Traditional Italian fare in stylish and contemporary surroundings. Review by Brett Davis. Photos courtesy of La Bettola.
The first inescapable impression when you walk through the door of La Bettola is that this place means business. This is due to the brick, wood-fired pizza oven just on your left in the open kitchen. For things like pizzas and focaccia there really is no substitute.
This restaurant on downtown Ho Tung Mau in District 1 is an elegant space with bar-side eating downstairs and two dining rooms (one smoking, the other non-smoking) on the second level.
Owner and chef Giuseppe Amorello has worked in Italian kitchens around the world for more than 20 years, and here he has designed a menu that celebrates regional classics from around his native land, while at the same time focusing on keeping everything as fresh and homemade as possible.
A good deal of the key elements are made on-site, including the bread and pizza doughs, pasta, ricotta and mozzarella cheese.
For starters there are a couple of great sharing options. The salumi e formaggi (VND 285,000) is a generous platter of mixed cold cuts and cheeses served with a side of onion jam. The La Bettola (VND 265,000) is one of the house signature dishes and hails from Chef Amorello’s home region in northern Italy. A platter of shaved porchetta that has been slow roasted with herbs, it is accompanied by house-made focaccia and mozzarella.
The menu contains a selection of meat and fish main courses. The cotoletta alla Milanese (VND 265,000) is an always popular pork chop pan-fried in clarified butter and served with mashed potatoes. On the seafood side, the fritto misto (VND 365,000), a selection of fried seafood, is a good choice.
Naturally there is an extensive range of pizzas, pasta and risotto dishes on the menu. Pizzas range from VND 140,000 for the margherita to VND 255,000 for the La Bettola which is topped with fresh mozzarella, speck, rucola, black olives and cherry tomato confit.
Also worth a mention is the chitarra e pesce (VND 170,000), a handmade pasta with cod in a creamy broccoli sauce, and the risotto e salisica (VND 325,000), a risotto with saffron and sausage in butter and parmesan cheese.
Add in a wine list that’s loyal to Italy all the way through and also includes several good selections of wine you can buy by the glass, and you have a serious contender for the leading Italian restaurant in town. La Bettola also does delivery, albeit with a slightly trimmed down menu, so you can have great Italian food brought to your door.