The Italians are a passionate bunch so it is no surprise that their food too, is made with a lot of passion and flavour.
The chances of being able to savour true Italian delights does not come by easily, especially in Sri Lanka.
However, that is not the case anymore because you can experience a little piece of Italy, right here in Colombo. And this little piece of Italy is the restaurant, Regina Margherita, situated down Park Road.
From the structure to the service, everything gives you a sense of being in Italy itself. The structure is that of an Italian Trattoria, which is a typical Italian style restaurant built with brick and arched roofs. Adding to all this, is the Italian music and the checked table cloths! Yes, the table cloths green and white checks.
Now getting down to business, the food! It is made to taste just like the kind of food you would have at a home in Italy. This is due to the passion of Barbara Avossa Gamage, a native of Italy who uses her grandmother's cook book for recipes, in order to prepare the dishes at the restaurant.
Having savoured some of their dishes, including the traditional Italian thin crust pizza baked in a wood-fired brick oven, by the friendly Luigi, I can tell you that the pizza is simply amazing! And the best part? It only takes between three and a half to four minutes to bake and the toppings are varied.
Having dined at the restaurant several times, it is clear that the emphasis made on the fresh ingredients both from here and from Italy definitely makes a difference in the flavour of the food. Even the various pastas like the ravioli, fettuccini and gnocchi, just to name a few, have an incredible taste as they are made every morning. The ravioli with fresh pesto sauce and parmesan cheese is scrumptious and a must try.
The traditional start to an Italian meal is a dish served with various types of meats like salami and prosciutto accompanied with vegetables in olive oil and bread, known as the antipasto Italian – a good way to start off your experience at Regina Margherita, along with a glass of wine. This dish is incidentally pretty popular to regulars at the restaurant.
"The idea came about because I wanted to give the feel of my country," says Barabara, who always wanted to settle down in Asia having lived in New Delhi for a few years. By profession, she is a lawyer and it is her love and passion for Italian food that made her start up Regina Margherita. She also strives to make sure her customers are comfortable with the food they order, and feels that by preparing dishes that have a home made flavour contributes to this. Barbara also allows her customers to, "customise their food," she says adding that she even knows what her regular customers like. If something is not on the menu she tries her best to prepare it, in order to satisfy her customers.
Another favourite among their regulars is the Melanzane alla Parmigiana – a dish made with eggplant along with tomato sauce, basil leaves, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. The veal tenderloin is also a popular dish and so is the risotto.
They also have a few desserts to choose from including the well known Italian Tiramisu along with the Nutella crust cake with ice cream, strawberry pie. And all these delights can be accompanied by some fine wine.
Barbara is extremely involved in every aspect of the restaurant from deciding what to purchase to preparing the meals. She also tries her very best to get to know her customers and make them feel at home, so to speak, when they come over for a meal.
|Barbara and Luigi
Regina Margherita which opened in September this year, is a place for the whole family. They are only open for dinner, on weekdays, between 6.30pm and midnight and they plan to be open till around 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, allowing anyone to come by for a cappuccino! They seat 70 and plan to keep it that way, in order to maintain their standard.
They also do take away and delivery and the orders for delivery need to be placed in advance and they can be contacted on 739 4440 and it must be noted that the delivery menu is slightly different from their usual menu. She also has a Delicatessen which give her customers the chance to purchase some of the meats and cheeses so they can try and prepare them at home.
Barbara along with her extremely supportive husband, Dimu and their very efficient crew give you excellent service and make you feel as though you are home – in terms of helping you decide on what to order and simply making your experience at Regina Margherita an experience worth repeating!