19-25 February 2016 #796

Caffe Italiano

A must try for those who want to enjoy a relaxing meal in the lake city, slightly off the beaten path
Someplace Else by Smriti Basnet

Wearied after a long seven-hour journey from Kathmandu, my friend and I yearned for a quiet dinner away from the bustle of Pokhara city on a Saturday night. Tucked away between hotels in a secluded alleyway, we stumbled upon Caffe Italiano. On par with the many eclectic restaurants on Pokhara’s lakeside, the charm and hospitality of this establishment was even more than we could have expected. 

Spacious, well-lit and spruced up with wooden furniture, the restaurant offers ample choice of seating arrangements: by the fireplace, in the garden, indoor on the ground level and elevated outdoor seating. We opted for the first floor and were promptly escorted to a table overlooking the alleyway.

The café boasts an elaborate menu of appetisers, soups, pizzas, pastas, and desserts. Overwhelmed by the variety, we finally decided upon the Insalata Caprese (Rs 350) : an Italian salad with slices of mozzarella, tomato and basil, made to resemble the Italian flag. Within minutes of having placed the order, the salad was laid out in front of us. Although the presentation left much to be desired, the fresh tomatoes and basil bursting with brightness more than compensated for it. 

PICS: YU WEI LIEW

Having cleansed our palates to start the evening, for the main course we chose the Oven Baked Beef Lasagna (Rs 600), the quintessential Italian dish made with tomato sauce and meat stuffed within stacked layers of pasta sheets. This version was smothered in béchamel, a classic cream-based sauce originating from French cuisine. Thick and seasoned to perfection, the béchamel complemented the flavours of the pasta while also balancing the succulence of the ground meat, tying the whole dish together.

Two samplings down, we found ourselves craving a traditional Italian dessert, Tiramisu, to round off the evening. But to our dismay, it was not available due to the blockade and frequent power cuts. Our server graciously suggested that we go for the Chocolate Brownie (Rs 280) instead. Minutes later, a sizeable piece of warm chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream dripping down its sides was placed in front of us. As we sunk our teeth into it, we could feel the moistness of the luscious brownie. It was the perfect ending to a satisfying meal.

Caffe Italiano is a must try for those who want to enjoy a relaxing meal in the lake city, slightly off the beaten path. Although the prices are a bit steep, a well-rounded meal at this restaurant is money well spent. Prompt service, a friendly smile from your server and an inviting ambiance will definitely have you coming back to this food haven for more.

How to get there: Head straight towards Phewa Lake from the junction between Miteri Park and Basundhara Park, follow the Lakeside Road and take the second right. 

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