An Ode to Italy with IL Posto
What could be better in the sweltering summers of our country than a trip away from it all? Italy comes instantly to mind. The crisp air of the Mediterranean, the hustle-bustle of the piazzas, an array of delicacies, they are all things that one desires for the perfect holiday. What if we tell you there’s a way to experience all that without even leaving Karachi?
Aptly named IL Posto Caffe & Ristorante (The Place), the restaurant has become a well-known establishment amongst the crème de la crème of Karachi and those who proclaim themselves to be authentic Italian food connoisseurs. If you don’t believe us, try getting seats without prior reservation on a weekend! We tried.
Located at the smaller Khayaban-e-Shahbaz commercial area, the restaurant is easy to find because it is the only cafe still open on its strip. At first sight, the charcoal-coloured walls and rustic pane windows welcome one to the café. It is only then, when one realizes that an actual greeter escorts you to the table.
The interiors of IL Posto have been kept rustic and authentically Southern-Italian in nature. For anyone who has strolled around the alleys of Sicily or has discovered a café in the maze-like streets of Rome, this is a pretty accurate depiction of exactly that experience. The juxtaposition of wooden furniture and chic leather chairs, serve as a mixture of both Italy’s traditions and its modernity. The plants hanging from the roof and in pots just add in to the whole aura.
Mainly printed in Italian with English translations provided beneath every item, the menu is slightly hard to decipher for anyone who wants to go in and order without having to call in the waiter every few minutes. Though, some may even find it entertaining to pronounce half of the items available on the menu and succeeding in it.
Divided in a traditional Italian structure to have a full meal, the menu offers seven to eight categories to order from. One starts from the carpacci or antipasti (appetizers) and ends up snaking to dolci and caffè (desserts and coffee), with primo and secondo (first and second main course) in between. We suggest you come prepared to eat over a course of two to three hours!
From the usual listings of items found at almost every restaurant that have mushroomed around the metropolis, to exclusive southern-Italian cuisine – where the owner hails from, the menu is a mix of wood-oven pizzas, handmade pastas, a wide array of seafood, and some authentically Italian desserts, such as Tiramisu.
Before the ordered food is served, the restaurant has a policy of serving bruschetta on the house. The trio of fragrant bread with morsels of fresh tomato, and cheese on top, serve as palette cleansers for the upcoming meal. Ordering a mix of beef, chicken, pizza, pasta, and dessert, the tabletop looked nothing short of a full-fledged feast.
While the aroma accompanied by the steam of freshly cooked food was enough to already stamp the restaurant authentic, the taste is what kept it up to par. Albeit, the food remains on the bland side, we were graciously informed by the owner that the Pakistani palette tends to miss out on intricate tastes due to the high content of spices, which is often minimized in Italian cuisine, with only the use of a few fresh herbs.
The beef ravioli and stuffed chicken were the two main courses ordered. While the beef ravioli felt like an Italian dream with its infusion of cheese, walnuts and beef in a pillow-y pasta casing, the chicken lacked that authenticity. Almost making one wish, we had been more daring to order something else that we couldn’t pronounce.
The Pizza, however, remained the star of the night. Named Quatro Stagioni (go figure!) on the menu, it included a variety of toppings such as turkey bacon, artichokes, olives, buffalo mozzarella, and white mushrooms. The fact that it made our mouth water just by looking at it was enough to guarantee its taste.
For anyone looking at IL Posto for desserts especially may have to look the other way. While the menu boasts items that seem irresistible, they come across as too good to be true and that was the case. Lacking an edge to it, the desserts were an unfortunate end to an otherwise beautiful dinner.
Keeping up with any upscale restaurant in Karachi, IL Posto has a pricing bracket, which may seem expensive to a majority of people. A meal for two here could easily damage the wallet, costing up to approximately 4,000 to 5,000 rupees. We suggest to keep the place in mind for a special occasion.
While the restaurant still has its teething problems, such as not accepting debit/credit cards for the time being, give IL Posto a try for its exquisite sense of cuisine and an ambiance that is not short of being serene. Expect to pay slightly more than you would normally, but you will surely enjoy the authenticity that only an actual Italian restaurant can bring.
HIP Rating: 4/5 stars
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