If you live in Montreal, then you for sure know about one of our city’s most beloved restaurants: Café Gentile. Anyone who was anyone would meet and eat in the garment district’s local café, making Gentile a local hot spot for fashionistas, creative types, big businessmen (and women), and of course, anyone trying to break into the exclusive club that was once Montreal’s fashion world.
Well, if you weren’t one of the many who used to hang out at Gentile in Chabanel, then you’ve definitely tried their Westmount location that opened spring 2016, nearly six decades after the original, bringing all the fan favourites to a new neighborhood. When Ignazio Gentile’s children opened the new spot, they brought all of their signature dishes along with them and of course, added a few newer items to appeal to their new community, all of which have quickly become staples.
When Anthony, his sister Anna-Maria opened Café Gentile, I don’t even think they could have anticipated just how successful the place would be. In the summer season, they have this incredible terrace that allows you to enjoy eating outdoors and run into all of their usual suspects, because trust me, when you hit up Gentile once, you quickly become a regular. Although the food is what attracts patrons, people also love the vibe and they incredible customer service; you eat there once and you are immediately family. They’ve created a community atmosphere that is so welcoming… that, plus the coffee is A-mazing! Haha!
I have so many favourites when I meet my girlfriends there for a quick coffee, or grab brunch there on the weekends. I also have my old preferences from when I used to frequent the OG Gentile (yes, I said OG!). I’ve been going to Gentile since the good ol’ days, and I love that when they opened their second spot, they still kept that “feels like home” vibe.
Time for the menu items: if I’m not mistaken, most people have a slight obsession with their breaded chicken sandwich (or salad), and with good reason, it’s outstanding. But my personal favourites are in the pasta and dessert sections. I love, love, love their authentic pasta recipes and succulent, inimitable homemade pasta sauces. I have a serious sweet tooth so when I see a cannoli on a menu, it’s almost impossible to pass up.
Whether you’re from Montreal or planning to visit, Café Gentile is in my tour guide book for sure. You can get anything from a healthy salad or nutritious omelet to yummy sandwiches and French fries. Also, their soups hit it out of the park every time. If you aren’t hungry and just want fantastic coffee, the Gentile family has done their research, so you know you’ll be served up a seriously good shot of whatever you like. My advice? Get there before the lunch crowd, but if you can’t, and you end up stepping into a mob scene… stick it out, it’s worth the wait.
Photography by Patricia Brochu