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BMW Magazine Fall 2009 -

In Italian, the word tenuta usually means having substance. And this meaning can also apply to wine. It’s an especially well-chosen name for this elegant and excellent restaurant, esteemed as much for its food as its wine and spirits list, and which this year is celebrating its 5th anniversary. Indeed, Tenuta is an appropriate name because everything here combines to provide the best in gastronomic pleasure. 

The Tenuta can seat up to 100 people in the restaurant’s open and spacious décor. The décor, while simple, exudes warmth: there is a comfortable, lounge-like ambiance, with places set aside for an intimate dinner, anniversary meal or a business lunch. Everything here catches the eye, but the design remains astutely respectful of every patron’s intimacy: the wine cellar sits near the bar, in the centre of the restaurant; there are islands with booths providing areas with more privacy; a crackling fire from the fireplace warms the atmosphere; large bay windows let the light stream in, and in the distance, you can see the kitchens. 

The pleasure starts as soon as you’re seated… a short, well-thought-out menu by executive chef Vincenzo Russo, offers dishes that, over the years, have become an absolute must: always thoroughly enjoyed by the clientele: tuna tartar, osso bucco and Yellow Fin tuna, to name but a few. The foie de gras is in the “must” category, exquisitely flavoured, the ultra-tender steak is delicious and the creamy wild mushroom soup made with truffle oil is a tantalizingly nice entrée. All of the dishes are elegantly presented, eloquently but without fanfare; and the service is up to high standards: competent, courteous and without pretension.

Special note to gourmands: the dessert list contains an array of sweets made by pastry chef Jean Ricciardi, and under no circumstances should you ignore the incredibly creamy deconstructed cannoli! Meanwhile, thanks to co-owner Vincenzo Cacciatore’s passion for wine, the Tenuta now has a notable wine and spirits list that is so outstanding and well stocked it has won Wine Spectator and Carte d’or du Québec awards every year, since 2006. Most of the wines are Italian, but there are also some excellent vintages from France, the United States and Australia. There is an impressive list of cognacs, among the finest, in fact, and if you have a hankering for a nice grappa, there are some 20 varieties to choose from! Tenuta is a meeting place. At the intersection of two major autoroutes, this restaurant has quickly become a rendez-vous spot for fine-food aficionados in the northeast sector of the Montreal island. A faithful clientele can be found there, from Monday through Saturday.

Tenuta is open on Sunday, but strictly for parties. Vincenzo Cacciatore likes to talk about his restaurant being a reference point. And he’s right, Tenuta has all the required attributes as a place people like to go to, for the pleasure of enjoying a perfect meal that is trendy, with fresh ingredients that are just right, along with great wines – all adding up to an experience in eating that is truly memorable.