DINING OUT - ENTERTAINMENT

Giorgio Italian Restaurant

Real Italian food from a real Italian

The sign outside Giorgio’s says “Ristorante Italiano” and “Pizza”. After spending an evening at Giorgio’s this has to be the most understated signage anywhere. Read on.

You are met at the door by two large (wooden) cats, the significance of which is known to those who are aware of the history of Vicenza, Giorgio’s home town. However, let me assure you there is no ‘cat’ on the menu! However, you do have a proud Vicenzan everywhere in the restaurant.

Inside the restaurant is bright and airy in feel, almost a ‘Mediterranean’ ambience. Pale yellow walls, warm wood ceilings, bright yellow tablecloths and napkins and Italian scenic paintings on the walls. On the table are dispensers for the olive oil and Balsamico, plus a pepper grinder and Peperoncino flakes in addition to the usual condiments. Even the cutlery is Italian! The staff are also everywhere, and happy and attentive, all adding to the pleasant atmosphere.

The menu is as thoroughly Italian as Giorgio himself, but has more languages! Each item is given in Italian, then English, Thai and Japanese. It begins with the house wines, Italian obviously, with a litre of red or white for B. 600, while local beers are B. 65-70 for small bottles.

Antipasti range in price between a baked zucchini, aubergine and tomato stuffed with ham and cheese at B. 170 through to a breaded seafood baked in garlic, parsley and olive oil at the top end for B. 290. Salads are next, B. 50-110 and then soups around B. 100 including an Italian Minestrone.

Five full pages of pastas follow, generally in the B. 130-220 range, covering spaghetti, macaroni, penne, fettuccine, gnocchi, fusilli, ravioli and lasagne. The sauces and accompaniments range from traditional basil pesto, Bolognese, Venetian radicchio, shrimps and fresh tomato through many other mouth-watering choices.

Two pages of Meat (Carne) dishes are up next ranging in price from B. 180 (chicken in white wine sauce, grilled pork chop) through beef steak at B. 390 up to a T-bone at B. 460. Some vegetable dishes are next (B. 60-80) with capsicums, tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms all featuring. They are followed by four fish items at B. 220-270 with trout, salmon and sole on offer.

Sixteen pizza choices are next, B. 150-220 ranging from the traditional Margarita to a mixed seafood, Giorgio style. Finally there are desserts and coffee and after dinner liqueurs. Italian as well.

We were a Dining Out Team of five for the occasion and we asked to be guided by Giorgio himself, as who knows his food better than the restaurant owner? He suggested some eggplant and zucchini starters which were very flavoursome, stuffed with ham and cheese and certainly had us looking forward to the next course. This was a mini-macaroni and shrimp with a white asparagus sauce made from the Royal Project produce. The shrimps were full-bodied and soft and the sauce was sensational. This was followed by a spaghetti seafood which had clams, squid and prawns all through it. This was notable in the fact that it retained the ‘seafood’ taste and was not overwhelmed by the sauce.

By now we were totally won over by Giorgio and the pizza offering that came next was the best pizza I have ever had. Salmon on traditional thin crispy pizza base, beautifully presented and sorry, there was no photograph taken - we ate it too quickly, it looked just so inviting! For me, this was the dish of the night, none of the soggy, cloying nature of the pizzas one so often gets given - and you could taste the salmon too.

Certainly there were more dishes including a crab (for me always too much work for too little return, even though Giorgio supplies natty crab crackers), all of which were excellent - but oh, that salmon pizza!

We finished our Italian evening with some Limoncello, which has to be the best way of refreshing one’s palate afterwards.

This was a superb evening, with superb food. Very highly recommended. Go there!

Giorgio Italian Restaurant, 2/6 Prachasamphan Road, Changklan Muang, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 818 236, 06 185 6327. Hours 11.30-2.30 lunch and 6-10.30 dinner.