La Trattoria Italian Restaurant has now closed

A traditional Italian trattoria and wine bar with great food, wines from around the world and nightly jazz. By Chris Mueller. Photos by Linh Phanroy.

Despite its name, La Trattoria doesn’t scream Italian. The glass front doors looking onto busy Le Thanh Ton open up to a sparsely decorated dining room. The beige walls, dark grey arches and vaulted brick ceilings give the restaurant an airy yet intimate feel. When we visited during the afternoon, the glass doors let in just enough natural light for an enjoyable afternoon meal or business lunch.

But make no mistake, this place is as Italian as it gets. The talented chef was hired in Venice and makes a new menu every day, based on the freshest ingredients and whatever inspires him.

The ingredients in our first dish, the pappardelle with jumbo scallops and cherry tomatoes (VND 320,000), were certainly fresh. The huge mollusks in this pasta were seasoned just enough so as not to overpower the rest of the seafood. To my surprise, I was most impressed with the bright red cherry tomatoes. Usually when tomatoes are added to a pasta, they turn to mush and only seem to be there for the colour, but these were still sweet and juicy and gave the dish a wonderful freshness.

As a side we tried the Italian cheese plate (VND 300,000 for a small, VND 450,000 for a large). Cheese is always good no matter how it’s served, but what made this unique were the sauces drizzled on the plate. Both the caramelised red wine with cinnamon and anise and the honey provided a sweetness that complemented the strong cheeses.

For dessert, we were presented with the caramelised pear on Chianti (VND 120,000). Boiled in sugar and placed on top of the classic Tuscan red wine mixed with sugar, the pear was crowned with an impressive pastry-like sculpture that left us wondering how to begin eating. The pastry added a neutralising crisp to the gooey and very sweet pear.

If you aren’t ready for a full meal, or are just looking for a place to relax, the wine bar on the third floor makes for a perfect stop. Fitted with couches, a bar and high tables, Il Buon Vino is stocked with more than 30 different types of wine from around the world, sold by the bottle for VND 95,000 to VND 155,000 per glass. The lounge also has nightly electronic jazz sessions by a resident DJ.

11 Le Thanh Ton, D1
01 63 49 91 625
11am to 2.30pm, 3.30pm to 11pm, closed Monday 



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