Via Veneto

July 13, 2011
I've wanted to try this place for a long time. The prices are quite high since this is a fine dining venue, but I didn't find the decor particularly elegant. I chose to visit for lunch because prices are inflated during dinner time, as in many other restaurants. I never understood why the same dish should cost more at night. But I should mention that the dinner menu is more extensive with lots of extra food options.

After we placed our orders, the waiter brought us a basket of focaccia bread and a dip of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The bread was nice and soft with the faint fragrance of herbs. It tasted great by itself, but it was so much better with the dip. We actually managed to finish the whole basket!

I didn't want to get something boring like pasta, so I ordered the scaloppine al limone ($13.95) which is milk fed veal in a caper and lemon white wine sauce. I had expected the portion to be really small with just a few thin slices of meat, so I was glad to see a side of pasta. The portion was still quite small, but at least I wouldn't have to leave hungry. The veal was amazingly soft and tender, and the texture actually seemed more like pork than beef. I loved the lemon white wine sauce. It was rich but refreshing at the same time. The pasta was a bit hard, but I think it was purposely cooked that way to make it more chewy.

Mom also thought pasta was boring and decided to get the sogliola dei lidi ($13.95), pan seared sole with dried Roma tomatoes in a pesto cream sauce. The sauce was very creamy and delicious with a rather strong cheese flavour. It worked perfectly with the soft flaky fish.

Dad was the only one who went for a pasta dish. He got the linguine ai frutti di mare ($13.95), a seafood mix of mussels, clams, tiger prawns and squid in a tomato sauce. The linguine was cooked al dente, and was a lot softer and more flavourful than my pasta. The sauce was savoury and satisfying, and just as tasty as the lemon white wine sauce and the pesto cream.

I loved all of the dishes and the service was great as well. We never had to ask for our water to be refilled, and the owner was very friendly and came by to make conversation. I will definitely come back again, and maybe next time I'll try dinner.

EDIT: Jul 30, 2011

I came back to try the 3-course dinner ($36) and the food was just as excellent as last time. Dinner prices were definitely higher and there was an extra charge for the focaccia bread that was complimentary during lunch. The beef carpaccio appetizer was very small with only 4 thin slices, but the mustard aioli was creamy and delicious.

The tagliatelle verdi, a vegetarian pasta dish, was surprisingly tasty because of the gorgonzola and walnut cream sauce. I really liked the chewy spinach noodles and the crunchy walnuts.

The pollo al limoncello was grilled chicken breast and leg in a lime and white wine sauce. The meat was juicy and tender, and the sauce was refreshing. The potatoes were surprisingly crispy and not mushy at all.

The salmone del pacifico or grilled wild salmon was served with tomato and red onion salsa that added a refreshing juiciness to the dish. The light tarragon sauce was also a nice touch. But what really wowed me was how soft and tender the fish was. Usually grilled salmon is quite firm and dry, but this was tender and moist like cod.

The major highlight of the meal was the tiramisu. It was very authentic and one of the best I've had. I've had a lot of so-called tiramisu that's mostly mousse with little to no cake/biscuit. This one was evenly layered with a chocolate liquor soaked bottom and alternating slabs of creamy mascarpone and spongy lady finger biscuits. It was absolutely gorgeous!

The panna cotta was actually pretty good as well with its clean and crisp lemony tartness and creamy vanilla flavour. Personally I found it a bit too tart and of course it paled in comparison to the tiramisu.

The food and service are undoubtedly excellent, but I would probably only come back for lunch because dinner prices are too expensive.

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