Choosing a restaurant in Montreal is tricky – there are a seemingly endless number of options, and everyone on TripAdvisor and Yelp has some seriously strong opinions about the quality of any given eatery. Before visiting, I had no idea that Montreal is such a foodie city, and this discovery led to multiple memorable dining experiences throughout my weekend stay. One meal stood out the most, however, and that would be the lunch I devoured at Pizzeria Napoletana.
A few days before Kevin, my sister, and I arrived in Montreal, I researched some restaurant options near the sights I’d put on our itinerary. Of course, I wanted to grab some pizza in Montreal’s Little Italy at some point during our stay, and the neighborhood’s proximity to the popular market Marche Jean-Talon makes it easily accessible. I selected Pizzeria Napoletana on a whim after seeing it recommended on a few separate websites.
Now, we visited Montreal the weekend before Christmas 2015, and it was freezing. We arrived at the restaurant with windburned cheeks and I’d started to lose feeling in my toes and fingers. None of us were prepared for how cold it was going to be, so when we walked into Pizzeria Napoletana, we needed warmth almost as much as food.
For me, Italian food is perfect when traveling. A good pizza or pasta dish tends to be filling, inexpensive, and served in a low-key environment perfect for resting up in between attractions. I must say, Pizzeria Napoletana exceeded my expectations and served me a meal I look back fondly upon.
I absolutely love when restaurants bring out some sort of roll or bread selection free of charge before the meal. The gesture feels homey and welcoming, and unfortunately, alarmingly few restaurants in my hometown of D.C. bring out a pre-meal bread basket unless patrons shell out eight bucks. Luckily, Pizzeria Napoletana anticipated our hunger and brought us these delicious, thick rolls just moments after we placed our order.
We also ordered the garlic bread, which turned out to be what we in the U.S. would call garlic knots, but they were devoured so fast that I didn’t have an opportunity to take a picture of them. Okay, maybe I ate most of the slices, but that’s beside the point. The garlic bread was hot out of the oven when placed on our table, and on a below-freezing day, you can imagine how quickly it disappeared. I regretted not asking for two orders of the garlic bread, since my sister and I fought over the final piece.
I’m craving a cheese pizza just looking at this photograph of my order. I’m a loyal plain-cheese pizza person, and I’ve had my fair share of crummy pizzas around the world. Pizzeria Napoletana is not one of them; in fact, I’d rate it as one of the best international pizzas I’ve ever enjoyed. The sauce was spectacular (not too sweet, just the way I like it) and the crust was soft, despite its thinness. I particularly liked how little cheese was needed to add flavor to the pizza; the quality of the sauce is allowed to stand for itself. All too often, I find myself pulling excess cheese off a slice of pizza with my fork, wondering why on Earth the chef thought it necessary to add so much. Not at Pizzeria Napoletana!
Kevin ordered a plate of spaghetti with sauce and Parmesan cheese. He’s easy to please, even more so when he’s starving (as he was when we sat down). He heartily devoured every bite of his pasta and proclaimed the dish to be tasty. He’s a man of few words who loves his pasta. What else is there to say?
My sister has a dairy allergy, so she ordered a cheese-free pizza with extra sauce and pepperoni. She absolutely loved the pepperoni, and started eating the pepperoni off the pizza with her fingers. Like myself, she thoroughly enjoyed the crust but does prefer her sauce a little sweeter. Of course, right? We’re sisters. We’re almost obligated to differ with each other on every single issue. But, she was addicted to the pepperoni and had helped me eat all of the garlic bread brought to our table before the meal.
So, which was better: the pepperoni or the garlic bread? After careful consideration, she said the garlic bread was her favorite part of lunch. Like I mentioned above, that garlic bread was fantastic, and might just be the only thing Jen and I agreed upon the whole trip.
Look how cute Pizzeria Napoletana is! I loved the Tuscan-villa style decor and soft lighting. As you can see, the restaurant was quite busy; we arrived almost exactly at noon on a cold Saturday in December and seats were filling up fast.
Jen and Kevin feelin’ full after a great meal. Note the lovely mural behind my sister’s head; I wish I’d taken more photographs of the paintings, because they truly were lovely and added to the relaxed, central Italian ambiance of Pizzeria Napoletana. Also, note the water pitcher on the table. This is another detail that made us feel well-cared for. I don’t like it when I visit a restaurant and, after finishing my first glass of water, I then have to spend ten minutes trying to wave down my server just to get a refill. After a busy morning, the three of us were exhausted and dehydrated, in dire need some water. Furthermore, the service was quick and we liked our personable and friendly waiter. He even took the time to ask us where we were from and how we were enjoying his city; I found this welcoming attitude towards foreign visitors to be quite the norm in Montreal as a whole.
I would have taken my hat off for this picture, but we’d been exploring for hours and I was struggling with a serious case of hat-hair. I take comfort knowing that nobody’s hair looks good on vacation, though.
Pizzeria Napoletana made for one excellent lunch experience, and the next time I find myself in Montreal, I plan to head straight for Little Italy to enjoy a few more orders of that scrumptious garlic bread. Perhaps best of all, this restaurant is well within any traveler’s budget; as Americans, our meal was incredibly affordable thanks to a favorable exchange rate. The one downside is that the restaurant only accepts cash, but I’d thankfully read this tidbit online before visiting and we arrived prepared. However, I cannot recommend this restaurant enough, especially for pizza aficionados like myself. We left full, relaxed, and thawed out, ready to take on the freezing temperature and Montreal’s Botanical Garden.
All opinions expressed in this article are my own. I did not receive any form of compensation, discount, or freebie from Pizzeria Napoletana for this piece. I strive to ensure that all of my words are unbiased, and that’s why I don’t work on compensations. I just enjoyed the heck out of this pizza and garlic bread! For more information, please visit Pizzeria Napoletana’s website.