Walking through the scenic Marina Waves complex makes you feel like you’re on a boat perched atop the azure blue Arabian Gulf. And what better way to satisfy appetites accommodated by leisurely strolls beneath the salty sea air than some light and luscious Italian fare? Around the corner is a staircase leading up to the gorgeous second level of Marina Waves, where you’ll find the rustic terrace of Piccola Milano – Kuwait’s answer to Milanese hospitality, ready to serve you with the best of the best.
Find yourself at Piccola Milano on a lovely spring day, and you’ll want to lounge in their modern terrace boasting clean minimalism melded with luxury-meets-rustic clean touches; but during unbearable hotter months, the cool interior offers a similar atmosphere in a well air-conditioned space. Quaint Italian music whimsically plays on the surrounding speakers of the restaurant, and walls are lined with jars and bottles of Italian products that are used: from pesto, to sauce, to olive oil – all of which are offered for purchase. So far, it’s clear that we are going to form a great friendship with this place.
As we are handed a deconstructed menu, printed on two single sheets of cardboard paper (a larger one for entrees and appetizers and a smaller one for drinks and desserts) we glance excitedly while taking mental notes of the food we’re most excited to consume. But first, a lovely drink to quench our thirst under the pleasantly warm sun!
One classic lemonade and a pink lemonade later, along with a chilled bottle of Acqua Panna at our table, we’re ready for lunch. We start off with an Insalate Spinacci, some Parmigiana for our Antipasti, and share three main courses for the ultimate experience. We choose a Pasta Gondola, classic pizza Fresca, and as recommended by chef Fulvio himself, the brand new Burgero – the Italian take on an all-American favorite.
Our salad arrives, and appears as described on the menu – comprising of baby spinach leaves, crispy goat’s cheese, walnuts, and a tangy vinaigrette. The Goat’s cheese, in ball form, was quite possibly the best thing we’d ever tasted. Pro tip: layer a bit of spinach, goat’s cheese and walnut onto your fork and take a bite. The combination mixed with the tartness of the citronette dressing will explode your palate and exceed all expectations you might’ve had upon ordering.
Taste buds warmed up and happy, it’s time to move onto our appetizer: Parmigiana. Whoever came up with the term “appetizer” was obviously thinking about this sweet little dish, because from presentation to taste, it was sincerely appetite whetting. Made up of the holy grail of anything delicious in Italian cuisine; cheese, tomato sauce and basil; this mini variation of an Eggplant Parmesan dish was definitely the star of the show and a strong indicator of the goodness to come. But don’t be fooled by its size: this dish is definitely meant for sharing in quantity, but its richness isn’t hard on the stomach and promises room for more delicious food.
Onto the burger, which was made with a quality cut of US Angus beef, and perfectly complimented its accompanying build of cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions, Parmesan, arugula and a delicious spread of homemade basil pesto. Sandwiched between Piccola’s freshly baked ciabatta bread offered a unique twist to the burger making it an experience like you’ve never had before – and its size is ideal for sharing, or for solitary indulgence, depending on your mood. But let me warn you about its delicious fried cube potatoes, innocently sitting at the side in a whimsical mini-frying pan. Not only is this presentation extremely exciting, but the potatoes themselves are so addictive that wandering hands had to be slapped away so that everybody could get a taste.
And that pizza – what symphonies could be orchestrated about everybody’s favorite comfort food? With a gorgeously floured and blackened-on-the-bottom crust, along with a mélange of fresh cherry tomatoes, olives, fresh mozzarella and a garnish of fresh basil, you’re transported to the terrazzos of Milan with each bite, leisurely enjoying pizza on a lovely spring afternoon. Trust us when we say that the closer to the crust you travel, the better it gets, and the crust is truly the best part! So crust abandoners, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.
Then comes the masterpiece of all main courses, the Gondola. Created with a nod to Italian culture, Piccola reimagines the presentation of a comforting pasta dish consisting of spicy Italian sausage, tomato sauce and peppers in a hollowed-out eggplant shell made to resemble a Venetian rowboat. Visually pleasing and delicious, this was yet another dish we couldn’t help put constantly pick at, and offered a medley of sweet, savory and spicy flavors to wrap up our flavorful dining experience that served Italy’s finest.
But just when we thought our waistlines were safe, we were proven wrong with dolci. After lots of coaxing from the chef in true Nonna style, we were gifted two desserts to end our Piccola lunch on a sweet note. Traditional Panna Cotta, a creamy and gelatinous dessert with raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries throughout. It also featured sneaky biscuit crumbs that only made each bite of this lovely dessert more enjoyable. And of course, we couldn’t forget to discover and comment on another pro-tip; the important role the tangy fresh raspberry plays on the contrasting taste of the creamy, sweet Panna Cotta.
Then, with the second (yes, we’re spoiled, we know) dessert – our lives were changed. The Biscotto reminded us what makes us love our job this much, and what makes discovering all these restaurants worth it. Let us paint you a picture: imagine a peanut butter and chocolate cookie, stuffed with Italy’s greatest gift to the world, Nutella. Now, imagine this huge Nutella-filled cookie cut in half, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side, seasoned with a sprig of mint. Yes, it was heaven, and it was definitely the favorable way to end our afternoon. On that note, we’ll take a lovely cup of espresso, please!
Piccola Milano has four different locations, call ahead for reservations today: The Avenues (2259 7222), Alhamra (2227 0303), Sea View (2372 0902), Marina Waves (2224 4525). Follow them on Insagram @piccolamilano_kw for more information.