After first opening its doors in 1983, this Bangkok stalwart is one of the oldest and best Italian restaurants in the city, if not in all of Thailand. And whilst it may not look the most welcoming of places from the outside, it is certainly comfortable and cozy on the inside and remains as popular as ever amongst its ardent and loyal fan base.

Despite being instantly recognizable by the large theatre style marquee signage outside, it’s the solid range of traditional Tuscan cuisine for which L’Opera is most famous. Over the years the restaurant has become a firm favourite with leading Thai politicians, movie stars and other high profile individuals, as well as with the foreign tourists and Bangkok expats. Of course the loyalty that its customers continue to show L’Opera is built on its reputation for serving really good food. The head chef and owner, Marco Ravasio, is vastly experienced and understands what it takes to keep his customers coming back for more.

L’Opera serves anyone’s needs from lunch to dinnertime.

Located on Sukhumvit Soi 39, L’Opera is also a popular haunt with the lunchtime crowd mainly because of its reasonably priced appetizer buffet and main course deal, which is available on weekdays from 11.30am to 2pm and costs 340 Baht. This includes a choice of different salads, grilled vegetables, cold cuts of salami, Parma ham and mortadella, along with a mains of freshly made pasta or pizza, before finishing off with a traditional Italian coffee.

Come the evening time, L’Opera is popular with just about everyone from in the know foodies to couples in love and casual diners. The restaurant’s large and extensive menu includes a number of what have become some of its signature dishes such as Messicani Saporiti Al Prosciutto – fillet of pork stuffed with fontina cheese and ham, seared in white and sage or the Bistecca Di Manzo Alla Griglia – thinly cut slices of beef served with marinated grilled vegetables.

L’Opera is also well known for its extensive wine list, which includes more than 400 Italian wines, which are generally available to suite most price ranges. There is also a pretty good selection of house wines, which are available by the glass or in carafes.

And if you’ve still got room, the deserts are every bit as impressive as the wine, with the poached pears and chocolate mousse being particularly popular.

Life isn’t complete without trying one of L’Opera’s amazing pizza’s.

As well as its restaurant, L’Opera is also famous for its pizzeria that serves up delicious wood fire oven pizzas that with a bit of imagination could all but transport you some back street Tuscan bistro. Pizza can be ordered to take away, as can a range of salads, pastas, olives, cheese and cold meats from the delicatessen next door, which also includes the Opera Reserva Winebar, for those wanting to just drink and snack.

Due to its popularity, if you are planning on eating at L’Opera it is always advisable to make a reservation, especially at the weekends, in order to avoid disappointment.

Open daily from 11am to 2pm and 6pm to 11pm, L’Opera can be easily reached by taking a taxi from the nearby Phrom Phong BTS station.

By Jonathan Fairfield