Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Laguna and Casanova

Chicken Sawarma at LagunaThe new discovery this week was the Laguna. Part of a multi-cuisine complex, this restaurant serves Mediterranean food in a terrace-top, open air setting. Its sister restaurant, Exotica, located right next door serves Indian cuisine in an equally nice place. They also have a nightclub called Aquaa which opens during the evening. As you can see from the pictures (taking during daytime), this is a great place. I am sure the night-time ambiance must be terrific too.

I ordered a Chicken Shawarma and was instantly impressed when it was served. Not only did it taste great, the presentation of their food is very good too! The Shawarma is a yogurt-cardamom marinated chicken that is wrapped in a pita bread. The hummus and cheese-cream that accompanied the dish were excellent.

Laguna PuneHad I known how big the Shawarma would be, I may not have ordered the pasta. But the deed had been done. While I couldn't finish the pasta, I found it excellent! The Fusilli Carbonara was made with with crispy bacon, egg, cream and cheese sauce. Again, they had plated the dish very nicely with slices of garlic bread adorning it.

Fusilli Carbonara at Laguna PuneI have to be back here again, this time with the family and during the evening! BTW, this place is probably a good choice even for a drink or two at the bar. The bar is located right between the restaurants and you can get a view of the city below as you nurse your drink!

Laguna Pune
Laguna/Exotica Pune
View from Exotica/Laguna PuneChicken Shawarma at Laguna PuneThis restaurant is located in Panchshil Tech Park, in the road that connects Jail Road to Nagar Road in Yerwada. If you are going towards the airport, you have to turn right at the crossing just before the Golf Course. The restaurant is located on the 7th floor of Tower C, one of the shiny steel and glass buildings in this complex.

Laguna, Exotica and Aquaa are located in Panchshil Tech Park, Yerwada. Ph: 65005566, 65007788

The other restaurant I was able to finally visit was Casanova. This fine-dining Italian restaurant opened with much fanfare last year. It was a Sunday evening and I had called ahead to make a reservation. They warned me the music would be loud tonight since they had a guest DJ playing house music. That wasn't a problem since I was dining alone - my family is visiting the in-laws this week.

The dining area is chic and contemporary with a small dance floor at one end. Dim lights, candles on the tables, and mood lighting in the bar area gives this place lots of atmosphere. The china and flatware were of very good quality too. With the right kind of music, this could be a great place for a quiet, intimate dinner for two.

Casanova Pune
Casanova PuneI ordered a starter from the Antipasti section. The Gambaretti Malagan is a dish of char-grilled prawns with Italian cold-pressed olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, tomato sauce and a dash of white wine. As I glad the dinner began on the right note! The prawns were large, fresh, and crunchy; the coarsely grated garlic in the sauce along with the olive oil considerably enhanced the taste. This dish paired rather well with my glass of Grover’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Gambaretti Malagan at Casanova PuneI had ordered the Tortelloni con Salsa de Agnello from the Risotto & Pasta section. The tortelloni was stuffed with minced lamb, Italian herbs, and served in a fresh tomato, red wine and lamb ragu. This dish was pretty good too with a liberal helping of minced lamb in the sauce!

Mince Tortelloni at Casanova PuneInstead of the usual Tiramisu, I decided to try the Vulcano for dessert. And that was a wise choice! The Vulcano has a molten chocolate interior and is baked à la minute (i.e., on order). It was a nice end to a pretty good dinner, scooping up molten chocolate and vanilla ice-cream. :)

Vulcano Dessert at Casanova Pune
Molten chocolate Vulcano at Casanova PuneThe waiters were prompt and the service quality was good throughout. The menu is quite comprehensive and they also have a pretty good wine list. I have seen critical comments on the service quality and about the 'loud' owner/manager. Fortunately, I have no such horror stories to share! There probably aren't enough patrons in Pune for an Italian fine-dining experience, which would explain the need for guest DJs and louder dance music during weekends to bring in the younger crowd.

Casanova is located in the Fortaleza Shopping Complex opposite the BIG Gold multiplex in Kalyani Nagar. Ph: 2660-8888.

Please check the side-bar under Pune Posts for other reviews of Pune restaurants. I would love to hear your views of these restaurants too.


Lakshmi said...

I enjoy Italian food..and the dessert looks yummy..Merry Christmas to you

Anonymous said...

Oh Man!! I just mentioned the Chocolate Lava cake in my blog a few minutes back!!

Is this place in Pune? Do you know of any places in Mumbai that serve this?

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

Sounds interesting :) Merry Christmas to you.

Anonymous said...

@Lakshmi: In this case, looks were not deceiving!

@Vamsee: Unfortunately, I don't think I have seen a Lava Cake on the menu in the few places I have eaten in Mumbai.

@Shalini: Wish you a Very Happy Holiday Season too.

Chica said...

Hey.. its really nice reading ur blog... Gotto know of sm nice restaurants I never knew had opened up in pune.. tho I live here :).. just a request.. cud u like give an idea as to how much a meal for two wud be... THANKS!!

Anonymous said...

Heya , wish you n your family very Happy Holidays n seasons Greetings .

Anonymous said...

@shikha: Thank you! I will try to put some approx prices too.

@Kate: Thank you! And a Happy Holiday season to you and your loved ones.

Unknown said...

Hey Shantanu..

Great Blog..!! Any suggestions for students..? Some places that are easier on the pocket..?

Happy New Year..!!


Anonymous said...

@Gunjan: Actually, Pune is a good city for reasonably priced food. You may not find Italian or Mediterreanian fare at low prices, but you can find good Chinese food at Suonmui (Boat Club Road, near Jet Airways office), Sizzlers (Bounty's in Kalyaninagar), and of course, South Indian stuff (Madhuban, Vaishali, etc.).

Anonymous said...

@shikha, and anyone else interested in prices: The Shawarma is priced at Rs.260 and the pasta Rs.385. Not exactly cheap, but portions large enough for two.