I originally reviewed La Dolce Vita in June 2011, and on each subsequent visit the food and service have got better and better. La Dolce Vita has actually surpassed all my expectations to the point where I would give it more than five stars if I could.
Our most recent visit was on 1st October, and our professional, helpful host Tomasso greeted us warmly. There is currently a special offer when ordering some of the starters with a marked pasta, gnocchi or risotto dish, where you can get both for £9.95 (I think), and is exceptionally good value. However, we decided to go for fish and meat dishes this time. The menu is extensive and - as well as the traditional favourites - contains interesting options that aren't often seen on Italian menus. I didn't spot a pizza section (which didn't bother me as I rarely choose pizza), but they have everything else!
When trying to decide on a suitable wine to accompany our meal, Tomasso was happy to provide knowledgeable advice based on our tastes, and suggested a couple of wines that might be suitable - in the end we decided on a £19.99 Montepulciano D'Abruzzo (although the wine list contains options that are cheaper, and encompasses a varied range of styles and prices).
My starter of sardines in a rich tomato sauce with capers and olives was a generous portion and thoroughly enjoyable. My husband predictably chose his favourite - calamari - which was tasty, tender and not greasy. My sliced beef fillet (Medaglione Enzo) was perfectly cooked, deliciously tender and contained no excess/visible fat, and was smothered in a strongly flavoured sauce of red wine, mushrooms, onions and black pepper, which accompanied it very well. My husband's sea bass cooked with white wine and sweet cherry tomatoes was a decent sized portion and wonderfully cooked. The vegetables weren't overcooked as they often are in restaurants, and the sautéed potatoes were crisp and not at all oily - probably the best we've ever eaten.
As before, the option was there to change sauces around from one type of fish/meat to another or omit certain ingredients, if we had wanted to (we didn't).
At the end of the meal, our host was happy for us to wait for a while before ordering dessert, and listed the options to us (all freshly made in house). We chose our desserts with some difficulty, and both were delightful. I'm quite fussy with tiramisu, as I don't like lots of cream, but this was a generous slice, topped with just a little cream and very good indeed. Tomasso kindly offered to have it made a different way if we let him know ahead of our next visit, if we wished! (I enjoyed what I had, so wouldn't dream of putting them to any inconvenience.) It's very rare to find such flexibility, dedication and customer focus, and we left feeling special. We noticed the other customers receiving the same level of service as well, and quite a few were obviously returning customers like ourselves.
Do ignore the shopfront of the restaurant, which runs alongside the road - it badly needs a makeover, and I suspect the somewhat drab exterior has put off some potential passing trade. Proceed directly inside and you won't regret visiting. With a recent renewal of their 5-star hygiene rating from Swindon Borough Council, there's no reason not to! This restaurant is now superb in every way.
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