By Janani Vithanage
Located in one of the busiest parts of Colombo, yet somehow sheltered from the hustle and bustle of the city, Dolce Italia is a little Italian restaurant that’s perfect for a relaxed meet-up with a few friends or a date. Owned by two Italian bestfriends, something that really sets this place apart from similar eateries is that all their ingredients are brought in from Italy and prepared according to the owners’ exacting Italian recipes! We decided to try one of their “main course” dishes of grilled fish fillet, a half n’ half pizza, chicken ravioli and tiramisu for dessert.
As we walked into the restaurant, we were escorted to our table by a member of staff, Sasitharan, who was sweetly helpful throughout our visit. Dolce Italia offers a variety of seating options including a main indoor dining area set out with natty-looking tables beautifully set out with mats, cutlery and wine glasses and dainty dishes holding salt, pepper and chili, along with bottles of olive oil (which appears to be a must-have when it comes to Italian cuisine). There is also a more casual area set out with a few comfy sofas if that’s what you prefer and 2 outdoor seating sections which, we imagined, would be quite pleasing if the day wasn’t too hot. The warm lighting and predominantly yellow, brown and red shades used for the walls and furniture served to create a very casual, cozy, home-like atmosphere, which we really appreciated.
- Branzino ai Ferri
Consisting of a grilled Modha fish fillet, served alongside salad, sautéed spinach, potatoes and a basket of bread, this isn’t a strictly Italian dish, but we really enjoyed it. The fish fillet was large and the very first mouthful assured us that it had been expertly marinated. The taste of herbs and lemon really complimented that of the succulent fish, without being too overwhelming. The potatoes were crispy and went well with the fillet, while the fresh salad served as an excellent palate cleanser. One of my favourite parts of the dish was actually the spinach, which had been sautéed to perfection.
- Pizza con Mozzarella di Buffala and Pollo e Spezie
When one thinks of Italian cuisine, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is “pizza”. Dolce Italia has a very extensive range of 13” artisan pizzas. Our friendly assistant, Sasitharan, insisted that we opt for the Kurakkan dough rather than the normal dough. Although we were initially doubtful about this, we ended up being glad we’d gone with his recommendation. The kurakkan dough is a refreshing change from the regular base we were used to and had the added benefit of being a healthier option.
Priced at LKR 2000, The “Pizza con Mozzarella di Buffala” is a cheesy pizza made of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves and fresh buffalo mozzarella. This was delightful to the taste buds, with all the ingredients working together to give a harmonious blend of flavor.
The “Pollo e Spezie”, priced at LKR 1900, leans more towards the spicy side of things and has a Sri Lankan twist to it. The toppings consist of chicken curry cooked in the Sri Lankan style, caramelized onions, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. However, we decided this could do with a little improvement. The chicken was a bit too salty and we felt that the cheesy element of this pizza didn’t really pull through; the pizza was quite dry.
We were also offered a special spicy oil; olive oil infused with dried chili, chili flakes, garlic, veggies and rosemary, to be drizzled over our pizza. We loved this and definitely felt that it boosted the taste of both toppings.
- Ravioli al Pollo
Ravioli is a dish of Italian dumplings with a variety of fillings; we decided to go with the chicken and ricotta cheese. This was, by far, my favourite selection. At Dolce Italia, customers are given the option of requesting that their ravioli be served with red sauce, white sauce or a sage and butter sauce. It was suggested that we order ours with a mixture of both the red and white sauce. We. Loved. It. The cream-based white sauce served to beautifully tone down the tangier, sharper taste of the mainly tomato-based red sauce, preventing it from overpowering the flavor of the chicken and cheese filling. This dreamy concoction was honestly heaven on a plate. The star of the show.
Tiramisu is an iconic Italian dessert that literally translates into “cheer me up”. Although we didn’t really need cheering up after the sumptuous dishes we’d just tasted, this was definitely something we really enjoyed. The dessert was very creamy and had the taste of authentic tiramisu, with the sweet and bitter elements delivered by the mascarpone cheese and the expresso-soaked lady fingers striking a perfect balance.
Apart from the items listed on the menu, the restaurant offers an impressive selection of bread, buns, croissants, éclairs, cookies, pies, tarts and mousses. We tried 2 little baked fritters filled with custard and chocolate called Zeppole (we loved how the staff knew the Italian terms for everything they serve). These were a bit too heavy to suit me, but my lunch partner loved them, so you may want to try those out as well.
Dolce Italia is also home to a range of in-house prepared sauces, oils, ready-to-bake pizzas and ravioli. Also on display were pastas, olives and coffee, all imported from Italy. Oh and they have Nutella as well!
Our experience at Dolce Italia was truly wonderful; it’s already become one of my favourite restaurants! Grab a friend, your family or your significant other and head over there for a truly Italian meal. We guarantee that you’ll keep going back for more (I sure will)! Make sure you try their ravioli. We promise you won’t regret it.
Check out their full menu on their website.
Visit them on Instagram @casadolceitalia
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 7:00 am. to 11:00 pm.