Dinner is a straightforward and enjoyable affair at La Piola. With only five main course options, and three for dessert, the only choice that might take a bit longer is picking the wine (the wine list is quite extensive – Italian wines, of course, for consumption in house or purchase to take home at very reasonable prices starting at EUR 5 something).
La Piola is already open for the aperitivo from 18h00 to 20h30, with a nice selection of appetizers (Piola Libri seems better, even though the people behind it are said to be the same). Wines are either by the glass (around 4-5 options for both red and white) or by the bottle.
The venue itself is nothing remarkable, but very casual with barely ten tables, which can be quite enjoyable. The paintings on the walls are a conversation-starter, but probably not something most people would hang up at home… So, definitely not a place to take a date, but perfectly fine for a casual dinner with friends.
(Sorry about the quality of the photos, obviously taken with a phone camera…)
The food is simple, but good. I am not sure if it is always like that, but when I went there, all dishes were pasta dishes, either vegetarian or with meat, and all of them were nicely cooked and tasty. This is not fine cuisine or something that will make you go crazy, but it does qualify as a nice, homemade, unpretentious meal, which sometimes just hits the spot.
The tiramisu is very good (despite the picture, which does not do it justice), and the only drawback with having dessert at La Piola is that if you’re not truly Italian (many of the Piola customers are, which is always a good sign when you’re in an Italian restaurant…) and you don’t want to have an espresso after your meal, you might have to go elsewhere.
All in all, good casual restaurant, but Il Pasticcio still tops my “best Italian” list so far.