La Bottega Di Luca
Chef Luca Appino's deli cum restaurant sticks to traditional recipes.
When it comes to Italian fine dining, La Bottega lives up to expectations in every way shape and form, from the authenticity of the food (drawn from all parts of Italy), the hands on service by Chef Luca and his staff, the classy ambience and yes, the hefty bill at the end of your meal. For a slightly more uptight and hiso option, head indoors with the rich Thai and expat families; otherwise, head for the dark wooden balcony. And that’s where the decision-making stops. The friendly and well-versed staff will tell you all you need to know, from the daily specials (which rotate based on the available ingredients) to what region of Italy the dishes come from. On a recent visit, they insisted we switch from the Caprese salad, which usually comes piled with chunks of mozzarella, to a more unique burratina cheese with cherry tomatoes, rocket and eggplant. The cheese, a “cousin” of the mozzarella, is a much softer option and perfectly complements the sweet and sour cherry tomatoes. When it comes to mains, get past the disappointment about the lack of pizzas—La Bottega is above that. Instead, opt for the ravioli with porcini mushrooms in a creamy truffle sauce. Unlike most places, where the ravioli swims in the sauce, you’ll find the pasta pieces to be almost dry but bursting with flavor. Another dish that looks bland but oozes with taste is the Risotto di Luca. This specialty incorporates black truffle cheese and is topped with paper-thin slices of Italian bacon. The end result is rich but delicious and like all the food looks great as well. Each dish is served in large, over-sized white dishes adorned with tiny pieces of “decoration” in the form of tiny herbs or fruits—like the homemade, tiramisu served with wild berries and slices of orange. The prices do mean it’s definitely the kind of restaurant you save for special occasions, but the quality of food means you won’t be dissapointed. Corkage B790.