Doughy pizzas, fragrant sauces, tender pasta…
Visiting Italy is when you leave your diet at home to feast on carbonara and that extra glass of prosecco. But vacations aren’t be the only way to enjoy the rich localised cuisine of true Roman and Neapolian traditions. The capital of Ukraine amazes too with its tasty gastro culture and it’s my turn to be surprised.
It’s mid-August, and while anticipating my vacation, I walk around Podil trying to catch the urban summer vibes. The mixed aromas of basil and freshly-baked dough entices me to enter a cosy little spot. Now I’m a guest of Aunt Bella’s.
It’s loud, fun, and busy. Tisto, Syr & Titka Bella is a place for those who don’t mind a little noise. Just like the owners of restaurante da familia in the alleyways of Napoli, Aunt Bella greets me warmly and guesses that a table near the window is just the place for me. She is right. I can’t say the restaurant is spacious, yet Aunt Bella manages to accommodate everyone. The traditional sounds, authentic Italian interior, and a large wood-fired oven in the middle create a setting that invites family gatherings and pleasant, friendly meetings.
The menu showcases traditional farm-to-table Italian dishes which include an array of freshly-baked bruschettas, salads, pasta, seafood, pizza, and homemade desserts. I think I may need some help from Aunt Bella.
Caprese Salad is a great antipasto to start your meal here. Buffalo mozzarella cheese is sheltered by juicy tomato circles topped with freshly-made pesto sauce that has been flavoured with oregano and basil. The combination offers a twist on the classic, and Aunt Bella assures me that a glass of “Bella’s Special” Lambrusco will finish it off right. Again, she is not wrong.
Prosciutto Crudo Joy
How about a piece of hot and delicious pizza fresh out of the oven? One of the most beloved of Italian dishes, I just can’t resist ordering Prosciutto Pizza. This crusty and traditionally thin but fluffy Neapolitan-style pizza surprises me with is combination of authentic ingredients hidden under aromatic basil and arugula. Small slices of pepperoni and shredded cheese are nowhere to be found. Instead, large discs of prosciutto, grated parmesan, and a few salty sun-dried tomatoes are abundant.
There is a selection of toppings here that are harder to come by at other Italian restaurants in Kyiv. My prosciutto pizza is topped with pelatti and pesto, while the taste of truffle paste hits in a few bites here and there. A Bellini cocktail – a tender combination of prosecco, peach juice, freshly-squeezed lemon, and mint – is the perfect accompaniment to the dish.
Caprese salad – 97 UAH
Pizza Prosciutto – 139 UAH
Gianduja Torte – 87 UAH
Lambrusco Robyla Bella – 312 UAH
Bellini 110 UAH
TOTAL 745 UAH
Make sure you try:
Vitello Tonnato 142 UAH
Salad mix: panzanella, prosciutto, and crouton 118 UAH
Four Cheese Pizza 139 UAH
In an attempt to round out my experience with an equally extraordinary choice, I follow Aunt Bella’s advice once more. If you’re into coffee and chocolate like me – the light and airy Torta Gianduia will be your new paradise. This flourless traditional Italian dessert refers to the winning marriage of chocolate and hazelnuts. A thin orange jelly layer in the middle perfectly blends with a biscuit that is full of satisfying dark chocolate. It tastes just the way my Italian grandma would want it to, if I had one.
Though I must be off, I make sure Aunt Bella knows I enjoyed being her guest. This will certainly be a go-to spot whenever I have friends or family visiting Kyiv. While making a reservation might be a good idea for next time, one thing is for sure: you won’t have to worry about feeling unwelcome when visiting Tisto, Syr & Titka Bella.
Тісто, Сир і Тітка Белла
⎯ 11.00 – 23.00
+380 63 957 0009
The What’s On Checklist
English Menu ✔︎
English-speaking staff ✔︎
WO Rating ★★★★★