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Il Cortile
1442 Sherbrooke W., Passage de musée. Guy-Concordia métro

Tel. 843-8230 Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. $65 for two before wine, taxes and service. Table d'hôte: $9—$15 (noon); $17—$29.50 (evening).
For more than a decade now, this Italophiles' restaurant has been a better kept secret than the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile. Or should we say these restaurants, since in summer the terrace completely transforms the space. Your left brain knows you’re in Montreal, but the right tells you it's Tuscany; say Lucca or Siena.

The decor, like the menu and the service, is classic.The accent (Italian) is on fresh ingredients and unctuous service. There’s an exclusively Italian wine cellar bursting with private imports. Ask for advice. Unfortunately, the bread is neither Italian nor delectable.

Sample menu: Vitello tonnato, grigliata di legumi all'olio di olive, pappardelle al funghi misti, fettina di vitello al limone e vino bianco, petto di pollo ripieni con spinaci, gamberoni alla griglia con radicchio, radicchio rosso all'arancie, lasane all'ortolana, tortellini rosei o gorgonzola, torte, gelati.

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