La Dolce Vita has been around since 1986 and is one of the few restaurants in Kathmandu to be able to boast of such longevity. The secret to its success seems to lie in its conviction that it doesn’t have to jump onto “serve everything and cater to everyone’s demands bandwagon”, but to quietly plod away, determined to provide the best quality Italian food in Nepal. And it is a philosophy that has clearly worked. Travellers recommend this tiny gem of a place to others and for Kathmanduites in the know, there is no other place quite like it if the craving for pizzas and pastas in rich sauces rise.
Located on the busiest intersection of Thamel, it is always amazing to see how quiet and relaxing it is inside. Spread out over three floors, earthy, rustic and comforting, La Dolce Vita is the perfect place to slip away for some discreet people watching. I prefer it in the afternoons when it is less noisy largely due to the lack of wanna-be rock bands blaring out bad cover versions of 70s rock hits raucously from neighbouring roof-top restaurants.
My fellow food explorers on this jaunt to La Dolce Vita were of the meat and pasta loving variety and I had been forewarned that they would not tolerate nibbling on salad greens or biting off delicate bits of antipasti. So we dove right into the mains and started with the Pizza Hawaiian (Rs 550).
La Dolce Vita is owned by the same brothers who own the widely popular Roadhouse Cafés and the wood fired oven thin crust pizza did not dissappoint. Most pizza aficionados would shudder at the thought of pineapple on a pizza. But I happen to love the sharp sweet bits of pineapple that clash so delightfully with the rich fattiness of the mozzarella.
The cheese bubbles and wraps itself around the little fruity chunks; the ham provides a salty burst of flavor – what’s not to love? Also I will admit that I feel it is a healthier option- the fruit being better than say sausages and salami- my other two favourite pizza toppings.
Everything sounds better in Italian- case in point - the Braciola de Maiale alla Griglia (Rs 650) which is a honey glazed pork chop with wedged potatoes and steamed veggies.
The language transforms the humble chop into one of lip smacking deliciousness and thankfully the actual dish lives upto the rather fancy name. Yes, another dish with sucrose added to it and yet another case of the sweetness of the honey bringing out the full range of flavors of the meat but I loved the slightly charred edges on the meat, even using the bread to mop up the remaining sauce rendering my plate spotless.
PICS: RUBY TUESDAY
If there was one dish that I would recommend wholeheartedly- it would be this- the Ravioli di farmagio di Capra e Spinaci (Rs 525). My love for meat is well-documented so just the fact that I would willingly choose this vegetarian dish says a lot about how good it was. Perfectly cooked pockets of pasta encase a delicate mix of goat cheese and spinach and this comes with a decadent béchamel sauce with generous lashings of parmesan cheese, accompanied with thick chunks of hearty bread to sop up the remaining goodness.
This is a place to go and have a long leisurely meal, take breaks between courses, and then make sure that even if you can’t eat another bite, have enough space left in your tummy for an excellent cup of freshly brewed espresso. Lounge on one of the sofas at the terrace garden while sipping on your coffee after all La Dolce Vita is the good life… a good, good life.
How to get there: La Dolce Vita is right opposite the Kathmandu Guest House gate in Thamel.