The buzz: Swanky but affordable Italian restaurant on the same Kangding Lu strip as Chiang Mai, Legend Taste Yunnan, and that Cantonese canting.
The décor: Pleasing on the eye. Warm lighting, neat tables, big paintings of tomatoes and other comfortingly Mediterranean provender on the walls.
The food: The bread came in a crumpled brown bag. Sounds weird, right? It’s hard to explain, but it was a cool effect. The bread itself was that sour-dough pizza-base kind, and did a good job of mopping up the balsamic and olive oil from the bottles on our table. (Plus points for this; free-flow condiments is always a bonus. Nothing more frustrating than a tiny bowl of olive oil with a couple of drops of balsamic floating forlornly)
We ordered the Rustica salad (¥48) and the Caprese (¥46). The Rustica was a generous serving of mixed leaves, big ribbons of pecorino cheese, and generous stripes of Parma ham. The Caprese was the classic tomato, mozzarella and basil. All perfectly decent and tasty.
For mains, we tried the Escalope Milanese (¥75) and the Rigatoni with Chicken and Rosemary-Tomato Sauce (¥52). We won’t be rushing back for the escalope, but the pasta was an extremely pleasant surprise. The rigatoni was perfectly al dente, and the chicken cubes were tender. The best part was the sauce. Whoever thought of adding rosemary to a creamy tomato sauce deserves an award.
Also on the menu is a modest selection of pizzas for between ¥50 and ¥80, desserts including chocolate mousse for ¥20. They also sell deli items like olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
The drinks: Wines, beers, spirits – the usual array. We tried the house red at ¥32 a glass, and were satisfied, but not blown away.
Why you’ll be back: If you’re on Kangding Lu and don’t fancy Thai, Yunnanese, or Cantonese, try this place. A very satisfactory Italian meal.