Overall rating: 4.5/5
Artusi was on our wishlist ever since it opened over a year back, but somehow our visit to the place always kept getting postponed. After going to Artusi for dinner last night, we seriously regret not going here earlier, as this was by far the best Italian food we’ve had in Delhi!
Ever so often we visit restaurants with really high expectations, after reading reviews, seeing sky-high ratings, and a number of promotions and advertisements put up by the restaurants. But on going there we get really disappointed as the place turns out to be overrated. However, with Artusi, we had an experience which was most certainly the complete opposite. Artusi, being relatively less known till date in the restaurant scene, has much more to offer than it seems, and we are in complete awe of the place.
Artusi is Owned and run by a delightful Italian gentleman, Mr. Balcon, (whose wife by the way is Punjabi). His love for food and his excitement to share this love is palpable. He is exuberant and talkative and makes you instantly feel at home.
Artusi serves up food true to the flavours of the Emilia Romagna region in North-eastern Italy, (where Mr. Balcon is from), and there is absolutely no so-called ‘Indianization’ to the authentic Italian menu. In fact, they are bold enough, unlike any other Italian restaurant in Delhi, to not even keep pizzas on their menu! This place has its clientele and is almost always very busy, but there are some people who don’t quite appreciate the flavours of the food, and call it ‘bland’, but still this, as Mr. Balcon informed us, has never led him to succumb to market pressures and change the way the food is made here. And rightly so, as the food was spectacular!
Everything at Artusi is traditional and completely hand-made. They have a wide selection of pastas, the most diverse range we have seen at any restaurant, each made from scratch every day. They use only the finest ingredients, most of which are imported, thus the relatively high prices. The prices however, are totally justified by the food.
So now, let’s get on with the food:
We were served an assorted bread basket with a sundried tomato and olive oil dip to start with. The bread was baked fresh in-house and was absolutely delicious, but the sundried tomato dip was to die for. We could have gorged on just these two items, but reluctantly had to control ourselves to save up space for the meal ahead.
We started with 3 appetizers-
- Deep fried calamari with a tangy red sauce and sour cream: This was our first time trying calamari, and we normally stay away from seafood, so giving calamari a shot was a huge leap of faith for us. But the moment we tasted it, all our fears were put to rest. The calamari was lightly battered and fried, and was really crunchy. A squeeze of lime on top, and the sauces to go with this, made it the perfect snack.
- Tomino (toasted bread with imported soft cheese, sautéed mushrooms and truffle oil): This was a fabulous dish. The bread was crunchy, the sautéed mushrooms in truffle oil tasted heavenly and the melted oozing soft cheese was so delicious, that we are craving it while writing this. The dish had strong flavours, but the flavours complemented each other brilliantly. This is what you call a perfect dish in all aspects- flavours, textures and balance. A must-try!
- Crostini ai Fegatini (crunchy slices of bread topped with chicken paté and caramelized onions): The proportion of the bread to the chicken paté was just right. The bread was nicely toasted, the paté was smooth, rich and earthy, and the caramelized onion on top was the perfect addition to balance all the flavours.
Next, we tried 3 of their pastas:
- Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli in a Butter, Sage and Asparagus sauce: Perfectly made ravioli- the proportion of filling to pasta was perfect, and the pasta sheet was so thin that you could clearly see the filling inside. The filling was delicate and light, complemented with the flavourful sauce, which just coated the pasta. Ravioli is one of our favourite pastas and we eat it very often, but this has been our favourite till date.
- Cappelletti Carbonara (hand-made hat-shaped pasta pockets filled with cheese, in a traditional carbonara sauce): Carbonara is a rich sauce, as it’s made with eggs, cheese and bacon, so getting the balance right is so important. This dish was again incredible, and there was a generous amount of bacon in it, which is always a good thing.
- Tajarin with Butter and Black Truffle Sauce: There is no way to describe this dish other than ‘pure heaven’. The dish consisted of hand-made thin noodles in butter sauce finished with shaves of black summer truffle. This pasta is a testament to the fact that less is more, and simple food, if done perfectly, can be amazing. No matter how many times we go back to Artusi, this is something we will always order. A really special, spectacular dish!
The taste and texture of hand-made pastas is not comparable to any factory-produced one. That, coupled with amazing sauces, finest ingredients and brilliant flavour combinations makes the pastas at Artusi simply magnificent. The beauty of all these pastas cannot be explained, it can only be experienced.
Next, we tried Grilled Pork Chops with Rossini Fries: The pork chops were cooked perfectly and were rubbed with herbs which made them so flavourful. The pork was served with grilled vegetables and french fries tossed in parmesan cheese and truffle oil. The french fries were crisp, cooked perfectly and seasoned aptly with the parmesan.
Since no good meal is complete without desserts, even though our bellies were full to the brim, we tried 2 desserts from their menu:
- Panna Cotta: This is Artusi’s signature dessert, and it was the best panna cotta we’ve had- set well, but still had some jiggle to it, just the way it should be. The panna cotta itself was creamy and smooth, and not too sweet. It had a variety of little accompaniments like caramel sauce, caramelized ﬁgs, croquant and almonds, so with each mouthful, you get a different taste and texture.
- Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake with raspberry and cream sauces: If you are a dark-chocolate lover, this dessert would be heaven for you. The mousse was luscious and creamy, with rich bittersweet chocolate. The cake was accompanied by a cream sauce and a raspberry sauce which brought a nice freshness to the dish.
Overall the food was simply divine and is a 5 on 5. The service was also very good- the servers were extremely courteous and swift, and they knew the dishes really well which, looking at the vast menu, is by no means a simple task. The décor was elegant and simplistic, but we just wish the place would be a bit bigger.
All the food lovers out there must visit Artusi to get a taste of what real Italian food tastes like- simple, rustic and delicious! But go there expecting flavours which are true to the region they come from, devoid of any manipulations. No doubt this is an expensive place, but the quality of the food makes it worthwhile.
This restaurant is not just a must-visit, but one worthy of repeated visits!
Location: M 24, M-Block Market, Greater Kailash (GK) 2
Phone number: 011 49066666