Café International is a landmark in the heart of Little Italy (one of our favourite neighbourhoods), corner St. Laurent and St. Zotique. It’s been serving casual Italian food since 1968. This Italian eatery serves paninis, salads, and pizza. You can even enjoy their delicious food on their big terrace, open every summer.
Chef and owner Marco Arcaro always brings fresh ideas and techniques to the menu. His creativity comes from his yearly trips to Italy where he studies (you guessed it!) Italian cuisine.
The menu varies and everything is fresh and palatable. Prices range from $10 to $15. For an entrée, make sure to check out their incredible grilled calamari. We love grilled calamari to shake things up from the usual fried calamari you see in every restaurant. It is one of the most flavourful dishes on the menu, seasoned with fresh tomatoes on a bed of mixed greens.
Their salads are always so fresh, perfectly dressed, and a great way to start your meal and open up your appetite. Keep an eye out for specials. We tried their salad with green apples, spinach, fennel, and pecans. The vinaigrette was light and the salad itself was flavourful and very refreshing.
You can also find amazing dishes on their table d’hôte menu, like fresh house-made pasta (the best!). We got to try the crostini with homemade prosciutto, mozzarella di bufala, butternut squash, tomatoes, and arugula. And if you’re lactose intolerant, they will even switch out the mozzarella di bufala for some fresh slices of avocado. The crostini was grilled and crunchy, piled high with the freshest ingredients and the sweet butternut squash spread.
Another special was the homemade prosciutto cotto with pickled vegetables and aioli. The prosciutto melted in your mouth and the pickled vegetables gave the right amount of tang. The aioli gave a delicious added flavour that went perfectly with the prosciutto.
You can catch the gnocchi as a special of the day, since it is not on the menu. But make sure to ask if they have it when you go because it is divine! The potato gnocchi are made with parmigiano and the sauce is made with fresh crushed tomatoes, and it’s perfectly light.
If you’re not in the mood for pasta, they have a great pizza menu with a lot of delicious choices. Our favourite is the pizza internazionale, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, onions, olives, and sausage. Simply delicious!
And of course, for dessert, you must try one of their fresh cannolis. They are perfectly crunchy, creamy, and light on the ricotta, not too heavy, and it pairs perfectly with a nice espresso.
Make sure to try Café International for a great casual night out. The food is impressive and delicious!
Photos by Montreall.com’s Chelsia Merlo (@chelsiaannaa) and Café International.