La Dolce Vita easily competes on my list of Nairobi's best restaurant experiences. I had very fond memories of it from a few years back when it was recommended by Italian friends and I was looking forward to revisiting. It lived up to all my expectations and put a smile on my face.
La Dolce Vita has been in Nairobi for over a decade and seems not to have lost any of its commitment to food that is as authentically Italian and as high quality as one can get in East Africa. Hopefully it has many more such years ahead.
The restaurant is located below street level in the Muthaiga Shopping Centre on Limuru Road. Unless you know that it's there you may miss it. I didn't see any street level sign indicating its existence. If you see a sign that says Muthaiga Mini Market you'll know that you're there. It would be a good idea to make reservations, as it seems to be a popular magnet for locals and foreigners even in mid-week.
Just walking down to the restaurant level takes you to another, better place with a happy buzz and fantastic aromas. The outdoor seating area is enticing and indoors it is very comfortable. You are warmly received, sometimes by the owner himself or by the talented chef. The staff know their job well and offer knowledgeable as well as suitably attentive service - not something that is always prevalent in Nairobi eateries.
Sorry to keep you waiting about the food, but I saved the best for last. This chef knows his business and offers a variegated, well made, beautifully presented and absolutely delicious menu. It all begins with the clear expertise in handling the basics of Italian cuisine and continues with making the most of products available in Nairobi. Many classics are there and there are quite a few daily specials to cover every taste. I may have had better pizza in Italy (I don't know about Malindi or Mombasa) but I've also had much worse in the mother country.
A nice selection of wines, Italian and others is available and a glass of the good vino is the right medicine for any East African blues. Top it off with some fine Italian desserts and you'll be ready to deal with whatever comes at you.
I'll gladly go back whenever I'm in Nairobi.
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