Welcoming its 2nd anniversary in early March 2014, Via Pre has officially opened its door to the public for 2 years. I am not surprised that Via Pre is crowned one of the finest and best Italian restaurants in Penang and has been able to stay strong and steady for a long time as they have devised a sturdy menu to satisfy its regular patrons. The interior decor and the exterior look of the restaurant are such a big contrast; the restaurant seems quiet and nothing exciting from outside but you will be surprised with the classy and swanky setting as well as the charming environment inside. Their comprehensive menu comprises of Antipastos, Entrees, Pasta, Mains, Pizzas and Desserts will surely have something for every palate. Prices are definitely on the higher side but they commensurate with the fine-quality ingredients. Simply ask for recommendations from the eloquent staff should you are unsure of what to order and I am sure they will provide you with the suitable recommendations. Via Pre is located at Weld Quay, a stone's throw distance from the interactive 3D museum and Pos Malaysia; opposite to the Ferry Terminal of Penang.
We kick-started our meal with their Assorted Cured Hams & Sausages with Antipastos (Rm 72); the Antipastos were Artichokes, Eggplants, Olives, Capsicum and Sun-Dried Tomatoes; while the Hams were Honey Cured Hams, Salami, Prosciutto as well as some Soft and Hard Cheeses. The Italian charcuterie is good for 2 to 3 person. I was amazed with the impressionable quality of Artichokes, reasonably flavored with an acidic tilt, perfect to whet up the appetite! The Eggplants and Sun-Dried Tomatoes were equally great as well, tame and easy on the palate while not hard to the bite. A contenting starter to share with your friends and to grab some Beer or Wine for the evening.
You know you are in an fine Italian restaurant when they serve Aceto Balsamico/ Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil with fresh bakes. Via Pre's came in soft and fluffy, a perfect nibble before the meal.
We were not quite convinced with their Pork Ribs (Rm 59) served with Roasted Tomatoes, Sauteed Spinach and Diavolo Sauce. It felt like a stew dish, especially with the Tomato-based sauce and those vegetables like Onions, Capsicums and Celery. Not all Ribs were tender, some were rough and hard to the bite while some were fork-tender which left me doubt about their consistency. The Ribs were somehow mildly seasoned and could be bland for some, not an impressive dish overall.
Penne Arrabbiata with fresh Cherry Tomatoes (Rm 19) was a lovely dish, it comes in a substantial portion which should be good enough for two (small eaters). Perfectly cooked with al-dente texture, their Penne was perfectly coated with a refreshingly spicy Tomato Sauce. Additional Chili Flakes and Cheese Powder were also provided for those who prefer their pasta to be spicier or cheesier. My only gripe for this dish was the lack of ingredients in which I was left underwhelmed.
I have always wanted to try their Tiramisu (Rm 16) which many have raved about. The temptation did not result in a disappointment, the Cocoa powder dusted Tiramisu was velvety smooth in texture, hitting the palate with a strong coffee kick. It was not sweet at all, in fact, it has a mellow bitter-after taste from the coffee. A pleasingly comfort dessert to call for an end.
Menabrea Beer/ Italian Beer (Rm 22)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 6/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Parking: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: Yes 6%
Wifi-Available and Non-Halal
Address: 5, Weld Quay, 10300, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 10am to 10:30pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 262 0560