Exotic beaches, Buddhist temples, a nonstop party on the cheap; these are the things that are synonymous with Bangkok. However, Italian culture is making an impact on the Thai food scene, and these restaurants are the best of the best.
Angelini Restaurant is located on the bay of the Chao Phraya River at the world-renowned Shangri La Hotel. It has also been voted the best Italian restaurant by Bangkok Best Dining and Entertainment magazine for 13 years in a row! Chef Omar Ugoletti’s take on signature Italian dishes whips the taste buds into a frenzy. Traditional antipasti like parma ham and melon and bruschetta (or the bruschetta with goose liver and black truffle) are coupled with entrées like risotto with spinach and pan-fried goose liver, or rolled pork slow-cooked for 16 hours and served with red cabbage, caramelized shallots and roasted potatoes. And for someone who really misses the Italian countryside, the black squid ink risotto and green peas are to die for. It’s all very,very tasty indeed.
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Dining Hall at the Medici | Courtesy of Medici Kitchen and Bar
Evoking the name of the famed Italian royal family from the Renaissance and housed in a rustic yet industrial space suggestive of a dark, punky sort of Phantom of the Opera, Medici Kitchen and Bar has a gothic ambiance. This fits perfectly with the spectacular Tuscan food offered. At the Medici, expect only the freshest ingredients and adherence to traditional Italian recipes. There are no tricks or frills here, just good quality dishes, spanning the spectrum from pastas and fish dishes, to simple grilled meats with impeccably chosen sides.
Elegant. Cool. Hip. Tuscan. Former head chef of the Medici, Francesco Lenzi, started this restaurant after leaving the aforementioned restaurant. The decor is similar to Medici in that it is modern yet dark, and littered with contemporary art. Lenzi has a great wine cellar replete with the obligatory inexhaustible list of Tuscan wines too. Try the cold cuts that are imported from his uncle’s butchers’ shop in Italy, or opt for the black mussels in white wine sauce and lemon reduction, fatbacks with rock salts and herbs, or any other of the fine European classics.
A wood-fire oven makes all the difference in Italian food, and that really shows at Brio in the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa. The restaurant has views of the waters of Bangkok in a posh resort setting, along with with a creamy burrata from Italy and a selection of Italian wines adorning the menu. There’s really nothing like this one when it comes to authenticity.
Opened in October 2014, Avanti has been steadily making headway in the restaurant scene of Bangkok. Several media outlets have recommended the risotto sausage and pan-seared yellow fin tuna, and for good reason. The pastas are traditional and rustic and mimic well the flavors of Italy. The food, coupled with its semi-hidden location in the Financial District, makes this one feel like an intimate and homey place to eat.
Sensi takes the view that all five senses are needed to truly appreciate a meal. From presentation to taste to olfactory attack, Sensi doesn’t apologize for the way they approach cuisine. It takes traditional dishes and adds a gastronomic twist, like a traditional homemade gnocchi in a gorgonzola, green apple rocket and red wine sauce. What’s more, the edgy, art-deco setting makes the ambiance perfect for a multi-course meal that has conflicting yet somehow perfectly aligned flavors.
There’s nothing subtle about the dishes at Bacco Osteria – and that’s a good thing. Flavorful pastas in rich sauces are the staple of the menu (try anything loaded with squid ink for a real treat). The enormous pizza options are also something to look out for. With so many options, it’s a miracle that anyone can choose, especially when the bread is so good, the pizza dough perfect and the penne dead on al dente.
A go-to establishment since 1996, Gianni Ristorante, or simply “Gianni’s”, has the feel of a family restaurant operating on a much larger scale. The titular Gianni is always smiling and splits time as maître d’, chef and server, seemingly transitioning from one role to the next as if he’s the only one working at the restaurant (he’s not). The menu maintains fixtures of authentic Italian dishes, like homemade pastas in lamb ragu, along with some truly excellent red and white wine options directly from The Boot.