Tag Archives: Griffintown Italian Café

Mano Cornuto

30 Dec

There are places that are just cool. They are not trying to be per se but somehow they just feel cool. They have a certain feel and a vibe that you can’t quite place but you feel it when you are there. Mano Cornuto is one such place. Its location – on the first floor on a condo complex on a side street in Griffintown – certainly doesn’t give that vibe but once inside, you feel it.

Mano Cornuto evokes a old style neighbourhood Italian café – the marble-like tabletops, the old Italian signs as artwork, the wooden chairs, the long bar, the mirrored glass behind the bar – but then you have the mix of rap and R&B playing over the sound system.

Food and drink-wise, it’s designed to be a casual lunch and dinner option with a variety of sandwiches, salads, fresh pastas as well as coffee, natural wine and cocktails. Since its opening, I have been a few times and have been able to try a bunch of items.

In classic Italian fashion, the dishes feel simple in concept but still very precise in execution. The focaccia with ricotta and truffle honey is a perfect example of that. So simple but so so good. The light and airy focaccia. The creamy and rich ricotta. The rich mix of truffle oil and honey. I could eat this every day and never get sick of it.

Their version of a Stromboli – spicy sausage, pecorino, rapini, white anchovies served over bread – was another good example of this simple but well executed and flavourful approach. Anchovies may not be for everyone but it worked so well with the rest of the ingredients. When my wife came with me, she had the Schiacchiata vege – stracchino, rapini, arugula and bomba sauce between fresh focaccia. A light sandwich but very flavourful. The key is all of the sandwiches is the excellent focaccia. It provides a great base to serve different combinations over it.

Getting away from the sandwich options, I tried the arancini spaghetti carbonara. Just amazing – great crisp on the exterior of the spaghetti ball. The flavour is full-on carbonara – rich and creamy with the pancetta bringing some saltiness. A beautiful dish in both presentation and execution.

Finally, for dessert, there are also homemade campobasso doughnuts of different flavours. I went with the nutella version. Great chew to the doughnut with the Nutella filling bringing the rich chocolate hazelnut flavour. An excellent doughnut.

Mano Cornuto is a great spot – whether for lunch, dinner or happy hour. It is the kind of neighbourhood spot you would want around your home – great food, reasonable cost, good drinks and cocktails and a great vibe and atmosphere to enjoy. It is not quite right by my place but it is close enough that I will continue to make the effort to visit more frequently. Worth being where the cool kids are 😉


Mano Cornuto
988 Ottawa St
514 868 8451

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