A trattoria that first opened its doors in 1999, the award-winning La Risata is tucked away behind the SPRINT highway in Medan Damansara, Bangsar. Spanning two shop lots, bare red brick and cement walls, antique gilded mirrors, black metal grilles and glass doors make the place look like an underground 1920s speakeasy.
Its location on a stretch filled with unique, independent bistros rather than a chain-filled high street, gives it a homely feel. Staff members do not have that easygoing, friendly demeanour that you would usually associate with neighbourhood bistros – instead they are formal and efficient, contributing to helping you feel like you are in an exclusive fine dining ristorante.
The kitchen puts out classic Italian food – think traditional wood-fired pizzas and pastas – and all dishes have an undeniable home cooked taste. We recommend you start with antipasti risata, a platter of succulent bresaola (air-dried, salted beef), smoked beef salami, cured beef ham, smoked turkey breast, buratta cheese and grilled peppers, eggplant, zucchini and green and black olives drizzled with tangy, lemon olive oil. Also get a pizza to share – especially if you are with a group: a standout is pizza chorizo, which comes with bountiful toppings of chorizo, juicy olives, peppers and creamy feta cheese on a crispy base.
Highly recommended mains include lasagne di carne: freshly baked, the pasta sheets are layered with a creamy minced beef and tomato sauce and topped with a layer of mozzarella cheese. By far our favourite main dish is the fluffy, savoury and smoky-flavoured gnocchi ai peperonchini grillia e chorizo: homemade potato dumplings with lamb chorizo sausages and creamy ricotta cheese, given a robust, spicy kick with a red pepper sauce.
Sicilian bombe (meringue covered, liquored sponge cake) comes highly recommended for dessert – largely for the show that you get when it is flambéed tableside, as well as its luscious lemon cream filling, flavoured with brandy. Another great dessert option is tiramisu, with layers of Savoiardi biscuits soaked in caramel-tasting espresso and filled with rich Italian mascarpone cream cheese.
This is much more than a restaurant though, with the drinks being just as much of the draw. Beverage selections include specialty coffees with liqueur, fruit juices, Italian sodas, spirits, mocktails, cocktails, margaritas, mojitos, martinis and shooters plus a small variety of wines: the highlight of this is the restaurant’s by-the-glass wine pairings which allow you to try excellent varieties without having to fork out for the whole bottle.
La Risata Medan Damansara
- Opening Hours: 12:00 – 14:30 (lunch); 18:30 – 22:30 (dinner)
- Address: 128 Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara, KL
- Tel: +603 2095 9572