Address: 637 Corydon Ave
Phone: (204) 287-8807
The once predominantly-Italian Corydon strip has shifted over the years to reflect Winnipeg’s growing multicultural population. However, outstanding Italian cuisine still reigns supreme.
Monviso’s station in the centre of the strip has held since 1995, but the Nesca family has been putting out pies for more than 30 years. The restaurant’s spacious patio and eclectic menu of pastas, pizzas and entrées has consistently drawn crowds.
Monviso is named after Italy’s Monte Viso, a mountain in the Cottian Alps close to the French border. Its distinctive pyramid shape is depicted in four large paintings on the walls of the restaurant—each one different and evoking its own style. The otherwise simply decorated dining room is an apt backdrop for wholesome cuisine rooted in traditional ingredients and preparations.
The restaurant’s charm is delivered with small touches, like a scrumptious basket of warm, soft breadsticks glistening with garlicky butter; tangy housemade Italian dressing; and a complimentary shot of tart limencello delivered to the table at the end of your meal. These attentions to detail are what Monviso does best. Here, classic recipes are combined with quality ingredients to offer simple, soul-satisfying fare.
Two seafood starters are standouts on the menu. Tender grilled pieces of calamari swim in thick, spicy tomato sauce that emanates freshness. The dish is made extra pretty by the lattice pattern etched into the squid. Plump bacon-wrapped shrimp are delicate and tender. Their bacon shell is delightfully crispy and its saltiness is a striking contrast to the sweetness of the shrimp. A zingy cocktail sauce is served alongside for dipping.
Monviso offers numerous meat and seafood dishes as entrée choices. One of the best (the menu claims the recipe is award winning) is veal osso buco. While calling meat smooth may seem like a misnomer, that is exactly what it is. The delicate flesh is so fall-of-the-bone tender it’s like biting into a fluffy cloud. It comes with a hearty tomato-based sauce flecked with carrot and offering hints of garlic and lemon.
Another noteworthy main dish is fish Monviso. A generous salmon fillet is topped with scallops and shrimp and then coated in a creamy rosé sauce. The pink hue of each ingredient offers a visual cue of the delicate flavours in the dish. A choice of rice pilaf or penne with marinara sauce is offered with mains. Opting for the latter will turn up perfectly cooked pasta doused with bright red tomato sauce you’d swear was made by an Italian grandmother at the base of Monte Viso itself.
Naturally, pizza and pasta are a large part of the Monviso experience and should not be missed. Classic pasta dishes include crescent-shaped ravioli (aka agnolotti) stuffed with cheese and topped with truffle oil. Slices of porcini mushroom swim in a buttery sauce that adds earthiness to the dish.
Pizzas are kept simple with just three house specials—veggie, meat and seafood—and a list of ingredients to create your own. Crusts are tender with just the right amount of chewiness. Monviso’s meatlover is so generously heaped with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and ground beef your inner carnivore will sigh with joy.
Monviso is open daily 4:30 pm-11 pm.