The name of this blog took its full meaning last weekend when I travelled to Quebec City for less than 24 hours and specifically to eat at Battuto. Aimee, Janice and I met up with Quebec-based Marie, Catherine and Véronique to enjoy dinner at enRoute Magazine’s best new restaurant for 2017. We had actually made the reservations back in November, right after it was voted one of the best restaurants in Canada and had been patiently (or impatiently) waiting for months to finally dig in!
Battuto is a tiny, 22-seat restaurant with a long bar along one wall and small tables for two along the parallel windowed façade. The kitchen is behind the bar and the little area that can seat more than two people at a time is in the back. Those are the hardest tables to snag and that’s where we were seated.
The welcome at Battuto is warm and friendly, the kind of welcome reserved for regulars and friends, which immediately makes you wish you could become one or the other. Chef and co-owner Guillaume St-Pierre, sous chef, co-owner and pastry chef Paul Croteau (who also makes the pasta and delicious bread), sommelier and co-owner Pascal Bussières and waitress/hostess extraordinaire Amélie Pruneau are all professional, unpretentious and just plain lovely.
So what do six hungry food lovers order at Battuto? Why, the whole menu, of course! The cuisine at Battuto is a simple one, inspired by the seasons and rooted in Italian traditions. We started with a couple of the aperitivi, including the homemade focaccia and enough arancini to avoid some mean table side brawls. They are that good, with a crispy exterior and creamy interior and served with a safran-infused aioli that you’ll want to pour in your purse just so you can have some for later. We then proceeded to order the entire antipasti menu. Memorable dishes include the raw scallops with a citrus and camomille dressing, fish eggs and poppy seeds and the raw Albacore tuna with bagna cauda, endive, lemon and breadcrumbs. My favourite dish though was definitely the liver parfait crostini with raddichio confit, balsamic, hazelnuts and honey. The bread used for the crostini is the divine, in-house chestnut bread, which is chewy, dense, a little nutty and just plain wonderful.
After the antipasti, we shared the three pasta dishes available on the menu. They were all very different yet equally creative and good, from the creamy cavatelli with blue cheese and kale to the rich ravioli with mascarpone, sage and pancetta to the more traditional tagliatelle alla bolognese with bison. I am usually pretty ok with sharing but next time I go, I want my own pasta plate.
At that point, why slow down, right? So we ordered the four available desserts, one of which is the divine, airy and rich tiramisu for two, a definite favourite.
If you are planning on visiting Quebec City soon, dinner at Battuto should definitely be part of your plans. Reservations are a must and will have to be made weeks, if not months, ahead but it’s worth it so plan ahead!
527 Boulevard Langelier, Québec
418 614 4414
Monday to Saturday, 5:30pm to 10pm