MONTREAL - The Quebec government says its language watchdog was a little too aggressive in pursuing an Italian restaurant for excessive use of Italian on its menu.
The provincial minister responsible for language says she realizes there was an "excess of zeal."
Diane De Courcy says adjustments will be made in the specific case of the Montreal restaurant Buonanotte.
Speaking more generally, she says similar mistakes won't be made in the future. She says the Office Quebecois de la langue francaise will be more careful to use a loophole in the application of the language law that offers some leeway for foreign cultural and food products.
It's an abrupt reversal of roles for the Parti Quebecois government — which has spent years, since its days in opposition, urging the Office to apply the law more strictly.
The organization has even received a 6 per cent budget increase this year, to $24.7 million.
The agency recently visited the Montreal eatery after receiving a citizen's complaint, and it agreed that certain words on the menu needed to be switched to French.
Among them: "pasta," "calamari" and "bottiglia" (which means "bottle" in Italian). They did leave the word "pizza" alone.
The case created an uproar in social media — in both English and French. A number of Italian Quebecers, meanwhile, joked about how they would never relinquish their right to eat pasta.
The incident also encouraged other business owners to go public with their disputes with the OQLF.
One included a British-style fish and chips restaurant that said it was being forced to lose the "fish and chips," and another was a different Italian restaurant that was told to change its sign to translate "ristorante."