Dining at Matto 71 in Vieux-Port Quebec

Matto is One of My Favourite Italian Restaurants

Last Updated on December 21, 2023 by Pamela MacNaughtan

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.

Dining room at Matto 71 in Old Port (Vieux-Port) in Quebec City

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!

the food

Salmon tartare at Matto in Quebec City
Salmon tartare
Escargot à la Sambuca at Matto in Old Port, Quebec City
Escargot alla Sambuca
Caesar salad with creamy house dressing - a garlic lover's paradise!
Caesar salad
Lobster Pappardelle at Matto in Quebec City
Lobster Pappardelle

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 agnolotti, as well as the pappardelle’s 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... fried donuts smothered in a Ferrero Rocher-like chocolate sauce.
Saint-Marie rum from Montreal, Quebec
Sainte-Marie Rum from Montreal

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

where: 71, rue saint-pierre • $$ – $$$ • 418.266.9444 • ilmatto.careservations recommended

Are there no tables available at Matto? The following Italian restaurants are also quite good!

Battuto |527, Boulevard Langelier | Neighbourhood: Saint-Roch
Bello Ristorante | 73, rue Saint-Louis | Neighbourhood: Old Quebec
Sapristi | 1001, rue Saint-Jean | Neighbourhood: Old Quebec