1933 Sainte Catherine W. Atwater or Guy-Concordia metro
Tel. 935-4436 Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. Closed Saturday-Sunday. $25 for two before wine, taxes and service. Table d'hôte: $7.25 (noon); $7.50 (evening).
Once upon a time, 21 years ago in fact, there was a small Italian restaurant with the same name a few blocks west of here. It had roast piglet every day, right on the counter. It served pizza and spaghetti in small portions. The salads were good and there were always a couple of daily specials such as veal or lasagna. This was home-style cooking. Then the restaurant moved to its current location.
You are probably waiting for one of those tales that start with a nice small place getting successful, growing too big and going down the drain. This isn't one of those stories. Rôtisserie Italienne is still a nice, small place. The rotisserie part has disappeared. There is no more piggie on the menu and the bill of fare is a little smallerbut this is still family.
Tourists don't flock here. The windows on the street don't open up to give that faux-trattoir look that is all the downtown rage. Come in. Glance at the menu. Check the daily specials and look at what everyone else is eating. Order from the counter.
The marinated squid (which I couldn't find on the menu) was at almost every table. It came heaped on a lettuce salad. The house wine was Cervetteri, a decent SAQ plonk that's poured from a bottle, not a box. The pizza we ate was one of the best I've had for a while. Small, crisp and thin with good mozzarella and loaded with clams. We asked the chef for a half order of pasta with a simple sauce. He served us a plate of zitti in a freshly made tomato sauce. It was the perfect dish after pizza and salad. The espresso was good. The bill was decent (about $35 for two people(tax, tip, and half-litre of vino included).
Look around at the customers. People know each other. They know the staff. Notice that it is closed Saturday and Sunday. Who closes downtown on a Saturday? Maybe someone who is happy with what he's got.
This is a great spot to go after going to a movie or checking out the half-dozen used book stores on this strip of Ste. Catherine. Reviewed by Barry Lazar