Sapori di Napoli
1465 Rue Dudemaine/St Real St.
Telephone: (514) 335-1465
Cost: $ 85.95 for two persons after tax (not including tip)
Chef Hats: 4
Sapori di Napoli is synonymous with a true authentic Neapolitan experience and excellent food. Tucked in the basement of a duplex in New Bordeaux, you will feel like to have stepped back in time to your Nonna’s house. That is if you are Italian, but even if you are not you will feel like you stepped into your Italian best friend’s home.
Sapori di Napoli is a family run restaurant; they not only make you feel more than welcome, but actually part of “La Familgia”. So it was only befitting that we host our annual cousin “cugini” re-union at Sapori di Napoli this year.
This evening was organized by our cousin Mr. Malibu who has worked with the owner and multi talented Guido Grasso on some local movie productions. We knew we were in for an exciting entertaining evening filled with good food, great conversation and a laissé faire attitude.
Opened in 2011, Sapori di Napoli has already garnished a great reputation not only within the Italian community but also among the larger than life foodies of Montreal. But what makes this place special is Guido, whose talents stretch far beyond just the makings of a good pizza. Besides being an aspiring actor, he is also a well-known comedian and teaches cooking classes at Leonardo Da Vinci center. Guido keeps himself busy, but always gives you his undivided attention, along with his family, who offer a genuine family experience while dining at Sapori di Napoli. You know the place is special when you walk in to discover that some local or not so local celebrity is sitting in the restaurant.
This was the case this evening when we entered Sapori di Napoli to find Steve Gallucio from “Mambo Italiano” fame sitting right in front of the house. Sapori di Napoli has hosted many a famous celebrity, but tonight we felt like the stars. Before commencing our meal, Mr. Malibu introduced us to Mr. Gallucio, who came to our table to talk to us. Not at all pretentious, but this can be said about the atmosphere at Sapori di Napoli and its patrons.
The staff and Guido were more than accommodating; the service was exceptionally friendly, very familiar and we felt at home among friends and family. Maybe we felt a little too comfortable, because we were having so much fun we didn’t want to leave.
We started our evening by ordering a ½ liter of the house wine- a red Montepulciano D’abruzzo for $17.00 all around. As an entree I had an insalta mista for $ 7.00, a generous plate of mixed greens with olive oil and perfectly seasoned with balsamic vinaigrette. My cousin Miss Diana Ross ordered an arugula and endive salad with copious amounts of shaved parmesan and cherry tomatoes and The Godfather ordered the cream of asparagus soup that he said was very creamy and flavourful.
Sapori di Napoli’s speciality and most popular seller is their pizza. Highly recommended was their Margherita pizza at $ 15.00, made with fresh tomato sauce, fresh basil and fiore di latte mozzarella. It was indeed tasty and different from most of the counterpart Margherita sampled elsewhere. But my favorite was and still remains the Crudaiola – $ 18.00, packed with flavor, topped with fresh prosciutto di Parma, Arugula, cherry tomatoes and fiore di latte mozzarella. The dough was a fluffy white chewy pocket, with crispy edges and a crunchy flavorful bottom. It was made to perfection.
The Napoletana pizza, basically similar to the Margherita, but with anchovies and capers added for saltiness and a punch of goodness. The house speciality pizza called so appropriately Sapori, was topped with parmesan shavings, cherry tomatoes and fresh arugula. All pizza’s ordered were above caliber and made the way pizza should be done, the old fashion way.
Do not just order pizza at Sapori di Napoli, because their pasta is exceptional. The spaghetti con vongole, was a generous portion of pasta in a light red clam sauce with over a dozen medium sized clams still in their shells forming a crown around the plate. A generous portion is putting it mildly! The sauce mildly piccante with sautéed cubed onions and garlic, elevated the clams to a whole new different level.
The penne with rapini and sasiccia (sausage) was just like mom makes it with fresh homemade Italian sausage packed with fennel seeds and bitter rapini and a hint of garlic. Great opposing flavors for those who like something different, than their usual take on pastas. This pasta dish came topped with grated parmesan and a drizzle of virgin olive oil. The pasta was “Al dente” and smooth. I was amazed by this dish as you could really taste the freshness of the pork and the flavors really popped in your mouth.
Mr Malibu went for his proverbial favorite Scaloppini piccante al limone. This came served with potatoes, broccoli and grilled red pepper. The veal was super tender and fresh and the lemon and white wine adding just the right tang.
For dessert, I ordered my favorite zeppoli. This is a must for dessert, along with the nutella pizza. Sapori di Napoli makes these like no other place in Montreal. The zeppole were not the usual that you will find at most Italian pastry shops in March for Saint Joseph Day. They were more like long fried pizza dough that my mom used to make at Christmas, which we call “scrippelli”. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, when I was delivered not one but whole plate full for $ 6.00, these are my favorites and bring back deep childhood memories when I would eat them hot as my mom was pulling them out of the deep fryer. These were even better than my mom’s (but don’t tell her that). They came covered sprinkled with granulated sugar. Totally delicious.
The nutella pizza was decadent. If you are a nutella lover, this is for you. You will not be disappointed. I brought my portion back home for my daughter to eat; she thanked me a million times.
The only miss was the crème brulee which Frenchie ordered. He felt it lacked flavor. But 1 out of three ain’t bad. Sapori di Napoli is an Italian restaurant and Crème Brulee may not be their forte but everything else is. Ordered with dessert were espressos all around and to boot, on the house a shot of grappa to compliment our meal or Sambuca to put in our coffee, depending on who wanted what.
The feeling I got from the place was very convivial and immensely hospitable. From the staff to Guido’s parents who came to talk to us, we felt we had been there at least a dozen times and we felt like we had known them for years like old friends. For a few hours we did become part of the family.