Hearty Italian Dining @ La Risata, Ampang
Hearty Italian Dining @ La Risata, Ampang
‘La Risata’, which means ‘laughter in Italian, is a charming trattoria tucked away in the suburb of Ampang.
La Risata is patronized by locals and expatriates alike for the last 14 years. I remember my first time trying La Risata Ampang last year. It’s authentic Italian food won me over, in the small and cozy, homely setting. This year, I returned to find the restaurant had moved a few doors down in the same row of shophouses.
It’s bigger now, spread over two floors, the double storey skylight courtyard is decked with rustic, exposed brick and an antique chandelier centerpiece which was really quite stunning.
Upstairs, a new loft-style lounge awaits you.
La Risata is perfect for those intimate dinners, but can also accommodate large parties of diners. The gorgeous wooden tables are on wheels, so no party is ever too big!
Lissa Yeoh, one of two partners, personally oversaw the renovation, handpicked the furniture and even oversees the menu.
We were really lucky to have her guide us through the evening, as she does know La Risata inside out. Brainy, bubbly and beautiful, she walked us through every ingredient in every dish. Terry (Red FM Drive), Donovan (Photographer) and I marveled at the gorgeous fittings and daily specials on the blackboard, and listened intently before we dug in.
Insalata Dea (Goddess Salad) RM 22
Apparently, eating this salad every day will turn you into a goddess. Sold! It could really sell itself though, even without the name. Fresh green leaves topped with with grilled chicken, olives, roasted red peppers and celery with crunchy croutons, tossed in a creamy herb dressing. The fragrant blended parsley, dill, tarragon and basil really made this dressing very fresh, and very special.
Another salad that looked quite tempting was the Insalata di Rucola e Zucca, a rocket salad with wood fired oven roasted pumpkin, pinenuts & ricotta cheese with a balsamic vinegar dressing. Only the freshest ingredients make it to the menu, and it shows in the taste.
I love snacking on bite sized treats, and La Risata’s Antipasti selection lets you choose from classics like Bruschetta con Pomodoro, toasted bread with tomato & garlic topping, and Pate di Fegatani con Crostini, a garlic crostini with chicken liver pâté.
Gnocchi ai Gamberi (RM22)
This was an amazing starter. I don’t normally enjoy gnocchi, because I find they can be a little stodgy. Here at La Risata, these little potato dumplings are made fresh, without egg, so they’re lighter in texture. A nice crispy skin if formed on the outside as they’re sautéed with prawns in herb butter.
Mozarella in Carrozza (RM15)
Incredibly moreish! You eat one, you want more! Tasty mozzarella cheese and anchovy sandwiched between bread, battered, and deep fried to a gleaming golden brown.
With 19 Pizzas on the menu, you are certainly spoilt for choice. These woodfired oven baked circles of delight will have you screaming for more. In case you can’t decide which one to have, you can do what we did and order one half & half. Two toppings, one pizza! Double the pleasure…
Pizza Bresaola e Rucola (RM35)
A light, crispy base made from freshly rolled dough, smothered in La Risata’s homemade tomato sauce, and sprinkled with air-dried beef, rocket salad, tomato, mozzarella & parmesan shavings.
Pizza d’Anatra (RM35)
This is a cream base pizza, topped with smoked duck, anchovy, caramelized onion & mozzarella. I was in savoury heaven. The anchovies really add a good kick.
Vegetarians should try the classic Pizza Margherita with tomato, mozzarella & oregano, or the Pizza Vegetali, with grilled eggplant, roasted cherry tomato, pinenut, pesto, ricotta cheese, tomato & mozzarella. I daresay that La Risata makes some of the best pizza’s in town!
Fettucine all’Abese (RM30)
So simple, yet so effective. I would travel all the way back to Ampang everyday just to have this. Lovely homemade fresh egg taglitelli tossed with a creamy parmesan cheese sauce infused with fragrant white truffle oil. My favourite dish that evening, and a must try!
