When lawyers, judges and magistrates who frequent the Montreal courthouse are asked which restaurant they prefer to frequent, their answer is almost invariably “Le Muscadin”. And this, for 35 years!
Such unwavering loyalty to an establishment in Old Montreal, which is full of restaurants, seems surprising at first glance. However, since 1987, 75% of Muscadin’s clientele is indeed legal. Whether it’s a meeting between colleagues from the same firm, an informal meeting between a prosecutor and a judge, or even a business meal with clients, this classic and elegant Italian restaurant arrives always at the top of the list.
Listening only to our curiosity – and our greed – we went to meet the co-founder of this institution Leonardo Iacono and his daughter Josie to learn the secrets of this masterful success.
Several special advantages
When you visit Muscadin, you quickly understand why this restaurant, open from Tuesday to Friday for dinner and dinner and Saturday for dinner only, is so attractive to the legal community, apart from the fact that it is located close to the Montreal Courthouse. In fact, we are welcomed there. An incredible welcome that we experience as soon as we cross the threshold and which will not waver one iota until his departure.
“It’s one of our great strengths,” admits Leonardo Iacono, who acts as master of the stage by warmly greeting each table, knowing the guests, their preferences and their habits more often than not.
Le Muscadin also brings together elements sought after by lawyers: a timeless, elegant and cozy setting, well-spaced tables for more privacy, comfortable chairs to be able to fully enjoy the moment.
We also appreciate the quality of a menu whose three-course table d’hôte is renewed every day – the chefs go to the market every morning to decide what they will prepare –, while remaining faithful to classic Italian gastronomy. .
“We are known for our fresh pasta, but also for the quality of our meat and fish,” says Leonardo. What we can attest to, since we literally succumbed to the delicious and racy Muscadin tortellini sautéed in an addictive rosée sauce with green peas and prosciutto, as well as the delicate ricotta gnocchi served with an Al Pomodoro sauce (tomatoes and basil) . Everything, from the appetizer to the dessert, is of impeccable freshness and taste.
Finally, it should be noted, wine lovers are happy to find at Muscadin one of the largest selections of Italian wines in Quebec! Indeed, its cellar has already exceeded 30,000 bottles, and the most beautiful houses are found there.
Taking all these factors into account, we understand better why this restaurant has won the loyalty of such a large legal clientele. But there is more.
A family passion
In an industry where the majority of establishments close before their fifth anniversary, an institution like Le Muscadin has so far offered much more than a beautiful setting, a good meal and good service to remain the preferred choice of lawyers. . You actually feel welcomed there like a second home, with that part of magic that only restaurateurs dedicated to their profession can breathe.
It must be said that Leonardo and Josie are exemplary hosts, both present and discreet, constantly listening to their customers. According to Leonardo, who was a banker 35 years ago (yes!) before embarking on this adventure with his brother and cousin, it’s all a question of passion.
“For 35 years, every day, I have wanted to come here. It is a work of passion. Challenging, yes, but fulfilling. I can’t thank our lawyer clients enough for allowing me to experience it, and for having Josie experience it for five years as well”, says the owner, who over the years has developed great friendships with some of his visitors, who have become friends of golf, fishing and travel. As for Josie, she literally grew up in the restaurant. “I’ve known some clients since I was five years old, it’s crazy! she exclaims.
Now that Josie holds the reins of Muscadin, the restaurant is more visible on social networks, offers take-out and delivery, or even offers the possibility of privatizing its dining room for groups. But the family spirit and the values that have guided the establishment since its inception have not aged a bit. And it is they who constitute, in the end, the greatest success of this very special place.