If you’re looking for the best Italian restaurant in downtown Montreal, we’ve got two words for you: Nora Gray.
Owned by sommelier Ryan Gray, businesswoman Lisa McConnell and Chef Emma Cardarelli, the trio make up a dream team destined to host a great dining experience. Located on St-Jacques Street, nestled between Griffintown and Downtown, the restaurant is only a couple minutes walking distance from Saint Catherine Street shopping and even closer to the Bell Centre.
The restaurant itself is inconspicuous; you will find Nora Gray subtly painted in gold cursive on their expansive window, which also happens to be sweetly decorated with lace kitchen curtains, making you think that you’re returning to grandma’s, or nonna’s, house for dinner. Actually, the name of the restaurant itself pays homage to Chef Cardarelli’s grandmother Elinora, and the family name of Mr. Gray. So cozy.
Despite the small size of the restaurant, it feels spacious. There are several booths along the wall to accommodate larger parties, as well as smaller tables near the window for a more intimate rendezvous. Additionally, there is seating around their beautiful wooden bar, so if you feel like being in the mix and perhaps having a couple of chats with the charming Nora Gray staff then definitely grab a stool.
Overall, Nora Gray’s decor has an elegant, modern 60’s vibe, with dim lighting, wood paneled walls and black leather banquettes; a restaurant fit for the likes of Don Draper. This polished and intimate room hums with cheery voices and cool background music – Nora Gray really does have a great ambiance.
Nora Gray restaurant is well known among Montreal locals for its pasta dishes and although their menu changes seasonally, you can expect plates like a heavenly homemade spaghetti rabbit Bolognese or a goat’s milk ricotta torteloni. If it’s your first time dining at Nora Gray then you absolutely must try one of Cardarelli’s homemade plates of pasta. Really… I will be mad at you if you don’t!
Aside from their exquisite pasta dishes, Nora Gray has a fantastic antipasto menu. A few recent hits include deer tartare, fried salt cod or roasted cauliflower with marinated capelins and cherry tomatoes. As for their wine selection, it is solid, varied and will certainly always be filled with unique, cult producers individually selected by Mr. Gray. And if amazing wines isn’t your thing, bartender Nick Rosati, is a skilled mixologist so you can put faith in letting him do his thing.
Nora Gray is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Montreal, which is why clients make reservations well in advance. If you’re looking to dine there tonight, check out DINR to see what @nonnanora is cookin’! FYI the restaurant is located at 1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montreal, QC.
Dinner service is available from 5:30 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.