Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria, Bangsar South

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria, Italian Restaurant in Bangsar South

Words: Han Sen Hau
Photos: Monica Tindall

It is impossible to visit Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria, the latest project by the Portofino Group Malaysia, without considering Federico Fellini’s masterpiece from the 60s: a celebration of Rome, a hallmark of café society, and a dive into that seductive sweet life. Descriptions that also aptly characterise the namesake restaurant that occupies a prime spot at Nexus Bangsar South. 

Helmed by its owner Keli, the restaurant is cosy in cobalt blue and muted lighting. The walls are filled with images of Italy. If you look closely enough, you might even spot some rare photos of Keli and his family among Venetian gondoliers and façades of the Colosseum. However, the most impressive feature of the restaurant is the cavernous Valoriani oven used to prepare all the pizzas in Dolce Vita, operated by Keli’s brother, Kristi.

Where to eat in Nexus, Bangsar South
Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria – Italian Restaurant, Nexus, Bangsar South
Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria – Italian Restaurant, Nexus, Bangsar South

How the brothers managed to transport this beauty into Malaysia is a marvel in itself, a labour of love and a testament to the lengths they would go to ensure an authentic Italian culinary experience. To say that they are dead serious about their pizzas is an understatement, as Keli insists on using only San Marzano tomatoes and Fior di Latte Mozzarella in all of Dolce Vita’s pizzas (except the Bufala, which uses DOP Mozzarella di Bufala of course). In other words, no expenses were spared in bringing Italy to Bangsar South, especially when the pizzas are slapped, massaged, and baked personally right in front of you by an Italian. 

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Pizza Chef Kristi Doing His Thing

House Pour

If you’ve visited any of the Portofino restaurants in town, then you would have definitely seen the bottles of Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (RM38 per glass / RM178 per bottle) lining their bars. While it’s usually easy to dismiss house pours as being a “basic” offering, the red Montepulciano shines in its bright and rich flavour, a vibrant offering from Abruzzo that pairs beautifully with the Italian fare. Its sweetness dissipates quickly off the tongue, making it a very easy glass to empty on its own, and we were happy to lick our lips clean with traces of Montepulciano throughout dinner. That being said, we’ve heard a rumour that the team will soon be directly importing their own wine and spirits from Italy. We can’t wait to return to try them!

Where to eat in Nexus, Bangsar South
Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo


Kicking off dinner was the mouthwatering Capesante Saltate in Padella (RM58), a glorious presentation of pan-seared Canadian scallops swimming in a decadent bisque with Porcini mushrooms. The accompanying sourdough bread was the perfect complement to the creamy concoction, as its crisp and chewy texture was a delightful antithesis to the mollusc. 

Where to eat in Nexus, Bangsar South
Capesante Saltate in Padella

We also savoured the Fritto Misto (RM58), a mélange of deep-fried squid, tiger prawns, zucchini, and tempura capsicum. A delightfully crunchy overture, the Fritto Misto whetted our appetites for a seafaring odyssey as Keli promised a tasting menu filled with the riches of the abyss.

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Fritto Misto – Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria


Moving past our appetisers, we enjoyed a classic Spaghetti alle Vongole (RM46) made with squid ink spaghetti. Sabah clams feature heavily here, and their brinier profile bounces off nicely against the silky black strands of spaghetti tossed in chilli, garlic, parsley, and white wine. It’s a simple recipe but a stirring one.

Where to eat in Nexus, Bangsar South
Spaghetti alle Vongole

Secondi Piatti

For the main course, we had the solid Bronzino al Forno (RM64), a meaty barramundi splashing about in an exquisite lemon and capers reduction. The fish has an addictive texture and bite. Its flavour is elevated by a confetti of herbs, capers, and olives tossed into the mix. 

Where to eat in Nexus, Bangsar South
Bronzino al Forno

PizzeDolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria

A handmade Bresaola Rucola e Grana Pizza (RM54) wrapped up our savoury indulgences, and the sight of Kristi making this was akin to watching an artist at work. His movements were swift and purposeful, and his mastery over the Valoriani allowed him to conjure a freshly baked pizza just in under seven minutes. 

This was truly the highlight of our visit. Our tummies were rumbling all over again by the time he finished layering the pizza with the bresaola cuts, copious amounts of arugula, and a fistful of Grana Padano cheese, all lightly drizzled in olive oil. The very first bite into this is a religious experience for everyone present, and the crunch is unforgettable. It’s no wonder why recipes like this are granted protected status in the same way wine does based on their origin. Once you’ve tasted the original, it’s hard to imagine how all others can compete. 

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria Italian Restaurant KL
Valoriani Pizza Oven – Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Bresaola Rucola e Grana Pizza


Finally, our sweet life ends with the Tortino al Cioccolato (RM38). This demure lava cake hides a dark secret that spills all over the plate once you slice into it. The luxe, gooey dark chocolate is paired with vanilla gelato, as tradition demands. However, the star of this sweet course has to be the amaretti biscuit crumbs littered at the base of the gelato. This simple addition tickles the nose with an unmistakable sweetness and injects life into an established dessert staple. 

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Tortino al Cioccolato

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria Review

The Portofino Group has never lapsed in their single-minded focus to give us quality Italian fare, and that dedication extends even to their most recent opening of Dolce Vita. The menu is an adulation of the best Italy has to offer and never comes off as overwhelming. There’s enough variety to sustain interest over multiple visits, and we are confident everyone would be able to find an irreplaceable favourite after spending some time here.

Many thanks to Keli and Kristi for hosting us at another successful venture, and we look forward to seeing the movie poster of La Dolce Vita up on the wall when we return.

Reasons to visit Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria: Right off the bat, their pizzas; intimate and cosy setting makes the restaurant a perfect place for romantic interludes, while the sheer variety of Italian fare makes it great for large parties too; their Valoriani oven is essentially a landmark that deserves to be photographed on its own; pork-free.

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria
Nexus, Bangsar South, G-17, Ground Floor
7, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+612-256 7309

Dolce Vita Ristorante & Pizzeria Opening Hours
10:00am – 11:00pm (Monday – Sunday)

Find more Italian restaurants in KL here and stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in KL’s food and beverage scene here and here.


  1. I wish we had something like this here!

  2. Yum!! Added to Yumlist list

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.