A taste of Italy at Pendolasco

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 The walls of the new Pendolasco restaurant in HCMC's District 2 are covered in frescoes

After the success of its first outlet on Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Ho Chi Minh City-based Italian restaurant Pendolasco has opened a second one on Tong Huu Dinh Street in District 2.

The original place is famous as a place to chill out in the big Italian-style corridor paved with red bricks and garden.

The new place has a cool river breeze blowing from the Saigon and greenery all around.

Last weekend, at the suggestion of my Italian friends, we went to check it out.

The ground floor has a garden area and a few tables indoors but we chose the first floor and sat next to a wall with paintings of Pompeii, the southern Italian city that was destroyed by a volcano in the 1st century CE.

The walls were covered in what looked like frescoes.

Pendolasco offers authentic Italian food from such culinary destinations as Roma, Bologna, and Venice.

We ordered grilled mixed vegetables, rocket salad, and Parmesan cheese for appetizers. For the main course my friend, a big fan of Italian cheese, ordered lasagne (thin pasta with cheese, pork, and beef sauce).

I was overjoyed to discover an old favorite: tagliatelle al nero (Italian cuttlefish black ink noodle with shrimps and cherry tomatoes). I tried it five years ago at the Pane E Vino restaurant in Hanoi but did not manage to find this Venice specialty anywhere in Vietnam.


  • 36 Tong Huu Dinh Street, District 2
  • 87 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, District 1

As the cuttlefish ink is mixed with wet powder while making pasta, tagliatelle al nero has the tenderness of the deep sea that other dishes cannot hope to match. The natural black color of this pasta mixed with the cherry tomato looked attractive on the plate.

After finishing the tagliatelle al nero, I couldn't help trying the lasagne which was hearty and had the smooth, creamy taste and fragrance of Italian baked cheese.

Finally, for the dessert we ordered crème caramel (caramel pudding) and tiramisu della casa. Each bite of the crème caramel melted sweetly on my tongue though I was very full after the food and a few glasses of Italian white wines.

Pendolasco serves typical Italian foods in large portions. A three-course lunch for two costs around US$50.

The restaurant has a buy-one-pizza-get-one-free promotion from Monday through Friday (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) on takeouts.

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