Archive for Italian Food

Papa Johns

Place: Papa Johns
Location: Road No. 12, Opp. Nissan showroom, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Pizza
Meal: Lunch (with a couple of friends)

After enjoying a movie, we decided to go hog at Papa Johns. I loved their pizza’s while in the US, their garlic sauce is yum!! So here we were at their Road No. 12 outlet at about 3:00 PM on Saturday afternoon. One table was occupied, and rest of the place was empty. We sat in a corner and took a while to decide on our order.

We ordered a Meal for Two (half and half of Small Garden Special and Veg. Barbecue pizza, portion of Cheese Sticks, and 2 x Pepsi), Tandoori Chicken for One, Original Breadsticks and a bottle of water. We sat there for about 30 minutes thereafter, but nothing, not even the water or Pepsi’s were served. When after that long we asked the waiter to get us the water at least, he serves the Cheese Sticks. After about 10 minutes, the Pepsi’s were served, but still no water. Then he brings us the Pizza for Two, which was supposed to be a half and half, but it turns out to only Garden Special. We ask for a replacement and he takes the pizza back in. Then came the water, along with Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks, not the Original Breadsticks we ordered. At this point I totally lost it. I asked if the Manager was in the store, and was answered in positive. Five minutes later, another waiter comes and informs us that the Manager is not in the store. We walked out!!

Ten minutes after we sat at our table, the place was empty. We were the only customers in the store and it took the waiter more than 30 minutes to get a bottle of water. And then he messes up our order big time. We would have continued with our meal if the Manager (who was told to be in store) attended to us, but he was amiss.

I had great expectations from this place. Their pizza’s are good, no doubt about that. But if the service is this pathetic, I would never return to this store. Surprisingly, these were the same guys who delivered a pizza on time when I ordered one on New Year’s eve. But such horrid service is not going to gain them customers in the restaurant.

Food: NA
Ambiance: 7/10
Service: 0/10

Verdict: 3/10

PS: We did taste the Cheese Sticks. They were good but not great.

News Cafe

Place: News Cafe
Location: Inorbit Mall, Hitech City
Cuisine: International
Meal: Dinner

Was supposed to hit a pub on Saturday night. This time around, I even had company to go with. But as unfortunate as I am, headed off to News Cafe for a meal. I’ve heard some good stuff about this place so was very eager to try it out. Also, having starved the whole day, was very very hungry.

At 9 PM on a Saturday night, the place looked quite empty. Only the tables on the balcony facing Secret lake were occupied. There were four of us, and we found a table to the far end of the balcony, under the air-condition compressors. Beautiful view of the lake made us accept this table, but we began to regret sitting here after a while. There were loads of mosquitoes, and there was nothing the guy could do to help it.

Anyways, unable to bear our hunger, me and my friend ordered a pasta each while the other two planned to skip a meal. My friend ordered Penne in Alfredo sauce, while I went for Spaghetti in Walnut cream sauce (Spaghetti on consecutive days). We also asked for Apple flavored Hookah (not for me).

The Hookah was served first. I took a taste of it for the first time. Strangely, I couldn’t feel a thing, it was as if I was breather air. But the second time, it made my throat go dry. I wonder what pleasure people get from it. I personally didn’t like it one bit!

My friend’s pasta was served first, and it looked alright. But it apparently dint taste that good. I took a taste, and thought it was very very bland. Mine was served a while later, and was much much better than his meal. It wasnt as great as the one I had the previous night at Little Italy (Review), but no qualms. It was creamy alright, and there were a couple of crunchy walnuts here and there. The garlic bread served along was good, so ordered more of them. Since I was really hungry, I actually dint care much for the taste.

We sat here for about two hours, but the place got duller and duller. There seemed to be absolutely no life at the place. All four of us were starring at each others faces for most of the while. The prices of the food and liquor were exorbitant, and the food dint taste amazing either. The quantity of food served was also quite less. Added to this, the server was quite rude. He wanted us to move to a table for 3 in between, as we were having only food and hookah (he actually said that!!). On the whole, I was very very disappointed. I was hoping for a better end to a long day, and it was absolutely thwarted!!

Food: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 6/10 (Thanks to the beautiful view of the lake)
Service: 5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 1850/- (Including the Hookah and a pack of cigarettes)

Verdict: 6/10

Little Italy

Location: Rd. No. 92, Jubilee Hills, Rd. adj. to Volkswagen showroom
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Dinner

On a Friday night, I badly wanted to go to a pub. But lack of company got me sitting at home as usual. Determined not to stay at home again, decided to go out and eat some good food. So here I was at Little Italy, my favorite Italian restaurant in town. Not wanting to leave amma alone at home, I treated her to loyalty (I am such a doting son 😀 ).

Since it was a Friday night, I thought the place would be packed, so decided to reserve a table by calling an hour ahead. But surprisingly it was quite on this night. Located on top of a hill at Jubilee Hills, this place has an awesome view of the city, and has great ambiance. But the tables are placed quite close to each other which makes it look a little congested. They have cozy tables for couples outside on the balcony, which provides a better view of the city. The dim lights set you in the right mood to enjoy a sumptuous yummy meal. A great place to visit with family as well as with your better half.

I should have clicked more pictures
I was not really hungry after munching something at home late evening, so decided to go light on the meal. We ordered Crostini Alla Ragusana for starters (Sliced farmer’s bread, grilled and topped with artichokes, olives, capers, Italian mayonnaise, pesto and fresh chopped tomatoes). I am actually not so fond of Bruschetta, but wanting to taste something different made decide on this one. Also, the sound of Italian mayonnaise was tempting enough.

