Little Italy, a nononsense Italian restaurant at the heart of Kota Kinabalu

Little Italy may be a quaint name for a restaurant but it truly speaks for itself because this simple, nononsense outlet located on ground floor in and beside Capital Hotel, down town Kota Kinabalu central business district is really almost like Italy, judging by the authentic array of pasta
and pizzas available.


The first time when it opens for business five years ago, it has proven to be a hit among local diners and tourist. So much so that according to
Chef and Restaurant Proprietor, Emiliano Ceresa, they had to close for three days to replenish their supplies because they kept running out of food during the first three weeks! One customer was said to have even gone through the entire menu! And going by the choices on offer, it must have been quite an adventure.


To start with there’s the familiar garlic bread or Bruschetta (Italian bread) topped with tomatoes soaked in olive oil and antipasto (hot and cold appetisers) such as their mussels in white wine sauce. And if anyone thinks that the egg plant is a vegetable that’s better left forgotten the Melanzane Parmigiana will soon change that perception. There are also soups to choose from and the Zuppa Di Mare (Seafood Soup) is certainly one that shouldn’t be missed.


As for pizzas, don’t expect the thick crust types usually mistaken as the real thing because here only the thin and crispy home made versions are served with a selection of toppings to choose from. Emiliano says it’s the original stone-baked Italian pizza just like they used to make in their hometown in Torino, Northwest Italy. Apparently it took them more than 10 years to master the art using only the freshest ingredients. Instead of having just spaghetti as the choice for pasta, there are several others to choose from like parpadelle, trenette, fettucine and ravioli. Complementing these are four kinds of sauces which can be based on tomato, seafood, cream or olive oil. Not forgetting the ‘Puccia Salmon’. These freshly baked sandwiches with smoked salmon or chicken with Onion, capers and 100 island sauces won Little Italy an award for its authenticity. The authenticity is perhaps best explained by the fact that Emiliano’s parents are the masterminds in the kitchen. His father, Luciano, makes fresh pasta everyday according to recipes tried and tested over many generations. Luciano says it is an art passed down from his
mother and his pasta is guaranteed free from additives and preservatives. Wanda, his wife does the main bulk of the cooking churning out mouth-watering meals to satisfy the hunger pangs and sometimes curiosity of their customers. Emiliano assures that all the essential ingredients
are Italian with about 80 per cent of them imported. The prices too are reasonable and certainly affordable so that “everyone has a chance to experience something new,” he says. They also provide take-aways and calls can be made in by finishing off with Little Italy’s Tiramisu made with original “Savoiardi” biscuits.


For the next visit, try pronouncing the Italian names in the menu. It will certainly be more fun than just pointing at the pictures!
Buon Appettito!

Little Italy

If the way to a man’s heart is indeed through his stomach, then food lovers across Kota Kinabalu should all be steered towards the direction of Little Italy located on the ground floor of Hotel Capital. With its highly satisfying and diverse northern Italian menu, it is no surprise that this casual eatery packs a jovial buzz nearly every night of the week. The chefs avoid showiness and gastronomic trends by focusing on serving home cooked meals using authentic recipes that are over 50 years old.
Unbuckle a button and start off a comforting meal with antipasti such as the Melanzane alla Parmigiana (luxuriant layers of eggplants baked with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes), Carpaccio di Manzo e Salmone (thinly sliced beef carpaccio and smoked salmon served with capers, onions and garlic bread) or Frittura Mista di Pesce (a medley of deep fried seafood and vegetables accompanied by three types of dipping
sauces). Weight watchers need not fret as there are a variety of vegetarian and low fat options that are equally flavoursome. Proceed with a primo or main course like the Ravioli Combo Fiesta where customers can mix and match three types of ravioli with a choice of 29 types of sauces. Highly recommended is the Chicken Ravioli with Arrabbiata (tomatoes sautéed with fried garlic and parsley), Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli drenched in Quattro Formaggi (a creamy combination of Danish blue, emmenthal, mozzarella and parmesan cheese) and Mushroom Ravioli tossed in Panna e Funghi (fresh mushrooms simmered in white wine and cream).
The culinary adventurer can opt for the Gnocchi di Patate (boiled dumplings made of flour and mashed potatoes) cooked in Emiliana (bolognese sauce spiked with white wine and cream) or the peculiar looking Risotto al Nero di Seppia (an addictive black squid ink concoction). And for the finale? Chocoholics can indulge in the heavenly Chocolate Mousse or Chocolate Almond Cake served with vanilla ice cream. Coffee lovers, however, will enjoy the sinful Affogato al Caffe (zabaglione gelato drowned in imported espresso) or classic Tiramisu.
Little Italy is located at Jalan Haji Saman (across from Wisma Merdeka), Kota Kinabalu. Business hours are from 10.30am to 11pm daily. For reservations, please call or fax to +60 88 232231 or visit

