It would take a brave person to hazard a guess on the number of Italian restaurants in Bengaluru. From fine dining restaurants in luxury hotels to cosy cafes or trattorias (to borrow an Italian term), there's no dearth of Italian dining options in Bengaluru. The city's 21st century dining culture has been shaped by locals, expats and scores of working professionals from across India who have moved to the city during the past decade or two. Aside from true blue Italian restaurants, there are also international restaurants and gastropubs with menus that have room for risottos, pastas and classic Italian desserts like a tiramisu or a pannacotta. Our list focuses on speciality Italian restaurants that rank among the finest in the city and is by no means exhaustive:
1. Alba, JW Marriott
A show kitchen is in the heart of the restaurant that takes design cues from an amphitheatre. The ascending seating adds an element of privacy for each table while the decor includes fine touches like Italian marble from Cararra. Signatures at this fine dining restaurant in the heart of the city include their beetroot and chestnut risotto, farmer-style Cacciucco (a traditional fish stew) and their range of gelatos.
Where: JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru, Vittal Mallya Road
2. Bene, Sheraton Grand Hotel At Brigade Gateway
Bene is a refreshingly large restaurant with a contemporary vibe that borders on glamourous. The restaurant's new menu crafted by master chef Roberto, (who has also served in Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide) leans towards contemporary Italian fare. Some of the must try dishes in the new menu include 18 Bottoni - Handmade pasta stuffed with tenderloin marinated with whisky and their deconstructed Zabaglione created with eggs, sugar & marsala wine.
Where: Sheraton Grand Hotel at Brigade Gateway, Dr Rajkumar Road.
3. Caprese, Shangri-La Hotel
On paper this might be a Mediterranean restaurant but the menu tilts heavily towards Italian. The restaurant's eponymous Caprese salad with fresh Buratta cheese is one of their bestsellers. It's one of the city's most elegant settings with sweeping views of old Bangalore and the Windsor-style Bangalore palace from the 18th floor. Their beverage list has an impressive selection of Italian Pinot Grigio wines while their ravioli and the live tiramisu on your table complete an authentic Italian experience.
Where: Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru, Palace Road.
4. Ottimo, ITC Gardenia
Ottimo roughly translates to excellent; it's a fair description of this popular Italian restaurant that serves a contemporary interpretation of Italian cuisine that is rooted in traditional elements. A show kitchen is the defining feature in a restaurant that covers Italy's multiple culinary regions and cities from Parma to Florence to Milan. The grappa and wine library is one of the most exhaustive in the city.
Where: ITC Gardenia, Residency Road
5. Toscano Restaurant and Wine Bar
Toscano Restaurant and Wine Bar has been one of Bengaluru's 'go to' stand-alone Italian restaurants since the 2000s. It's now a chain with multiple locations across the city but nothing quiet beats the ambience and location at their premier restaurant at UB City. It works equally well as an intimate dinner destination and for a relaxed weekend brunch. Aside from the extensive wine list, the restaurant's signature dishes are worth the drive. Check out their grilled basil crusted lamb chops, the homemade Ravioli Caprese and their signature tiramisu.
Where: UB City, Vittal Mallya Road.
Even as this stand-alone restaurant brand has expanded to become a chain, it has retained its original charm and stayed consistent across locations. Regulars swear by some of their uncomplicated dishes like the classic Margherita pizza, crostini and chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella, asparagus and sage. We're partial to their Indiranagar location that offers a choice of indoor and alfresco seating options with a cosy ambience replete with wooden flooring. Do stay for dessert! Their dolci (Italian for dessert) options include classics like the panna cotta.
Where: 12th Main Road, Indirangar
These restaurants round up some of Italy's emblematic dishes and comfort food. Whether you're looking for a haute Italian dining experience or digging into a classic thin crust pizza at a casual restaurant in Bangalore, our list is a great starting point.