Friday, August 24, 2007

La Lanterna, Scheveningen

It's not gourmet and fine-dining but it's affordable, comforting Italian food coupled with a warm, friendly vibe suitable for all-night story telling.
Nestled along Keizerstraat at Scheveningen is a franchise of the big La Lanterna chain of Italian restaurants.

I don't usually review restaurant chains but this I particularly like. It's easy to forget you're in the Netherlands from the moment you step inside. The jovial manager, Mario greets everyone with a friendly smile and a firm handshake. His staff barely speak English and are even more fluent in Italian than Dutch. Grazie!

The place is decorated with bottles of wine hanging from the roof and the pizza oven is in plain view. This gives off some warmth which is great during winter however you end up smelling like pizza after dinner. But that's ok since you'll also smell like cigarette smoke anyway because of all the Dutch lighting up indoors.

I recommend the seafood risotto dribbled with chili oil. The thin-crust pizzas are made fresh and are affordable and filling at €8. (Portions are big enough for two asians to share.) I wasn't too happy with the lasagna-- too rich and creamy to have by itself.

Rating: 0
Four pawikan points. Bonus points for the complimentary marsala dessert wine that Mario offers to everyone. It's not really a date place but come here with a big group or if you want to have a quick, no-nonsense meal. Drink a lot of wine and don't be shy-- boisterous laughter won't be out of place.

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