(The New Sabah Times)

Charming food lovers the Italian way

If you think that Little Italy serves little portions of food, think again! The portions here are European standard and that means huge by Asian standard. That however, is not the main reason this family-run business in the heart of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is famous for; patrons come here for the authentic taste of their range of food, all freshly prepared daily.


Located on the ground floor of Capital Hotel, the happening place in the city, this restaurant is a must place for locals to bring their foreign visitors and also the generally preferred place for many tourists. The cozy atmosphere inside makes conversations here a pleasure for everyone as spaces in-between tables are comfortably wide for easy passage as well as privacy.


Choose from a variety of fresh salads to start your meal while waiting for your main course to arrive. Frequent customers here always go for the daily fresh pastas where you can pick from the fifteen choices available. Each is a generous serving of home-made original recipe pasta that comes piping hot and just melts in the mouth.


As Italy is synonymous with pizzas, Little Italy is the place to go for original Italian pizza. A stone stove is used to bake these pizzas to give each that crispy edges and savoury melted cheese flavour that can only come from such a stove. As usual, the toppings are for you to imagine and choose from for your own special pizza every time you order pizza here!


Grilled lamb chops or beef fillet in mushroom sauce are among the main courses that will never fail to impress your clients or customers when you bring them here for dinner. The large portions certainly make their eyes widen in anticipation of the meal while the freshly made sauces, further accentuate the taste of the meals. In fact, Little Italy had been awarded by the Sabah Tourism Board for their authentic style dishes and is a pride of the city, a place where food lovers will find pleasure choices, portions and taste.


Plan your next trip to Kota Kinabalu with a stopover at Little Italy with your friends or tour group and sample these array of delightful dishes with authentic Italian touch. With the upcoming holiday season it will be a better idea to make your reservations so as to avoid disappointing wait when you arrive. You know you have come to the house of home cooking in Little Italy!

Kota Kinabalu authentic Italian food specialist with a top award from Sabah’s Tourism Board for satisfaction guaranteed!

Just how good a restaurant is can be judged by the number of people passing through its doors daily. IN Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the locals regularly visit Little Italy restaurant, on the ground floor of Capital Hotel, opposite Wisma Merdeka shopping centre for authentic Italian dishes and savoury pizzas! Many also bring foreign guests and visitors here as this is one place where everyone gets filled to the brim since the orders come in farily large portions, piping hot and yummy to the end.


The secret for Little Italy’s success lies in the way the ingredients are prepared, fresh everyday and cooked in a special oven for the unique flavour. As a family-run restaurant the food too are treated as such, using fresh vegetables, cuts of meat and each sauce made using traditional spices and herbs everyday; they know how important quality of the taste is and nothing beats freshly cooked meals! The favourites here are Filetto ai fungli (New Zealand beef fillet with generous serving of fresh mushrooms sauce), Agnella alla carigllia (lamb chops grilled to perfection with fresh vegetables of the day) and Pollo alla cacciatora (savoury chicken served with rice or pasta) and new main courses are added over time to add on the choices available. Usually, guests start with their appetizers, which come in eight choices while the homemade pastas have over fifteen flavours to try out and all daily fresh!


