Best Italian Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur

1. il Lido

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Not so long ago, it was fiendishly difficult to scratch one’s itch for good Italian chow in KL. Happily however, the roulette wheel of food trends has once again landed on the Italian food card and it’s now easier to score some top-notch food from Fellini’s country. The latest to join the growing roster is il Lido, and it could well be the heir to the throne, not least because it has all the trademarks of a restaurant that knows where its priorities lie. From the deliberately restrained setting and Starck – pun fully intended– simplicity of the furniture, everything is geared towards showcasing the star of the show, and like any true icon, she does not disappoint.

From the Sardinian suckling pig – as exquisite to savour as it is tortuous to prepare (several hours’ confit time, chilling, pressing, grilling and roasting are just a few of the many steps said piggy undergoes before it winds up on your pristine white plate) – to the capellini with sea urchin and buffalo milk ricotta (a virtuoso symphony of textures and a master class in subtlety, however, at the time of print, the restaurant has modified the dish slightly to become spaghetti with sea urchin), this is Italian food at its finest. Despite the guilt that tugged at my conscience, I had to try the panfried goose liver with a sweet potato galette and saba wine must. The liver was superb, with just the right amount of crisp and a silken centre that almost assuaged my hypocrisy.

– Time Out KL

Make a reservation for il Lido at http://www.kaimen.asia/restaurants/il-lido

2. Garibaldi

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Starters are fairly impressive. The homemade tagliolini with braised duck ragu, duck liver sage and pumpkin reminded me once again that nothing beats freshly made pasta, while the inspired marriage of ingredients made the sauce a superb companion. The other signature special is the fegata with roasted goose liver, caramelised apples and balsamic vinegar. It’s a tasty – if not especially memorable – starter.

The main course section is where it all begins to unravel. The scaloppini had the texture of an old man’s ear lobes while the purported signature osso bucco smelt bad but tasted far worse. It’s a shame to have to write this as in many other respects, like the uniformly excellent desserts (the pannacotta is a standout exercise in quiveringly acquiescent perfection), Garibaldi – upstairs at least – has so much going for it. I hope that even as I write this, Garibaldi is working out the kinks and is well on its way towards taking its rightful place as one of the more esteemed eateries in Kuala Lumpur. As a Bangsarite, I have more than a vested interest in its success.

– Time Out KL

Make a reservation for Garibaldi at http://www.kaimen.asia/restaurants/garibaldi-italian-restaurant-bar–2

3. La Risata

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Stride past the al-fresco terrace into the spacious, skylight-illuminated courtyard and look up: you’ll see a wine cellar brimming with vino from the Old and New World. An antique chandelier ornates the centre space and draws your attention to the earthy bricked walls and wood-heavy décor surrounding it. The ‘loft-style’ lounge area – replete with retro-furnished sofas and window panels – is eye-catching but endearingly unostentatious.

Since La Risata aims for something more down-to-earth instead of fine-dining fanfare, food is served in a rough-handed yet appetising manner. Their crispy Pizza Bresaola e Rucola has casual scatterings of air-dried beef, rocket salad and parmesan shavings while the deep-fried Mozzarella in Carrozza (a sandwich with cheese and anchovies) is garnished with sprinkles of parsley on top. Food presentation is that simple but it appeals to diners who wish to get away from the sophisticated Italian fare.

– Time Out KL

Make a reservation for La Risata at http://www.kaimen.asia/restaurants/la-risata

4. Neroteca

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A recent meal got off to a shaky start when a request for a negroni, a whalloppacking Italian aperitivo-hour staple made with gin, Campari, and vermouth resulted instead in a mix of orange juice and barely a whisper of liquor, but the restaurant quickly redeemed itself with the tagliera Neroteca. The cold plate, consisting of rippling waves of thinly sliced imported salumi (including three types of salami, two types of ham, and mortadella), easily satisfied four as a starter even though the menu suggested two to share. One needn’t eschew meat to appreciate the Vegetariano, a slab of smoked scamorza cheese, oozy from a turn under the grill, surrounded by tasty bits and bobs from Neroteca’s antipasti case.

In Italy, one often does better to stick with the pasta course and give secondi, or mains, a miss. While some of Neroteca’s secondi shine — mussels, when available, are cooked simply with white wine and tomatoes and served with plenty of sauce to be sopped up with the restaurant’s excellent bread, and the grilled fish of the day is doused with wonderfully peppery olive oil — it’s the restaurant’s pasta dishes that are likely to prompt a return visit. Rustic orriechette Pugliese, for instance, boasts a brilliant pairing of garlicky sausage with lightly bitter broccoli, while fusilli de la casa, gorgonzola-robed ‘corkscrews’ dotted with bits of tomato and zippy chilli salami, is pure comfort food.

– Time Out KL

Make a reservation for Neroteca at http://www.kaimen.asia/restaurants/neroteca

5. Ciccio

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With branches and trees blocking your entrance and simple, unsophisticated décor, you could be forgiven for thinking Ciccio is a basic, no frills restaurant. I’m honest enough to admit those factors put me off eating there in favour of Nerovivo for a while. However, there is nothing basic about a menu that details a dozen types of bruschetta (crisp, fresh and pleasant, if a little soft on the base), soups, salads, and myriad main courses of sometimes outrageous individuality. Braised lamb shank with mint couscous may not sound that Italian but the execution works. And vodka in the fettucine al salmone is another new one on me, but there can be no complaints over the dish served; right up there, as it is, with the best in the city.

– Time Out KL

Make a reservation for Ciccio at http://www.kaimen.asia/restaurants/ciccio

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One Response to Best Italian Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur

  1. Pingback: Meet the Cronut | it's big in New York and hitting Ottawa now | The Cronuts

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