And I was very happy with my order. Ten pieces of bread were quite yummy. The tomatoes were fresh and juicy, and the artichokes very tender. The mayonnaise was a little too sweet, but had good flavor.
For the main course, I ordered a Lasange alla Gypsy for amma (Layers of home-made pasta, béchamel sauce, tomato sauce, mozzarella, pecorino cheese, mushrooms and aubergine, baked in oven), and a Pasta Gambaza for myself (White creamy sauce, mushrooms, asparagus and Italian herbs).

The lasagna looked very good, but tasted alright. It had a strong after taste, probably because of the pecorino cheese. The mushrooms were strong and had good flavor to them. It wasn’t the best lasagna I’ve had here, but amma seemed to love it.

I choose spaghetti for my pasta. It turned out to be delicious. Very very creamy, as I asked him to make, it was cheesy as well. The spaghetti was tender and perfect. I had little trouble forking it but made my way through the entire bowl in about ten minutes. Amma had a taste, and thought it was a little too bland. I asked for some oregano, which disappointingly was very very dry. The mushrooms here weren’t as strong as in the lasagna. Overall, Bliss!!

The service was very friendly. It took a while for the food to be served, but we weren’t in a hurry, so it didn’t matter. Great food and good ambiance makes this place a must visit. The prices are on the high-end though. Their large vegetarian menu is something you don’t find at any other Italian eatery in town. They also serve a good range of mocktails and Wine. I dint know that these guys had branches in Mumbai, Pune, etc. till recent, with the same menu served everywhere. So, if you looking for a lavish Italian meal, head on to Little Italy.

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 1200/-

Verdict: 8.5/10
Amma’s Verdict: 8/10

PS: The price played a big factor for the final rating.

Pizza Den

Place: Pizza Den
Location: Sindhi Colony, Behind Paradise
Cuisine: Vegetarian Pizzas and Ice-creams
Meal: Dinner

Ive been wanting to visit this place for a long time now. It used to be a small pizza shop near Secunderabad Club, but later moved to Sindhi Colony. Back then, it served about 12 really good vegetarian pizzas and ice-creams for very reasonable prices, but not anymore. Its not a restaurant, but a road side shop (you have to sit and eat on the road, or in your car).

So, today for dinner, I again drove about 8 kilometers to have their pizza. Ordered a Cream Cheese pizza. As the name suggests, it was a creamy cheesy pizza with onions and special seasoning as topping. 10 minutes of waiting and my pizza was ready. An 8″, delicious looking pizza. It was creamy and cheesy, yes. The crust was really good too, and the pizza almost melt in my mouth. But for 100 bucks, I thought the pizza was really small. It dint fill my tummy!!

To stuff myself better, I ordered a Nutty Hot Chocolate ice-cream. It was good. Instead of the the base being vanilla ice-cream, it was chocolate. Vanilla would have tasted much better.

Overall, I should say I was not so happy about my long drive. Yes, the food was good, but I could get something similar right next to my house for maybe a lower price. Being an on road food place, they dint even have dust-bins around, and so all the paper plates and ice-cream cups were thrown right next to the shop.

I would suggest it for its variety of vegetarian pizzas though. If your driving by, you can probably pick up a pizza to eat in the car. But not worth a special visit, especially if you live far away.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 3/10
Service: NA
Meal for 1: Rs. 150/-

Verdict: 7/10

Olives and Cheese

Place: Olives and Cheese
Location: Trimulgherry, a little further from RTA Office, Secunderabad
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Dinner

Update: Restaurant shut down a while ago.

Olives and Cheese is a new Italian restaurant in town. The place is small yet bright. They serve a wide range of Soups, Antipasti, Breads, Pizzas, Pastas, Sandwiches and Salads, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. They have a small desert menu.

I read about this place on Burrp, listed as a cheap fare Italian restaurant, famous for its Pizzas, so here I was. Drove exactly 11 kilometer to taste their pizza. The place was not so full at 9:00 PM, and I settled down in a corner. There was no music playing, probably because of the cricket match on TV.

I ordered a Szechwan Mushroom Delight pizza. I dint want Capsicum on my pizza, so I asked them to replace it with Olives. For a restaurant named Olives and Cheese, they were out of olives. So I asked him to replace it with Babycorn. Unfortunately, they were out of Babycorn too. So finally settled in for Jalapenos. Unable to withstand the temptation, I also ordered a Fettuccine in Alfredo Sauce pasta.

I was hoping for the pizza to come out first, but it was the pasta. It was really cheesy and creamy, just the way I like it. They added Mushrooms, Zucchini and Onions to it. The portion was sumptuous. I was almost full, and was wondering why I ordered a pizza. Pretty good start I should say.

It took a while for the pizza to arrive. This gave me time to make space in my tummy. I asked for a thin crust, but they actually brought a regular crust, which was not so thick after all. It dint matter much cos the crust was really good. The cheese dint seem to be mozzarella, and therefore was breaking way in chunks. But still it was a decent pizza. It wasnt huge, about 8″ in size. I liked the pasta better.

Overall, a pretty decent experience. Its no where close to Little Italy (one of my favorite restaurants in Hyderabad). But for its prices, its worth it. They started turning off the lights and closing down the place while I was in there, at 10:30 PM, which was a turn-off. Anyways, I would definitely go back to this place, even if its a long ride. I would also recommend it to you guys.

Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 238/-

Verdict: 8/10

PS: It’s ironical that this place opened just after I left to the US. Back then, I always used to hang out a lot on this road, and there was no good place except for Vacs and McD. Now I see that there are quite a few restaurants here.