My woes are of a different sort. Throughout my Soi in The Lad Prao area, vendors and noodle shops line the streets. They offer an abundance of Thai delicacies and Thai people would be lost without them. While I have grown to appreciate these culinary delights, I still miss the fantastic Italian food I grew up with. From fresh gravy to homemade pasta, the smells and flavors of the kitchens from my youth were special. Homemade meatballs, cannoli, baked ziti, lasagna, and the list goes on and on. My mother was a fantastic cook, and had to prepare food for six children each day. With five growing boys, her job was never ending.
While exploring Bangkok, I find myself at Little Italy on the corner of Soi 23. As you enter Little Italy, you will find a large inviting venue with ample seating both indoors and out. With its corner location, it has entrances on both Soi 23 and inside the Hotel foyer. Positioned on the lobby level of the Jasmine hotel, it is a very accessible location.
The outdoor patio overlooks Soi 23 and has a relaxing vibe to it. As it was a warm Bangkok night, we decided to dine indoors in the cool air conditioning. After a warm greeting from our server, we decided upon an Antipasto, Soup, and a pizza to get the night started. The Zappa Liguile (340 baht) is a Seafood Soup with an abundance of seafood, carrots, and fennel. Served with mashed potatoes, it is a hearty selection. The Degustazione di Antipasti misti is a wonderful mixture of fresh Italian hams and salamis served with fresh fried vegetables. These salty hams have such a distinct flavor and show the difference between the products found locally and abroad. The Pizza Prosciutto di Parma (360 baht) is one of the prizes of dining at Little Italy. The fantastic pizza choices are one of the signatures here at Little Italy. These freshly made pizza are cooked right before your eyes in the Pizza Kitchen, which overlooks the lobby area. You can watch how your pizza is prepared, and also see it as it comes out of the oven.
Getting bang for your buck.
The main dining room is located far enough away from the pizza area, but close enough to see the action. The main dining area is colorful mix of white linen tables with splashes of red napkins. The staff takes great pride in mixing friendly, courteous service with a quite clean establishment. The floor to ceiling windows bring lots of light and gives its guests the ability to see all that is going on in the Sukhumvit area.
We continued our dining experience with a mixture of entrees for the table. The Ziti in carbonara sauce (280 baht) was rich with flavor. The only thing that could be a negative is that the portions are not overly big. This almost seems like a sampler and I’m waiting for the rest. The Spaghetti with chile and garlic was sautéed in virgin olive oil and really brought the flavor of the chile. I drank about three glasses of water and a loaf of bread while finishing this off.
The Gnocchi di Patate al Gorgonzola was a wonderful mix of gnocchi and cheese. Gnocchi is a potato dumpling that is rolled and pressed by hand. These potato and spinach dumplings served in an Italian cheese sauce with broccoli (315 baht) were once again very enjoyable. While I have no problem paying these prices for quality dishes, some other consumers may find this price too steep. The Risotto del montanero is a fine risotto served with Italian sausage with porcini mushrooms (380 baht). The risotto was homemade and fabulous with fine Italian sausage bursting with flavor. The porcini mushrooms gave the dish the added bite and fused the flavors of the tomato sauce in which it was served.
Having a Pizza after clubbing.
The small wraparound bar is quite cozy for an after dinner drink, or one to start your night off. This full service bar is situated between the main dining room and outdoor deck area. The espresso with sambuca on the side was the perfect complement for the evening. There are a lot of options to choose from on this expansive menu. The wine list also proves to have a lot of choice pairings to make your meal special.
The crowd at Little Italy is mostly Western tourists with some Expats mixed in. The reason is the close proximity to the Jasmine hotel and others in the area. This is an area that is predominately Western, at least in terms of dining. The establishment is rarely packed, and is open almost 24 hours a day. The sign says 24 hours but they are closed around 4am and opening again at 6am. I know that Pizza is a very yummy thing to eat after a night out at the clubs, and this is just a stones throw away from Soi cowboy.
While there are other options, getting a great Little Italy pizza at 3am sounds pretty good. There are a lot of options for Italian dining in and around the Sukhumvit area. Little Italy offers its guests a lot of Italian options to choose from, but is a little high in price for what you get. I think this is why you may not see as many Expats and Thais dining in this location. This does not mean that it’s not delicious because it is. It just means that most people look for value in Bangkok, and this location may be a little heavy on your wallet. If you are interested in great homemade pizza, then Little Italy is the place to go. It is served by the slice for 50 baht, or as a whole pie ranging from 350 baht. As with most restaurant, there are more positives than negatives here.
By Kevin Harrington