Naturally, pizza, the Italian iconic dish, is a big hit here, not only with children but parents and office workers as they are just perfect for a satisfactory meal among friends. Enjoy the desserts in the relaxing restaurant after meal as these too come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavours! It is no wonder that Little Italy has been awarded with the top prize by the state tourism board for its unique flavours, adding to the charms of visiting this “Land Below the Wind”.


First time visitors here get special attention as the various dishes are explained to them to make the preferred selections. Many unfamiliar with Italian dishes can walk out after a meal here with a string of Italian phrases and names to always remember. The restaurant is also a favourite among the lunch crowd and evening diners due to its cozy atmosphere and location in the heart of the entertainment centre in the capital city. In Little Italy, everyone is treated like a friend with fast and courteous services as well as a smile! Visit it soon and check out the daily fresh special meals that put a smile on your face each time!

Home cooked and fresh

Little Italy is the home for daily home cooked, freshly made dishes in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah; the aroma of freshly baked pizza and sizzling grilled lamb chop greets you the minute you walked into the room! The restaurant’s insistent on only using freshly made pasta, appetizers, sauces, vegetables and oven baked pizzas has won it the reputation of being the authentic Italian food caterer in the state. So much so, that the state has even rewarded it with a trophy and title for being an ambassador of tourism in Sabah.


Well into its eleventh year of establishment now, Little Italy continues to astound customers with its wide varieties of dishes apart from its famed traditional menu of pasta, pizza and soups. The heavy responsibility of buying fresh vegetables, fish and other necessities for churning out the variety of fresh salads, appetizers and main course meals that comes with their traditional sauces marks the continued success of the restaurant run by the family members.


So whether it is lunch with office colleagues or dinner with clients or families, Little Italy is the choice for daily fresh cooked meals. The choices available mean too that everyone could share the large portions and get to taste a wide variety on every visit. This is the place to really sample authentic, freshly prepared Italian dishes, which will dawn on you why there is no comparison when it comes to taste. You will certainly make more visits after the first try as many others have also experienced!


Be charmed by the choices available, authentic taste and pleasant surroundings

Bruschetta Pomodoro

Bruschetta Pomodoro

The name says it all for Little Italy – it serves Italian dishes based on traditional recipes and pizzas baked in authentic stone oven for that special taste. An award-winning restaurant from Sabah Tourism Board for its fantastic dishes, it is the pride of Kota Kinabalu city, Sabah as one of the main places for bringing guests and family for a sumptuous meal. Don’t worry about the Italian names of teh choices in the menu as your waitress will guide you through for a truly satisfying gastronomical experience.


There are eight appetizers to choose from and another five choices in the Spring Pasta that more than overwhelm patrons. Those in favour of home-made, classical recipes can opt for one of the fifteen styles of pasta they have here. When it comes to pizzas, the choices are again amazing; select your favourite sauce for the crispy crust and whatever else on top as the cheese comes in generous portions!


Main courses here are a delight for food lovers as the tender slices of New Zealand beef fillet (Filleto ai funghi) in fresh mushroom sauce melts in the mouth. Grilled lamb chops and chicken dishes make the varieties available here even more difficult to decide on the choice which explains why many patrons are repeat customers back for more sampling of the courses found in the menu. Fresh ingredients and daily-prepared pastas and sauces are the secret behind the great taste as the family run business only wants the best for their customers.


Nothing beats the great taste of daily fresh cooking which is a proud tradition of Little Italy and everyone compliments the size of the servings, which are simply large!


Little Italy has a cozy setting with ample spaces between tables in the tradition of Italian restaurants. The place is a must visit for many foreigners to the city and locals frequent it for the authentic and fresh taste of its food. Its location on the ground floor of Capital Hotel provides convenience and natural attraction for customers as the area is the main entertainment centre of the city. Pleasant on the outside and conducive inside, Little Italy has been delighting patrons for years in scenic Kota Kinabalu where good food, great taste and varieties of choices make it a natural hot spot for everyone.

