Aria proudly boasts to have the ‘best pizzas in town’ (a claim also made by several other restaurants), but as a wise man once said, self-praise is no recommendation. Thankfully, Aria can justify their lofty declarations with authentic, stone-baked pizzas loaded with mozzarella that are as good as you could find in any restaurant from Rome to Rangoon. The head chef and maitre d’ are proudly Italian which certainly shows as the menu is a compilation of all the classic dishes from their homeland.
Without an already established reputation, there would be nothing set this excellent Italian restaurant apart from many other inferior restaurants along Francois Ngin Street, but as soon as you step inside it is clear that Aria is a level above their immediate competition: tablecloths are spotless, cutlery is sparkling and the décor is a pleasant blend of warm colours with varied pictures scattered along the walls. Waiting staff are turned out in immaculate white shirts and waistcoats and have obviously been trained in European standards of service.
The level of attentiveness aimed for does not blend naturally to the Laotian character so it can sometimes be a little bumbling but I appreciated the attentive service even if there were slight mistakes with our order.
If you visit as a group, it is a good idea to let the head chef create a personal menu for you, starting with some antipasti and salad, before moving on to pasta and meat dishes. Aria is more expensive than neighbouring restaurants on Francois Ngin Street but the service and quality of the food is far higher.
Aria is one of the finest restaurants in Vientiane and when you compare the price of a meal to that of other top restaurants around town, it usually comes out on top. Another definite plus point to this restaurant is their clear emphasis on fine Italian wines to accompany your dining experience; I found their wine menu a little daunting actually, but the maitre d’ was on hand to recommend a suitable wine to complement our meal.
Aria restaurant in Vientiane covers the classic Italian dishes such as pizza, pasta, lasagna as well as a sizeable selection of imported meat and fish, and should be tried at least once. You can feel the owners have a passion for what they do, which you can feel in the attentiveness of their staff and taste it in their delicious Italian fare.