It’s no secret that my Italian roots run deep in me. My family has given me the most beautiful gift in passing down those Italian traditions that they brought with them when they immigrated to Quebec many years ago. My friends and family also know that I am a genuine foodie, and I get constantly asked where to go for great Italian baked goods. This has inspired me to provide you with a short list of my favourite Italian bakeries in the city. It’s obviously very focused on the East end but you cannot go wrong with these bakeries.
Pâtisserie Italia – It’s the bakery closest to my heart and also to where I live. It’s easy to spot Italia on Jean-Talon street East in Montreal’s Saint-Leonard borough with its iconic boot-shaped sign. Sure, it’s kitsch but it’s been part of the landscape for decades! More importantly, Patisserie Italia delivers the goods when it comes to Italian baked delicacies such as bread and pizza, and their great Italian pastries made by their Sisterly Sweets pastry shop. You absolutely have to try their cannoli, and my favourite Italian pastry being the sfogliatella. In March, they make killer zeppole di San Giuseppe, those famous Italian fritters filled with custard to celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day on March 19 (zeppole pictured above).
Pâtisserie Di Bella – Located right across the Marie-Enfant hospital, this bakery has been around for decades and has maintained the tradition in delivering quality baked goods. I still think their white focaccia and “red sauce pizza” rank amongst the best in the city. I also love their soft panini. Personally, the best sandwich in the world for me would be taking an Italian sausage with either fried onions or roasted peppers and stuffing it into one of these soft rolls. So good!
Arte & Farina – The holiday season would not be the same without having a panettone – the sweet Italian cake normally filled with candied fruit – and I can safely say that this place has one of the best artisanal ones in the city. Chef and owner Sandro Carpene is a master at his art. Otherwise, they do have the classics here including the bomboloni, those beautiful Italian cream-filled donuts.
Les Délices Lafrenaie – More industrial than artigianale, Lafrenaie has some pretty decadent Italian cookies, and does offer a large variety of cakes in addition to the aforementioned zeppole. I go there regularly for cakes to celebrate special occasions. Nutella Crêpe or Death by Chocolate cake anyone?
Pâtisserie Alati-Caserta – It’s continuously on many “Best of” lists for their pastries and rightfully so. The shop, still owned by the Caldarone family, has been around since 1968 and has become as iconic as the Our-Lady-of-Defence Italian church located right in front of the bakery. Grab some of their excellent freshly-stuffed cannoli and go watch old Italian men play bocce at Dante park located right across the pasticceria.
You can always discover Alati-Caserta and many other treasures that Little Italy has to offer by booking a private tour with me.