The gym is a fond and distant memory, one of endorphins, sweetly salty sweat, and OCD driven number watching. While I know I need to hop back on that treadmill and pick up those weights- the call of canneloni, sorprese, osso buco, and farfalle with the additional promise of spicy bolognese, heavenly gorgonzola sauce, and fresh pesto is far too strong after a 9 hour work day to pull on those swishy shorts and Nike Frees.
You can call me undisciplined, but you sure as hell can’t say I’m unhappy!
I’m no foodie and for sure have no real experience as a food reviewer, I just happen to like to eat and to tell people why I liked it. So if that’s good enough for you- here are a few favorite spots for my recent vice of Italian fare…
Le Duo (La Potenza)
I tried out the gorgonzola orrechiette (almost like a soup it was so creamy…oops, there goes a bit of drool onto my keyboard) at Le Duo last week over a glass of white with little cats running about outside and a large aviary with candy colored birds chirping as we dined. The splashes of kid’s in the adjacent pool didn’t make for an ideal meeting spot for a business sit-down, but inside there would have been a rush of air con and a meeting space ideal for a casual client. Not only was the dish delicious to the point of euphoria, I was able to take home a bottle of home made limoncello for a mere $12! Sweet service, relaxed atmosphere, and a straight forward yet bountiful menu at very decent prices!
I took the advice of a food and bevy savvy gent of the city and met at Aperitivo, which used to be the well-known and loved, yet dated, Dolce Italia. I won’t ever forget the divine softness of the melt in your mouth meatballs slathered in aromatic tomato sauce before a night out on the town and the shared pizzas making their jolly way around the table at it’s old haunt. However, the upgraded menu, ambiance, and specifically the 6 pasta option for $19.95 (great for sharing between 3 or so people- also available in options of 2, 3, 4, and 5) sealed the deal for me; Aperitivo maaay be being my favorite new Italian spot in the city. We tried a host of options in the wonderfully lit upstairs seating area over lunch and ooh-ed and aah-ed as we tested each dish. The carbonara? Brilliant. The gorgonzola rigatoni with spinach? Sigh inducing. The rotini agliata? Mouth watering. A perfect spot for a business lunch, romantic meal, dinner with friends, or a solo moment. Really- I can’t see going wrong here.
I was first introduced to Nike by my long gone yet not forgotten Phnom Penh blogging bud, Ashley. While she’s been off the online radar for a while, the memories of chats over spaghetti bolognese won’t be forgotten! From hearty calzones to huge portions of pasta of any kind (one even named after a friend, apparently!)- Nike offers the Italian goods for super cheap ($4 for a heaping plate!) in a basic environment but a chef with as much zest as his cooking!
When Ritchie’s mom, Wendy, was visiting this past winter- Terrazza was our choice stop off. For a refreshing glass of Sauv Blanc sitting outside smoking skinny cigarettes or for a hearty helping of lasagna, delightful nibbles of mozzarella in carrozza, or the especially delicious, rich and creamy papparedelle della marca – we never left in want and definitely had to unbutton a pair of jeans once or twice. The service is great, the owner extremely nice, and sometimes- if you’re lucky, you’ll get a complimentary serving of limoncello at the end of your meal! Not the least expensive of the bunch- but worth it for a nice night out.
*I particularly like sitting outside, inside- it feels a bit as if everyone is listening in on your conversation.
I haven’t yet even touched on the dozens of other Italian eateries in the city- but as for now, I think these are all I need for the time being!
So put on your loosest fitting pants, pop on Domenico Modugno’s ‘Volare‘, and prepare yourself for a night of proper indulgence.