Macaroni Bar, Montreal

Celebrating the cuisine of a pizzeria may seem peculiar in a high design hipster restaurant, but in the packed Montreal restaurant scene, conspicuousness helps. Indeed, Macaroni Bar, on St. Laurent, has swagger and panache – much more-so than the restaurant it replaced (Restaurant 55°).

Under its new guise, the large space has been re-designed and is at once sleek and quietly sexy. But even if it weren’t, who ever moved to the St Laurent for peace and quiet?

Considering its location, the cleanly designed and ambitiously structured interior, and its resulting clientele, this breezy resto-lounge needn’t take its food so seriously. Happily, the kitchen is managing just fine, clamoring for the attention of the pizza-craving area dwellers.

The menu offers nouveau-ified versions of traditional pizzeria fare with various innovative techniques – think plump steamed poutine-style gnocchi ($11.00) and sauce-drenched pizzas with buffalo mozzerella and capers ($15.00). While traditional Italian food can sometimes be heavy on the olive oil, Macaroni dishes err on the refined side.

The stand-outs on the menu are the “L’inizo” (small plates), which include a salmon tartare ($11.00) and a small but well-prepared chacouterie and cheese plate ($11.00). Pastas are somewhat standard, like the pappardelle Bolognese with parmesan ($15.00), and whole wheat penne de blé with an arrabbiata sauce ($14.00).

but it also happens to be the best dish in the house; think upscale mac & cheese, with the cheese being gorgonzola and parmesan.

By the time we were devouring dessert – goat cheese pannacotta with blueberries ($7.00), and bread pudding with caramelized apple compote ($7.00), the large space became so very full – with a hip crowd of girl groups and casual, jean-wearing couples – we couldn’t bear to leave. Relocating to the full-length cocktail bar, we sat back and watch the restaurant transform into somewhat of a happening lounge, which always makes for an exciting grand finale.

Address: 4448 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC
Contact: 514-287-0287
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Area: Plateau
Venue: Restaurant
Hours: Dinner: Nightly: 5:00pm – 12:00am
Price Range: $$$ (within reach)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express

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