When it was time for us to venture out and once again enjoy the Montreal dining scene, it was a difficult decision. Do we go with one of our tried and true favourites or do we sample something new. We went back and forth trying to decide what to do, until we saw an advertisement for a restaurant we have not tried yet. The restaurant was Jacopo and it was advertised as a taste of Rome. Since we love Rome and the cuisine, we took it as a sign and our decision was made.
As we were in the Old Port area of Montreal a few days earlier we were aware that the patios we coming out. So we reserved our seats on the patio and waited with anticipation. We like to book early, as we like to dine when it was quiet so it was a six pm dinner for us.
We arrived to a nice, well spaced and clean patio, and were given our choice of tables, and dug into our menus. The menu offered enough options that there was something for everyone but not so much that it took forever to decide. As we were deciding, our waiter arrived with some suggestions of what was considered the restaurants must tries some of which we tried. After declining the offer of pairing our wines for us, we finally were able to see the wine list. The list offered a good selection at prices for every budget.
To start our meal we opted for the recommended grilled calamari. As calamari goes it was ok, well cooked and served beautifully. But there was an issue with how it was seasoned. It was very spicy and all you could taste was the chilis but none of the other seasonings. Now we love a spicy dish, but when one spice is so heavy it overpowers the taste of the dish it just does not seem to work. We advised our waiter of the excess spice and were advised the dish was spiced correctly it was our choice of wine that elevated the spice. As we all know wine does change the taste of dishes but we have never had wine turn up the heat like that.
Finally it was time for our main course. Now anyone who knows me would know that when one of my favourite dishes is on a menu, that is what I am ordering. In this case it was squid ink pasta. But when we were choosing our dishes the waited suggested that as we were already having squid I should try something else. He suggested the swordfish, also a good choice. In the end I went against my hearts desire and ordered the swordfish. The second main course we ordered was the orecchiette served with sausage and rapini and spiced with chilis.
The orecchiette was cooked perfectly, and seasoned just right. Not too spicy, it was a well presented and delicious dish. The swordfish was cooked properly but lacked flavour. The vegetables were also well cooked but also very bland, the asparagus was limp. The risotto added nothing to the dish. It was great to taste all the individual parts of the dish but it needed something to tie it all together.
Now we were getting to the best part of the meal (my opinion) dessert, and since we were having Italian lets top off the meal with a grappa and espresso. As there was no preview of the offerings on the menu we asked for the dessert menu. After a bit of a wait we were told there was no additional menu and they offered an option of two uninspired desserts. The disappointment continued as we were also not offered and coffee or after dinner drinks. We paid our bill and left.
The wine was good, the food was ok, the service was passable. Lesson learned if you want a taste of Rome, go to Rome.