Italy’s food is bound by tradition, but tradition doesn’t mean it always have to be that way. Marco Manocchio, freshly flown in from Rome, loves his Italian roots. But like many others, he cooks with a twist, making room for both modern and time-honoured traditions. 

At the newly refurbished Dolce Vita, each ingredient is carefully chosen and often showcased to revelatory effect. Watch the chefs cut into umami-rich buffalo mozzarella and gussy up plates of spaghetti carbonara. Those are good to start your meal with, but don’t get too full too soon. Wait for the main event, a 25-layer lasagna baked with Neapolitan ragout. And if for some strange reason, you’re on a low-carb diet, you can’t go wrong with the ribeye, which comes complete with mashed potato, sautéed vegetables and drippings. 

Dolce Vita is the perfect set-up for dinner, if you plan to bring a date. If not, lunch is good too. Besides, $36 for two courses in a fancy restaurant? That’s a steal.

Dolce Vita is at the Mandarin Oriental. Stand a chance to win a four-course set dinner worth $860 at Dolce Vita. It includes non-alcoholic beverages. We repeat, non-alcoholic. 

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Date Night: Little Italy
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