If you live in South Chennai, then the biggest hurdle to dining out is the fact that most nice restaurants are located on the other side of town. The thought of hailing an auto, fighting with the auto driver, traveling all that way and then doing that all over again has often proved too daunting a task. So when we heard that Tuscana has opened closer home, Nat and I immediately set out to investigate.
The new Tuscana is HUGE. One of my major complaints with Tuscana Pizzeria was that it was so cramped. This one is set over a two floor bungalow with ample privacy. I was happy to note that the striking red Vespa, or its twin, had made the journey all the way across town.
To start with, I highly recommend the minestrone: warm, filling and full of veggies. But if you don't want soup, and given the weather understandably so, I recommend the refreshing Insalata Caprese.
The options for entrees are vast. The pizza menu remains the same. For the veggies I recommend the Patata e Broccoli. Yes, that's right the broccoli pizza. Lovely yellow cheddar cheese topped with a host of veggies. It is my personal favourite. The meat lovers should try the Roma: marinara sauce, ham and ooodles of cheese.
But what I like better at the new Tuscana is the very many pastas and main course dishes. I highly recommend the Pasta del Rosso. The sundried tomatoes had a wonderful flavour and the sauce was garlicky and slightly spicy which I liked. Nat is a huge fan of the Spaghetti Bolognaise though she thought it was a tad too meaty this time around.
The Mushroom Ravioli was near perfect. The flavour and texture of the mushrooms was wonderful. The pasta packets were very well done and had just the right spices in it. Like most raviolis this was slightly bland. The Scallopine di Pollo (sauted chicken breast escalopes served in a chunky tomato sauce with a strong hit of cheese) and Veal Scallopine (veal in a white wine sauce served with mushrooms) were fine choices too.
The best way to end a wonderful, filling Italian meal? Tiramisu, of course (Did you know that Tiramisu translates to 'pick me up' in Italian). I really think that the Tiramisu at the new Tuscana is better than the old one. This one was creamier, richer and with just the right hint of coffee.
But I've always salivated over the Tiramisu at Tuscana, so that's not really news. I decided to be a little adventurous and tried the Calzone al Ciocolato (sweetened, chocolate stuffed pizza). Between the time I placed the order and the arrival of the dessert, I grew increasingly apprehensive. After all I have had some disastrous brushes with the stuffed sweet dishes in the past (remember the Kashmiri Naan episode or my encounter with ice cream pizza??). Thankfully, being adventurous paid off. This pizza stuffed with chocolate, raspberries and mascarpone cream was great and reminiscent of a super stuffed crepe.
We also tried the warm chocolate cake with a melting chocolate centre. It was good but not great. Definitely seen better versions of this. My advice: avoid this, have the Tiramisu or the stuffed chocolate pizza.
Service is good and portions sufficient. The loo at Tuscana is huge and very clean. (They also have lovely smelling hand lotion).
All that said, a meal here is going to hit the pockets a little hard. A meal for two with appetizers, main course and dessert will cost you Rs. 2000. Go there if you are feeling indulgent.
Location: No. 89, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet, Chennai Landmark: Diagonally opp. Park Sheraton IN GATE