The restaurant also offers Italian-style lunches every Sunday from 11am to 3pm; typical dishes, like those prepared by nonna to bring the family together. A must try. The restaurant is also open from Tuesday to Saturday night.
Written by Sophie Monkman
Photography by Daniele Tomelleri