I love unexpected culinary discoveries, the kind you don’t plan ahead but just happily stumble upon… and that’s exactly what discovering this restaurant was.
A few weeks ago, I had noticed that one of Little Italy’s iconic restaurants had closed. Having been away for the holidays, I hadn’t noticed what had replaced it until a friend told us to head over there for brunch when we were looking for a place to eat last Sunday.
Brama (old Italian word meaning “craving”) has taken over the Piccola Italia space on the corner of Saint Laurent and Saint Zotique, in the heart of Montreal’s Little Italy. The design has been redone to reflect this “modern trattoria”‘s new incarnation. Clean lines, modern furniture and a lot of natural light are offset by a brick wall and double height ceilings on one side of the dining room. The other smaller and more intimate dining room is perfect for cool winter nights where you can warm up by the fireplace while enjoying the restaurant’s Northern Italian specialties.
Chef Michael Ursini, formerly of Osteria Venti, is a the helm in the kitchen. His training in Northern Italy shines through his signature dishes, which are traditional with a modern twist. The comforting, hearty dishes, make use of some very traditional ingredients but are adapted to suit our local and seasonal produce. Everything is made in house, including all the pastas.
My first meal at Brama was Sunday brunch (photos above). The frittata that I ordered was just perfection. For a bigger appetite, try the pulled shortribs with hash and eggs, a hearty meal that will keep you full all day. Brunch was so satisfying and delicious that we had to go back a few days later to try the dinner menu. With our big group of 12 seated in the cozy dining room, I had the chance to taste quite a few things on the menu. Everything was absolutely delicious, from the pork and mortadella meatballs to the black & white cavatelli to the chestnut ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach.
You might be surprised to know that in Montreal’s Little Italy where I live, only a handful of restaurants actually serve decent and soulful Italian food among the hundreds of restaurants that cater to the tourists and serve mediocre pasta and pizza to satisfy the masses. We need more places like Brama around here and I am happy to count this restaurant among that handful of places worth coming to this neighbourhood for.
6701 Boulevard Saint Laurent
514 270 6701
Tuesday – Sunday: 5pm – Midnight
Sunday: 10am – 3pm
Note: Brama has a private room upstairs which is perfect for private parties or corporate dinners.