Time Out Malaysia Eating and Drinking Guide - - PENANG -

Bella Marino Ris­torante & Pizze­ria 3A-G-11, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tan­jung Pi­nang, Tan­jung Tokong (04 899 0277/www.bel­la­

A lovely spot by the ma­rina where you can en­joy the soft breeze in your hair while tuck­ing into a slice of Pizza Alla Si­cil­iana or Spaghetti Ragu Alla Bolog­nese. Por­tions are gen­er­ous, es­pe­cially the starters – the br­uschetta and baked au­bergines are widely rec­om­mended.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Dis­abled friendly. Daily, 11am–11pm. $$$

Ecco 402 Le­buh Chu­lia (04 262 3178).

Ecco is an Ital­ian restau­rant with few agen­das be­sides, sim­ply, serv­ing good Ital­ian fare; it’s lo­cated in a provin­cial­look­ing lot, a pre-war shop­house, with min­i­mal dec­o­ra­tions and ba­sic fur­ni­ture, with the only sign of slight in­dul­gence present in its few an­tique el­e­ments. Its thin crust pizza is made from scratch, as are its pas­tas and breads. Be­sides that, its chicken pot pie, crème brûlée and the Truz pasta are also note­wor­thy. The at­mos­phere is ca­sual; the servers are friendly and ef­fi­cient, and the price is, ac­cord­ingly, af­ford­able.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Tue–Sun, 3pm–10.30pm. $$

Eighty Eight Restau­rant 49-A Jalan Kelawai, George Town (04 226 2821/www.face­ EightyEightPe­nang).

Eighty Eight’s name refers to the birth year of its owner, Chef Danny Ng.

His acute at­ten­tion to de­tail and sense of pre­sen­ta­tion is well il­lus­trated in dishes like the risotto mush­room, ox­tail and hazel­nut par­fait. As a re­sult of his ap­pren­tice­ship at the Sun­rise Global Chef Academy, you’ll find cook­ing tech­niques like the sous-vide method ev­i­dent in some of the restau­rant’s Ital­ian menu. It’s known to rein­vent its menu ev­ery month, so you’re al­ways in for a sur­prise when you dine here.

Credit cards ac­cepted. 12noon–2.30pm, 6.30pm–10.30pm. Closed on Tues­days. $$$

Il Bac­aro Vene­tian Restau­rant 106 Le­buh Camp­bell (04 261 8290/­bell­house­

It may be wise to make prior reser­va­tions as the place can be quite packed with lo­cals and tourists on week­ends – which is quite a feat ac­tu­ally, con­sid­er­ing the fact that Il Bac­aro is quite a size­able restau­rant that spans a few lots with am­ple ta­bles. If you pre­fer to sit out­side, there are seats lin­ing the sides of Chu­lia Street, of­fer­ing a view of the old colo­nial build­ings. The chef at Il Bac­aro be­lieves in the use of the fresh­est in­gre­di­ents, so the breads and pas­tas are all made in-house; the menu also changes pe­ri­od­i­cally, just to shake things up.

Pork-free. Tue–Sun, 12.30pm–3pm & 6.30pm–10.30pm. $$$

Mario’s Ris­torante 152-B Batu Fer­ringhi (04 881 3775)).

The menu at Mario’s Ris­torante is com­prised of a mul­ti­tude of piz­zas with dif­fer­ent top­pings, and pas­tas. It’s also not afraid to de­vi­ate from Ital­ian fare, with fa­ji­tas, tor­tillas and steak fea­tur­ing amongst Mario’s high­lights. The gen­eral con­sen­sus is of high praise for Mario’s ser­vice, and the en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence of din­ing here.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Dis­abled friendly. Daily, 9.30am–11pm. $$

Ris­torante Bella Italia 149 Jalan Batu Fer­ringhi, Batu Fer­ringhi; 368-1-7 Jalan Burma, George Town (04 881 3741).

Ris­torante Bella Italia has gen­er­ally been ac­knowl­edged as one of the best Ital­ian restau­rants in Pe­nang. Its many pa­trons speak in favour of Bella Italia’s food, de­spite the ab­sence of air con­di­tion­ing (both in the al­fresco din­ing area and the in­door seat­ing area). With another out­let in Belissa Row in Pu­lau Tikus (not to be con­fused with many other restau­rants go­ing by the same name, with one in Kuch­ing and another in Kota Kin­a­balu), Bella Italia of­fers not just Ital­ian mains of the high­est qual­ity but also well re­puted desserts. In par­tic­u­lar, try the tiramisu.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–11pm. $$$

Soul Kitchen 17 Jalan Phuah Hin Leong (04 227 1388/www.soulk­itchen­

Soul Kitchen is a self-la­belled trat­to­ria – an eatery that doesn’t sport a printed menu, is slightly more ca­sual than a ris­torante and charges lower prices, in gen­eral. Soul Kitchen re­serves its fo­cus on be­ing, in the words of its own­ers, ‘fresh, healthy and sim­ple’ – a phi­los­o­phy they hope is re­flected in the vibe of the restau­rant, in the food, in the com­pe­tence of the ser­vice and in the soul­ful mu­sic that’s played here. They take pride in their tramezzini (grilled sand­wiches with a choice of salami, mush­room, turkey ham, gam­mon ham or tuna) and their sig­na­ture penne chicken al limone (chicken pasta in white wine and le­mon sauce).

Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Thurs–Sat, 6pm–10pm.

NEW Spasso Mi­lano 3C-G-2, Block C, Ground floor, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tan­jung Pi­nang, Tan­jung Tokong (04 891 2888/www.face­ Spas­soMi­lanoS­trait­sQuay).

Sport­ing all-white fur­nish­ing with in­ti­mate light­ing, Spasso Mi­lano pri­mar­ily serves Ital­ian food with a menu in­spired by head chef Felice Martinelli's love for whole­some in­gre­di­ents and fresh herbs. Take a seat and en­joy one of the restau­rant’s must-try dishes, like beef carpac­cio cipri­ani, clas­sic risotto à la Mi­lanese and wagyu beef ravi­oli, with a view of the Straits Quay's ma­rina.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Mon–Fri, 12noon–11pm; Sat & Sun, 12noon– 12mid­night. $$$$

Via Pre 5 Weld Quay (04 263 0560/www.

As far as Ital­ian restau­rants are con­cerned, none are go­ing to of­fer Ital­ian meals as au­then­tic as one that is owned by Ital­ian ex­pa­tri­ates – and

that’s the case with Via Pre, one of the finest restau­rants in Pe­nang’s Ital­ian din­ing sphere. The am­bi­ence (and in di­rect pro­por­tion, the price) is slightly more up­scale than the other places of­fer­ing Ital­ian cui­sine around the area but its piz­zas and pas­tas, if judg­ing by stan­dards of authenticity, are un­ri­valled. In keep­ing with its so­phis­ti­ca­tion, its front-door sign is dain­tily in­dis­creet and the restau­rant only houses around 12 ta­bles, so be sure to make reser­va­tions.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 10am–10pm. $$$

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