Da Fernando doesn't look like much - a hole in the wall trattoria with about six tables in Nha Trang's backpacker area - and when you look at the menu you're really not expecting much. The food is not cheap compared to other places in Asia - a pizza that feeds two people costs about $6.00, so does an average sized plate of Ravioli, which sounds cheap, but most places around you can get a simple dinner for about 1 to 2 dollars. Reading the menu doesn't fill you with hope, as there are just a few simple sounding pizzas, some ravioli, spaghetti and fettucini, some soup and salad and not a lot else. You step inside of the doorless restaurant, the sound of motorbikes on the street providing a constant low roar in the background, drowning out your conversation. You squeeze into a tiny, rock hard chair at a small 2-person table next to several young people with an average age of 18 and dream of what your meal might have been like if you'd chosen to go somewhere else instead. Then the food comes.
The pizza is cooked in a wood oven, leaving a charred and crispy crust. This isn't what I'd consider real Italian pizza, the crust is thicker and there is a lot more cheese and toppings. However, it is tasty and has a nice crunch to it. The pasta is all homemade, our Ravioli is excellent - tastes fresh, not greasy. Even the pizza isn't greasy which is surprising because of all the cheese, and I ordered pepperoni and sausage on top of it. Against my better judgment, I order a glass of red wine, expecting a cheap thrift store glass of overwarm cheap wine. To my surprise, it is served in a nice big molded crystal glass appropriate for its variety, chilled a bit too much but better that than the alternative, and quite nice. There are lots of bottles of wine on a rack on display too.
The service was friendly and attentive almost to the point of obtrusive - hands and arms were always flying around our table, making sure everything was in exactly the right place. We ordered pumpkin ravioli and they made spinach, but that was ok because it was still good - not as good as the pumpkin probably would have been, but we still enjoyed it.
All in all a surprisingly nice lunch in a very simple setting three blocks off the beach.
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