I can’t remember when I first ate at Primo & Secondo, but it was a memorable occasion. Probably, it was just before Canadian Open tennis matches at nearby Jarry Park. The tennis was nice but I thought dinner the highlight of the evening. I have gone back many times – before watching tennis matches; with my wife for dinner; and, I have hosted a business closing dinner or two there. I have missed this restaurant throughout the lockdowns.
Located right next to the Jean Talon Market, the restaurant has an ever changing menu. Market proximity allows the chef / owner to select the best and freshest ingredients everyday and match them with best available Italian imports. Before opening Primo & Secondo, chef Robert Stabile had not only worked locally but also in Germany. His cuisine is heavily influenced by the traditional dishes of Campania that he watched his mother prepare.
On our most recent visit, the four of us shared veal-stuffed olives and zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta. Both had been deep fried and went well with tangy fennel and orange salads. The primi are all so good, I think we would have enjoyed a meal of nothing but – well maybe next time!
The secondi (mains) included a luxurious tortellini in a velvety cream sauce, cornish hen, and striped sea bass served on a beautiful fresh tomato ragu laced with olive oil. The cornish hen came with rapini – I love rapini. We didn’t need dessert but ended up sharing a sfogliatelle (“lobster tail” pastry) with the traditional sweet ricotta filling.
The wine cellar has over 2000 bottles of carefully selected wines. After before-dinner cocktails, we chose a versatile Friulano from the Veneto. It had all of the right flavours, aromas, and tones to enhance the secondi.
Primo & Secondo is a small restaurant. I am not sure of its capacity but I recommend making a reservation. White table cloths, a blackboard menu, and tasteful decor create a lovely atmosphere. Service is friendly and knowledgeable, without any of that fawning over-familiarity that I find off putting. Oh, and it has fantastic bread sticks.
Primo and Secondo is memorable! For all the right reasons!
Primo & Secondo, 7023 Saint-Dominique, Petite Italie, Montréal, QC H2S 3B6 Reservations by telephone only at 514-908-0838
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