One of the best things that comes out of visiting a new city is that you don’t have to shop alone. Now that I am in Chennai, I have a bona fide excuse. I don’t have to ask my husband to take me out or think of a plan where I enjoy my shopping time while he doesn’t get bored. I don’t speak the local language, I could get lost and the circumstantial possibilities are endless. So, he has a moral responsibility to watch out for me, and I have no doubt that he is good at it. I love window shopping, but he hates it. He can’t imagine why someone would want to know the price of or try out something they are not going to buy anyways.
Back home in Mumbai, if I wanted to go window shopping I would get no objections. It’s always much, much more fun when I can try out clothes and have him give an opinion even though that can sound like a grunt at times. So noting that all conditions were favourable for a fun evening of window shopping, I cooked up a story of how Indian wear was lacking in my closet and set a plan in stone. I learned from my new neighbours that Anna Nagar would be a good place to start and so we headed straight for 2nd Avenue street.
After roughly 180 minutes of window shopping my better half began to get restless. My sons tend to get fidgety and he had done a decent job keeping them out of trouble while keeping up with me. But it was nearing dinner time and all the three boys began getting cranky. This is when I stumbled upon “Italiano”.
Set along the Anna Nagar shopping street line, this cosy looking Italian vegetarian food joint seemed like a good stop over for a quick bite. By this time my boys were ready to tear into any food that came their way and I was hoping that the service would be quick. It was. Hot and delicious food served at the blink of an eye helped maintain the mood of our evening. The restaurant has a very colourful and trendy interior which compliments the upbeat nature of its menu. It seemed like a place I would have frequented had I still been in college chilling with buddies. Here is a quick run through of what we ate, which was slower than the rate food was laid at our table.
First up was the Italian Bhel. I am a street food fanatic and I immediately fell in love with this crunchy and chatpatta dish which I believe is the perfect foreign cousin of the Mumbai Bhel puri. If you love Mumbai street food, you will love this!
Next came two pizzas, a Margherita pizza and a Veggie Pizza. The margherita is the standard pizza I order for my boys, and they quickly had their mouth full. The veggie pizza was for us adults and had a decent assortment of exotic vegetables. The toppings were more than adequate, and definitely more than what I have encountered in “branded” pizzas. The base of both the pizzas were crispy, mozzarella cheese nice and stringy and the baked “fresh out of the oven” flavour was a delight!
A unique and interesting dish was the Veggie Cheese Fries. This came across as a crossover between French fries and an exotic salad. The olives bring a bitter sweet flavour to the underlying mild saltiness of the fries with the cheese helping in this blend.
A side to the pizzas was a plate of assorted garlic bread, which were both thicker & better endowed than the conventional branded varieties. The chilli corn one was really spicy!
My husbands favourite were the Babycorn Fritters which were stalks of babycorn fried in cornflakes and dusted with a spicy tangy masala. These are a must try according to him if you love finger foods.
The Italiano Fondue was a good idea to keep our kids busy as we ate. There is a sizeable portion of veggies and toasted bread. The kids loved the activity of dipping the sides in the molten cheese and spent a good amount of time with it, much to our relief!
Our last order for the evening were personalized smaller servings of the BBQ pasta and the Pink pasta. The iced teas complimented the meal well without taking up food space in the tummy. I recommend the strawberry and lemon flavours.
I also tried the salad which had fresh Exotic veggies like zucchini, lettuce, peppers, broccoli and others dressed in vinaigrette and topped with Chipotle and Jalapeno cheese sauce.
Also do try their exotic combo of rice, sautéed veggies and nuggets. Its delicious! ?
By the end of our meal, both my husband and the kids seemed rejuvenated, and that gave me the little extra time I needed to complete my shopping. Now I know I have the perfect quick meal stop over the next time Im in Chennai!
Molto Bene Italiano!!
My Recommendations :
1) ITALIAN BHEL
2) BABY CORN FRITTERS
3) PASTA & PIZZAS
4) MOCKTAILS – LEMON & STRAWBERRY
5) EXOTIC PILAF RICE
1. A great place to dine in for pure veg food. Cosy, nice ambience & good food!
2. Prompt service, hygienic & staff are friendly.
3. Prices are very reasonable & you get value for money.
Price: Rs 400 for two (approx.)