Finding Italian food in Jakarta is like looking for a cow in a haystack. OK, that may be overtly exaggerating. Italian food is widely available in the city. And if you live and work in Central Jakarta like I do, you’ll find authentic and not-so-authentic Italian restaurants almost everywhere. But I believe every regional cuisine tastes best at its home. And I was lucky to have my Milanese friends as guides during my short holiday in the city.

THE HEARTY

Had lunch with my friends at a trattoria near the Duomo. It was packed with lunch-taking office workers but we managed to find a table straightaway. This platter of assorted fried cheese named “fritto cafone” were served as our antipasto. I then had spaghetti alla nerano as my primo piatto. My friend also shared some of his linguine alla puttanesca and pizza for me to try. I became so full I couldn’t afford to have any secondi!

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Where: Fresco & Cimmino on Via Ugo Foscolo 4, north of Piazza del Duomo


Still on the same day, my friends took me to this cool place called Eataly for dinner. It was a supermarket-cafe-food court-restaurant serving Italian foods and food products. There were many interesting items on the menu, but I still felt very full so I ended up ordering only insalata verde…and still struggled to finish it.

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Where: Eataly Milano Smeraldo, Porta Garibaldi, on the southern end of Corso Como.


I was visiting the Milan Expo and decided to have lunch at the Eataly Pavilion. The pavilion had multiple stalls serving dishes from every region of Italy. I chose to eat at Emilia-Romagna’s stall and had this prosciutto di Parma and gnocco fritto with chunks of parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese) and sprinkled with aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar). It was good, but perhaps I should’ve opted for a Lombard dish when I was in Milan. 😀

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Where: Eataly Pavilion, Milan Expo 2015


Italian panini. Don’t let their looks while on display fool you. They expand once pressed!

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Where: Malpensa Airport


THE BITSY

OK, this may look so touristy. 😀 My friends suggested I had cornetto for breakfast. They showed me this place because it was very near to where I stayed. So there I was one morning, having a cornetto and a cup of cappuccino at the Piazza del Duomo. Lol!

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Where: Bar Duomo at the northwest corner of Piazza del Duomo. The photo says it all!


Prosciutto pizza at one of Milan’s original pizzerie.

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Where: Pizzeria “Spontini”, various locations. I had this at their stand-up bar in Duomo.


THE SUGARY

Pizza and pasta may be the “face” of Italian cuisine. But those who have acute sweet tooth (me!) will NEVER miss out gelato while in Italy! My Milanese friends took me for dolci time to the Duomo branch of Cioccolati Italiani on Via San Raffaele 6. For chocolate-lover, ice cream-lover like me, this was heaven in a cone. Lol!

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Where: Cioccolati Italiani, various locations.


Another round of Italian gelato! Bacio (chocolate and hazelnut with bits of hazelnuts) – cheesecake – limoncello(!) triple cup. Why go for a single cup when there were many flavours I couldn’t find at home?

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Where: Le Tre Gazzelle, Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II 22, northeast of the Duomo


THE WEIGHTY

I was too busy with Expo and flight cancellation, so I didn’t have much time for “souvenir” shopping. I bought the Perugina chocolates before boarding my flight at the Malpensa Airport. The Coop products were “gifts” from my friends. Grazie!

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