As the Law of Attraction would have it, once I took note of Montreal East End bakery and pastry shop Arte & Farina, I began to notice it everywhere. The synchronicity culminated in getting invited to a media-only night where we got to taste samples of their authentic Italian artisanal fare.
The eatery was opened in the Fall of 2015 by chef Mirko D’Agata (formerly of Bottega Pizzeria, not to mention that he taught at a cooking school) and chef Sandro Carpene (formerly of Buonanotte). They both lived in Italy and are passionate about keeping up with traditional foods found there.
This Italian bakery and pastry shop is a genuine option for Montrealers. There are a few tables for guests to come and have a snack or you can get your order to go. They also serve drinks you won’t find in most bakeries. On this night, we got to sample Barone Pizzini wine which is somewhat difficult to come by in Montreal.
I’m a bakery snob. There is no better bagel than what you will find at St. Viateur, no better salt stick than those at Fressers, and the list goes on. That said, I do not yet have a distinct favourite Italian bakery but in Montreal, Arte & Farina is up there.
It is impressive that these guys stick to their roots to create an authentic experience. Their food is made without preservatives and includes fresh ingredients. Note the fresh ingredients in my photos. They literally grow and use the freshest products they can to bring out the flavour.
I tried everything you see in my photo gallery and then some. My favourite, by a mile was the tuna. I love tuna party sandwiches from Snowdon Deli and for years I’ve said that their sandwiches represent one of the best finger foods in the city. Arte & Farina actually gives them a run for their money. The funniest part is that D’Agata said it’s all about the mix because they kind of tuna but even more peculiar is that he insisted that their tuna sandwiches go along side a meal whereas I kept saying they ARE the meal!
Whether it was the sweet bomba di roma (which remind me of sufganiyot which are cream filled donuts that Jewish people eat during Hanukkah), tarte de ricotta, fritelle, or the other options that these talents created, they were worth the visit. They make a lot of unique variations of bite-sized pizza with simple ingredients such as basil, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, olives, prosciutto and so on.
How hot is Arte & Farina?
I’m not just saying this because they fed me food samples. Everyone loves a good story and theirs is exciting.
For one, I’ve been seeing the place all over social media, especially Instagram. Ok, you aren’t impressed. How about this? The bakery has been open for less than a year and it’s only April, yet they have pre-orders for literally thousands of panettone (Italian sweet bread) for Christmas. Some of these orders are from Americans who are coming to Montreal to get it. They make the panettone from scratch including ingredients directly from Italy which is unique in this city.
Another point of interest. They opened in a relatively unusual area of Montreal (Ontario Street East), relative to their target market. Yet, people are making special trips there in big numbers.
Physically, the space isn’t that large and they are already bursting at the seams. I asked about expansion and was told possibly next year but they aren’t certain.
Whether you are looking for a sweet or salty experience, if Italian bakeries are your thing, give this place a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Arte e Farina
1256 Ontario Street East