Last Updated on February 21, 2021 by Pamela
COVID UPDATE: As of March 9, 2021, most regions in Quebec (with the exception of Montreal and its surrounding regions) are now orange zone, with a 9:30pm – 5am curfew. Restaurants will now be open for dine-in (with restrictions), as well as gyms, museums, shops, and salons. Bars remain closed. Travel to Quebec at this time is not advisable. In the meantime, I hope you will utilize this site for travel inspiration and future travel planning!
Craving Italian food in Québec City? Matto in Old Port is always the first place I suggest to tourists and friends. Why I have not written a full post on Matto until now, I’m not sure. Ha!
Located inside Hôtel 71 on rue Saint-Pierre, Matto (il Matto) is owned by Rocco Cortina, a second-generation Italian who honed his cooking skills under the watchful eye of his mother, at the family’s restaurant, Le Michelangelo, in Ste-Foy.
Dining at Matto
The atmosphere at Matto is electric, with upbeat music, dark walls, black and white photos, floor to ceiling windows framed with golden yellow curtains, and gigantic chandeliers. The bar, with its lighted glasses shelves, displays fine spirits and liquors, while a glass wine cellar houses superb wines from around the world.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy Italian food in Québec City, Matto is not that place. This restaurant is almost always hopping, making it a perfect place for a lively meal!
Tables can offer an intimate setting, however, if you’re dining solo or with one or two other people, sitting at the bar is highly recommended. In fact, I always sit at the bar. It’s close to the open kitchen, and most importantly, the wine and cocktails!
From my first visit back in 2014 to today, my mouth waters every time I think of Matto’s menu. Start with a Primi. The Calamar frits (fried calamari) are perfectly cooked and served with a marinara dipping sauce, as well as a garlic aïoli that I want to eat every day for the rest of my life. The caesar salad is satisfying, and the Salmon Tartare is butter soft with just the right amount of dill.
Moving on to Secondo, with its pasta, wood-fired pizza, and meat dishes is where you will likely begin to swoon. The agnelotti, as well as the Pappardelles aux champignons sauvages (pappardelle with wild mushrooms), are so damn good – the pasta for these dishes is made by hand by Cortina’s mother. She also makes the lasagna.
One can never go wrong with a pizza, and the Escalope de Veau (veal cutlet) is excellent as well.
If you feel intimidated by the wine list, ask for recommendations. The staff are very knowledgable, and have always given me excellent recommends. Order a glass, or a bottle!
Dessert & Cocktails
Dolce (dessert) is always a good idea. If you love chocolate, indulge in the bomba, fried donuts smothered in a Ferrero Rocher-like chocolate sauce.
Bomba is delicious, but rich as well. The Tiramisu and Cannoli Siciliani are also quite good. When it comes to cocktails, my go-to is an Amaretto Sour, but there are plenty of others to choose from as well!
Dine at Matto
71, rue Saint-Pierre | $$ – $$$ | 418.266.9444 Reservations recommended | Open: Tues-Fri 11:30am – 2:30pm & 5:30pm – 10:30pm, Sat-Sun 5:30pm – 10:30pm | ilmatto.ca
Matto has a second location in the neighbourhood of Ste-Foy (850, Ave Myrand).
Are there no tables available at Matto? The following Italian restaurants are also quite good!