Sorriso is Italian for smile, and that is what most guests at this restaurant do as they leave. A fun place with excellent food and great value! Sorriso is also the name of many other fine Italian restaurants, scattered all around the world.
Sorriso in Seminyak is operated by a local industry professional, Baby [Juliana Arin Waraba], for many years the smiling face of Gado-Gado since it morphed from a disco to a seaside restaurant.
It is an open clean space that reeks of professionalism. The covered terrace is an inviting spot for evening dining. The large bar centre stage and the even larger cocktail list suggests that people will come here and linger!
Like many other Italian restaurants west of here, in Kerobokan and Canggu, Pastas and Pizzas are featured on their menu, but Sorriso also has much else to offer. Most dishes are very traditional but a few come with an Asian twist.
The Antipasti offers all the normal items; Carpaccio can be traditional with thinly sliced marinated beef or a variation using Mahi-Mahi, but for an outstanding variation try the Carpaccio di Bresaola, thin layers of imported Italian air-dried beef with rucola, Parmesan flakes and extra virgin olive oil. Salads can also be very traditional, an Insalata Caprese of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes tossed with basil leaves and olive oil, or with a bit of fusion using young papaya and prawns in fish sauce, vinegar, coconut and a touch of chilli.
The standard soup is Pumpkin but made with coconut cream and lemongrass. Frittura di Calamari is about as Italian as you can get, deep-fried crunchy breaded calamari rings. Spiedini alla Romana is a great snack whilst drinking at the bar, like mini bruschettas; toasted bread chunks covered with mozzarella on skewers topped with an anchovy sauce. Their seafood salad combines shrimps, clams and calamari with diced black olives.
The secret of any Italian restaurant is their Pasta. At Sorriso it is quite unique, featuring many styles not commonly available in Bali. Sedani pasta is the same shape as Rigatoni but a bit thinner, here it comes with the meat of pork ribs and a Genovese sauce, the pasta is simmered in white wine with the meat, its juices and onions. The pasta finishes firm to the touch and all the different flavours discernable.
Normal Rigatoni is with Italian bacon, smoked cheese and aubergines in a tomato sauce. This is a good example of the style of Sorriso, not blushingly delicate but big and hearty, good country food with plenty of taste! The accompanying sauce with the rigatoni gets heaped onto the pasta as enough is not enough.
Egg Tagliatelle is combined with salmon in a creamy sauce or can be had Bolognese style with a more traditional beef and tomato sauce. Spaghetti alle Vongole is pasta with clams, tossed with a sauce of cherry tomatoes and parsley. Conchiglioni al Sorriso is a home grown special; baked pasta shells with ricotta, spinach, gorgonzola and bacon, topped with breadcrumbs. Other pasta dishes include Orecchiette and Penne.
The greatest Italian dishes are very often the simplest, yet they can also be the hardest to find. The perfect Scaloppine is a good example. Unless you are dining in a restaurant at one of the major 5 star hotels where they can sell this dish at Rp.500,000 using imported baby veal, you have to make do with local versions that far too often cut and taste like medallions of fuzzy carpet! At Sorriso their Scaloppine Burro e Salvia, medallions of beef in butter and sage, is a tribute to their talented Italian chef, Egidio. At Rp.53,000 it is cheap even by local standards, but the meat is silky smooth, so soft it almost dissolves in your mouth. The secrets of an expert in the kitchen!
Steaks can be sirloin with pepper sauce or fillet with Gorgonzola cheese sauce. Cotoletta alla Milanese is breaded beef not unlike schnitzel. Their Chicken Breast is stuffed with mushrooms, bread crumbs Parmesan cheese and rosemary. The Snapper Fillet is very popular here, a slab of perfectly cooked fish that has been poached in white wine and vinegar then topped with a coating of finely diced cherry tomatoes and parsley.
For those who crave Pizzas, Sorriso has something for everybody! Simple Bianca and Margheritas as well as Marinara [anchovies, garlic, capers and oregano], Diavola [pepper salami and hot chilli], Capricciosa [mushrooms, ham, artichokes and green olives], Pescatora [shrimps, squid, mussels, tuna and anchovy] and Prosciutto Crudo e Rucola [Parma ham and rucola].
Desserts are what you expect in an Italian restaurant, excellent Tiramisu and a wide variety of gelatos. The wine list is rather small, not unusual at this time in Bali a most difficult time for any new restaurant to open, however it is still quite nicely balanced with the unusual offering of an Italian house wine by glass or carafe.
Sorriso strikes you as a fun place, as soon as you arrive, the young staff well trained but relaxed, the barmen slightly over the top willing to entertain those who wish, and the place engenders a feeling of entering somewhere where they know what they are doing. Nothing subsequently alters that impression, very good food at amazing prices, even for Bali where we are spoilt on good value dining on a daily basis.