Gnocchi ai Peperonchini Grillia e Chorizo (RM 27)
A filling dish of homemade potato dumplings with lamb chorizo sausage & ricotta cheese in a red pepper sauce. The chorizo was spicy and scrumptious, and the red pepper sauce a lovely balance of sweet and salty, and rich and creamy.
One of the House Specialty dishes I spied on the menu got me salivating. The Spaghetti alla Risata. We decided to save the mixed seafood in a hearty tomato sauce baked in foil for the next time. Instead, we tried the Chef’s Special for that day.
Chef’s Special – Ravioli di Frutti di Mare
Terry and I adored this dish. Homemade, fluffy squid ink ravioli filled to the brim with prawn, squid and fish in a butter sage sauce. It was soft and velvety, yet bouncy in the middle, and had a lovely light crunch from the fried sage leaves.
La Risata is of course a family place, so you don’t have to worry about the kids being well fed. Order the Macaroni e Formagi, a classic macaroni with cheese that’s perfect for the bambinos.
SECONDI DI PIATTI DI MARE (Seafood Mains)
Filetto do Merluzzo con Vongole e Fagioli (RM48)
Lisa jokes that this is a perfect dish for those on a diet – no carbs! A succulent, fresh fillet of cod, pan fried, served on a bed of cannellini beans and clams in a tomato & white wine broth.
Salmon lovers should try the Salmone alla Griglia con Pesto. Pan-grilled salmon fillet with a pesto sauce served with a vegetable caponata. Alternatively, if you want the whole she-bang from the sea, go for the House Specialty Zuppa di Pesce, with huge servings of prawn, squid, mussel, clam & fish in a rich tomato sauce with garlic, chili & parsley. I looked at Terry. Next time, next time! We’ll be back for that…
Terry’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when he saw the next dish.
SECONDI PIATTI DI CARNE (Meat Mains)
Grilled US Angus grain fed tenderloin 100days (250g) with roasted vegetables & green beans with choice of sauce (RM78)
What a treat this was. The meat was of such tenderness and quality that not much seasoning was needed. You could, technically eat it on its own, but if you want a little gravy, drizzle Creamy mushroom, Gorgonzolla cheese or a classic Brown sauce over it. We tried the first option, which was thick and creamy, with chunks of mushroom for added bite. The sauce complemented the steak without overpowering the natural taste of the meat.
And yes, there wasn’t anything left on the plate once Terry was done with it!
If you’re looking for something other than beef, well go for the Stufato di Vitello e Verdure, a hearty stew of veal, vegetable & rosemary, or try the Stinco d’Agnello, a wood fired oven braised lamb shank in rosemary sauce.
It was time for dessert! With tempting sweets like Torta di Cioccolato, a flourless dark chocolate cake with a melting chocolate centre served with vanilla ice cream and homemade Tiramisu with layers of Savoiardi biscuits soaked in espresso & filled with Italian mascarpone cream cheese, Terry and I almost wished we hadn’t eaten so much. Lisa ordered us a dessert to share, meant for two people, but when it arrived it looked like it could feed six!
Sicilian Bombe – good for two (RM38)
A very sweet, melt in your mouth Meringue covered liquored sponge filled with lemon cream. It’s quite a feast for the eyes as the meringue is flambéed with brandy at your table.
The smell of caramelized sugar reminded me of candy floss at a fair.
Cold on the inside and hot on the outside, a definite must for the sweet-toothed!
We walked off our meal by having a tour of the upstairs, and by breaking into song…
Hearty Italian food, quality ingredients, delicious wine, and exceptional company. The recipe for a fantastic evening! La Risata provides the perfect backdrop for any occasion.
*Special thanks to Selena for organizing, and Lissa for a brilliant evening!
*Special thanks to Donovan of www.donovanchin.com for the beautiful photos.
AMPANG : 16 Pesiaran Ampang 55000 Kuala Lumpur
t. 03-42526269 f.03-42579503
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t.03-20959572 f.03 20959589
MARKETING : 7B Jalan Bukit Ceylon 50200 Kuala Lumpur
t.03 20316568 f.03 20316572