Over the weekend, my husband and three of my kids took a quick overnight trip to Montreal to help celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday.
The gathering was held at Il Fornetto (http://ilfornetto.com/fr/) in Lachine, Québec. My husband’s family frequently attends and they have spoken very highly of the food. We had high expectations.
As usual, I attempted to familiarize myself with the menu to find the “friendliest” meal to satisfy both my vegetarian needs and as close to keto as I could find without resigning myself to a cold salad. No pasta for me! (In an Italian restaurant you say? Pure folly!)
So, while the rest of my family ordered from the main courses, I resorted to the Antipasti. In particular, the Melanzane alla parmigiana (eggplant parmesan). I was relieved to find the eggplant to not be breaded. I was also appreciative of the delicate flavour and tender texture. The only complaint was that this was not offered as a main and did not come with anything but the eggplant. This would make a delightful main course for like-minded individuals to me.
Although the serving staff were pleasant, and highly attentive to the family members they had previously met, there were times during the evening when familiarity bred overlooking others at the table. (My request for a latte after dinner was completely ignored and my husband took pity on my efforts to order dessert by being more forceful than I.). I understand that the larger size of our group and specific billing requirements added challenges to the servers and I also note that there were a few other parties in the upstairs dining area. It soured my opinion somewhat, but did not define the evening.
I will briefly go back to the subject of dessert. My choice – based on seeing my daughter’s choice and not the menu – was crème brulé. Perhaps it was rushed during preparation, but the taste was a little off. Normally, a crème brulé has a caramelized (read burnt sugar) crust over a light custard. Surprisingly, good crème brulé does not taste burnt nor eggy. The custard was light and not eggy. However, it was also a little flavourless and overpowered by the particularly burnt taste of the crust. Overdone. To be fair, my daughter had no such complaint, but I didn’t taste hers. (My youngest daughter has just added her opinion that the fettucine Alfredo was also a bit flavourless unless you add Parmesan. She does not like Parmesan and was underwhelmed.)
The only other current issue with the restaurant is the construction surrounding the area. The website provides a small foreshadowing of potential parking problems. A more detailed map on the website would likely help visitors. Otherwise, the interior was clean and modern and I’m certain that the location would be beautiful in the summer.
The price point is likely a bit higher than average with our bill for five (without alcohol – and without my missing latté!) was around the $260+ tip mark.
I’m not certain I would drive the two hours from Ottawa purely to visit Il Fornetto again, but I also wouldn’t avoid the restaurant. Overall, mostly a pleasant dining experience and obviously one more appreciated by our family than us. A solid 3/5 from me.