Desserts, Ice Cream and NightCaps

The Desserts

TiramisuTiramisu copy

World famous ‘pick me up’ traditional coffee cake

Cream Caramel

Cream Caramel copy

Home made cream caramel

Chocolate MousseChocolate Mousse copy

Dark chocolate mousse flavoured with orange peel

Single Scoop Selection

Classic Italian Selection


Affogato al Whiski 1 copy


The favourite Italian Dessert of Lady Finger Bsicuits soaked in coffee liquor and mascarpone cheese.


Smooth Creamy hazelnut and chocolate gelato…Our Italian version of Chocolate flavour.


Green pistachio nuts gelato…as simple as that!


Eggs and marsala wine combination…an extremely old and popular recipe now turns into gelato.

Ferrero Rocher

A perfect replica of this Italian flagship product made into sublime gelato.

Gelato Dessert Selection


Affogato al Caffe copy

Affogato al caffe

A single scoop of Zabaglione gelato dipped in our imported caffe cagliari espresso shot…a perfect end to a great meal.

Crespella & Gelato 2 copy

Crespella e Gelato

A mouth watery gelato pancake. Choose any 1 of our gelato flavors and we will cook up this yummy dessert served with chocolate syrup and freshly whipped cream.

Little Italy Gelato 1 copy

Little Italy gelato cup

The ultimate sensation…three scoops of your choice of gelato topped with honey, walnut, chocolate syrup and freshly whipped cream.

Hot Chocolate Cake 1 copy

Warm chocolate cake

Chocolate and almond nuts cake served with a portion of vanilla ice cream.

Night caps

Back home in Italy, it is customary to end your sumptuous meal with a so called NightCap…Night Caps copy

Through the centuries many ‘special drinks have evolved, from Digestives, that help you digest your meals, generally called Amari to Keeper Uppers which gently help you going through the next stage of your evening! Here we wish to offer you the best that Italy can produce…Cin Cin (Cheers) and Buona Notte (Good Night)


Sambuca, Grappa, Limoncello

Entrees (Main Courses)

II Polo (Chicken Dishes)

Pollo alla Cacciatora 1 copy

Pollo Alla Cacciatora

  • The ‘Hunter’s chicken’ is a classic North Italian dish, a whole back quarter stewed chicken served with rice or pasta, and vegetables of the day.






Pollo ai Funghi

Pollo ai Funghi copy

  • Broiled chicken breast served with vegetables of the day and a creamy mushroom and white wine sauce.





Pollo Impanato 2 copy

Pollo Impanato

  • Pan-fried Chicken breast with Grandma’s bell pepper sauce and fettuccine in Rosemary sauce.

Entrees (Main Course)

II Pesce (Seafood Dishes)


Filetto di Sole ai Tre Pepi 1 copy

Filetto di sole ai 3 pepi

  • Sole fish, served in a creamy three pepper sauce accompanied by vegetable of the day.

    Filetto di Salmone copy

Filetto di Salmone (Lemon Butter or Tomato Sauce)

  • Slice of Boneless salmon on a bed of zucchini in bread crumbs and oven baked potato jacket.

Salmone in Mille foglie

  • Norwegian salmon fillet in mille foglie pastry…topped with creamy artichokes sauce, mixed vegetable of the day and mashed potatoes.



Entrees (Main Course)

Le Carni (The Beef Selection)


Fileto ai Funghi

Filetto ai Funghi 2 copy

  • 180 gr of New Zealan beef fillet served in a mouth watering fresh mushroom sauce and accompanied by roasted eggplant, zucchini and vegetables of the day.

Salciccia Casereccia 2 copy

Salciccia Casereccia

  • Freshly made lamb and beef sausage skewers, grilled to perfection, served with potato wedges.

Scaloppine al vino bianco

  • New Zealand’s beef scallops served with a delicious white wine gravy accompanied by vegetables of the day.

    Scaloppine Vino Bianco 5 copy

Agnello alla Griglia 2 (2) copy

Agnello alla Griglia

  • Grilled, marinated lamb chops served with a variety of vegetables and glazed apple sauce.

Oxtail piemontese

  • Prime oxtail stewed ala Little Italy style in Red Wine sauce, served with rice or mashed potatoes.