Café Presto is an intimate little Italian trattoria on Stanley between Ste-Catherine and René-Levesque streets. The owner and chef himself usually greets and seats patrons and takes the time to explain them the menu de jour. A native of Milan, Italy, he ran a successful high-end Italian restaurant in the 1980s, upon immigrating to Canada, and opened Café Presto 16 years ago. The articles and personal photos displayed along one of the walls attest to his merits as a restaurateur.
The place looks more Greek than Italian, with blue-and-white checkered tablecloths and other blue elements, notably the bar counter and shelves. And the decor hasn’t changed since the inception of this establishment. The owner-chef likes to keep things simple in order to offer high quality food at low prices. For $4.95 per main dish at lunch, his formula works so well that there are line-ups outside.
The menu features seven items including spicy penne arrabiata, linguini in rosé sauce, sausage, spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna, meatballs and calypso salad. Those who can’t wait for the main course can have antipasto ($7.95), a choice of three salads ($1.75-$3.75), soup ($2.35) and some bread. All this can be washed down with a glass of house wine (white or red) for $4.75.
The dolce are laid out on a dessert cart and feature tiramisu, cannoli and, when in season, strawberries and cream. Everything is delectable and can be had with a coffee, espresso, cappuccino or latte. Once the bill has been settled, the owner rings his cowbell next to the cash, which may seem odd to some but it’s a tradition!
Café Presto: 1244 Stanley, 514-879-5877