Easy on the eyes and even easier on the appetite, Sara Waddah and her companions devoured a hearty Italian meal that had them smiling from cheek to cheek.

Tucked away at the Wyndham Garden Manama, Trattoria easily comes to sight upon entering the hotel. Mounting a few steps this casual and comfortable space instantly felt welcoming as we went through the door.

With plenty of sunlight coming through the stained-glass windows that surround the entire restaurant, Trattoria is decorated simply as an Italian-styled eatery – less formal than some but with lots of emphasis on customer satisfaction. With creative décor and small art pieces decking the red walls, chic Trattoria was definitely emitting vintage and rustic vibes.

To be honest, when it comes to me being immensely satisfied with a meal, there are always several factors that come into play – the ambience, the friendliness of the hosts, the love and passion that has gone into preparing the dishes, as well as my afterglow. My happy Sara glow. We started with the Bruschettini Con Verdure – which definitely felt like the dynamic version of a bruschetta – this crispy baked goodness stuffed with cheese, tomatoes, olives, and served with balsamic reduction, literally tasted as good as it sounds.

Paired with the Champignons Truffle mushroom soup, our anticipation for more of the dishes really started to kick in as we dipped breadsticks into the truffle-y delight. Trattoria, without a doubt, sent us on a journey to Italy. And it was only just getting started. As the gracious staff began placing dishes on our dining table (luckily, I had companions to devour this meal with), I began to feel infatuated with the aromas of the food. Not knowing which direction to go for, I allowed my heart to guide my fork, and was pleasantly surprised.

Cooked in beautiful tomato paste and cream, giving it a pink, rosy look, the Tortellini Mousse Di Polo felt somewhat like the type of hug that gives your entire body goosebumps. Stuffed generously with chicken, each bite complements the last – and that’s how you end up eating everything at an Italian restaurant. Also grabbing my attention was the Costolette Di Agnello. Cooked in a simple yet authentic way, the lamb chops and side dishes were bursting with flavours, with the tender meat instantly melting in the mouth.

Beautifully decorated with bright yellow sauce and graciously seasoned asparagus, a fascinating salmon steak with a lovely aroma joined our dinner table. With a refreshing and subtle taste, the fillet of fish felt as if it had been just freshly caught right out of the sea – flavoured lightly with just the right amount of seasoning. Dousing the steak and veggies with the sauce, what became apparent to me was honey-like saffron, this delightful addition was just perfect for this dish! Vibrant, different and definitely standing out amongst the other dishes.

Who on earth goes to an Italian trattoria and doesn’t try the pizzas!? Definitely wasn’t going to be me. Serving an original authentic Margharita Pizza, and then allowing guests to add up to four different toppings, we decided to go for barbecue and more mozzarella… because you can never have too much cheese! Coming out toasty in all the right places, there was absolutely nothing that could go wrong in that moment with this wood-fireoven-baked pizza. I literally didn’t even know if I’d ever be ready to leave all these slices of Italy behind!

We ended our lovely journey in little Italy (just right in the streets of Juffair) with the sweet, fruity, crunchy feast that is Crostata Di Frutta Di Stagione Con Creme Alla Vaniglia! We even practised saying it in Italian while we laughed and enjoyed the euphoric feeling of that glow I was telling you about. Definitely worth a try, Trattoria is currently open every day (except Sundays) from 12pm to 3pm for a three-course set menu Business Lunch that is priced at BD6 per person. Opened later in the evening for dinner from 7pm to 11.30pm, they’re really making it easy to pop in at these points of the day for a heart-fulfilling, stomachsatisfying, soul-gratifying good Italian meal. Ciao Bella! ✤