While many restaurants are scraping by during the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number are sadly closing for good. Others, on the other hand, are going against the grain by branching out and expanding.
Take the two-headed Italian caffè operating under the Gentile Moniker. After successfully copying their longstanding Ahuntsic concept into Westmount in 2016 (reviewed here), their next step was to open a pizzeria right next door.
In the short months since its opening last fall, Gentile's Pizza Parlour has generated some buzz, not least due to its eye-catching design. As a Westmount resident myself, I figured I would check it out by getting some takeout for my family on this first Sunday of spring.
Gentile's pizza offering revolves around two continental varieties; New York-style slices as well as square Sicilian pies. Completing the menu are finger-foods for starters, a couple of salads, a handful of Italian comfort classics and soft-serve ice cream.
Our starters, regrettably, fluctuated between awful and average at best. The arancini lacked any semblance of outside crisp and inside runniness, and were served with a thick, revolting fonduta dip. At $3.5 a ball, these were an overpriced flop. Our eggplant fritters fared a little better but again lacked that exterior crunch, while the chicken wings were dry-ish and forgettable.
As for the pizza, I opted for the simple cheese pie; my benchmark when sampling a new pizzeria. Gentile went with a secret blend of four types of cheese which, combined with the sauce and basil, resulted in a beautifully-seasoned sweet/salty mix. All of this sat on a spongy crust with a nice chew in the middle, although hard and brittle near the edges.
All in all, this is a solid pizza; but at $27 for a 16-incher with no "premium" toppings, one might consider it expensive.
"saffron & parmigiano fonduta, pepper"
"sweet tomato passata, salted ricotta"
"cacciatore style, nduja ranch sauce, marinara"
"house sauce, parlour's cheese blend, fresh basil"
As with several of my recent reviews, it is a shame to do takeout from this pizza parlour and not enjoy its décor. Designed by none other than Zébulon Perron, the retro-chic space is truly remarkable.
The look, which is highlighted by diagonal tiling patterns, a golden hue and neon lights, was inspired by 80s New York pizzerias and arcades. The final product is an exercise in nostalgia mixed with modernity and warmth.
Food-wise, the inconsistency between those mediocre starters and great pizza lands me in a love/hate spot with Pizza Parlour; which is not any different from my relationship with the adjacent caffè.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $22.67
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.