When you first walk into Buonissimo, you may be unsure of
where you are, and what you are standing in. It is, at first glance, a
delicatessen. Refrigerated glass cabinets with cheeses and meat abound. However,
you could be in a wine bottle shop, as there are racks of wines for perusal and
sale. Then again, you could be in a restaurant, as there are a few tables and
chairs set up restaurant style.
answer to this conundrum is a passionate Italian called Sergio, who has been
running his food and wine business for many years. He also had a restaurant, and
only recently decided to bring them all under one roof on the Chiangmai-Prao
Road. However, he really couldn’t get them all under one roof, so there is
also a piazza and garden restaurant alongside. Confused? Don’t be. Sergio will
explain it all, complete with that unmistakable Italian ‘English’ and much
waving of the arms. Sergio is Italian!
After a tour of the premises, including the temperature
controlled wine cellar, we chose the homely dining area upstairs. Comfy, nice
tablecloths and cutlery, and attentive service. We felt immediately ‘at home’.
The menu is Italian, with 213 Italian choices. That should
cover everyone’s tastes. The menu also covers everyone’s pockets, with many
dishes being extremely inexpensive. It is also in Italian (naturally) and
English and in Thai.
It begins with antipasti with a garlic pizza at the low end
(B. 59), going on up to the classic Parma ham and melon at B. 269, but with the
bulk of the items under B. 150, even including smoked salmon.
Around 30 pasta items are up next, spanning two and a half
pages, covering spaghetti, penne or fettuccine, with around half of the items
under B. 100, including the carbonara of eggs, bacon, cream and cheese, with the
rest of the choices generally under B. 150.
dishes come in at between B. 160-220, and the following soup choices between B.
55-99, with a spinach and mushroom soup catching my eye at B. 59. The salads (B.
60-159) have every word ending in ‘o’ that you could ever want - tomato,
tonno, pomodoro, parmiggiano, oregano, pecorino Romano and even a formaggio
(wasn’t he married to Marilyn Monroe?).
Ten fish choices are up next (B. 150-240) including a
cannelloni stuffed with shrimps and spinach at B. 220. A similar number of meat
choices follow, ranging from a roast pork with vegetables at B. 110, through
many others up to an osso buco con piselli which features New Zealand beef and
is then a little more highly priced at B. 360.
Finally there are the pizzas! (Could you imagine an Italian
restaurant without pizza?) These range from B. 79 for the classic margherita
through to B. 160 for the most expensive.
Finish with the desserts and sorbets and beverages including
house red, white or rose at B. 65 per glass. You can also choose your own wine
from the wine cellar and they will only add 10 percent on top of the shop price.
Sergio gave us many choices to try (too many, Sergio, I was
full to overflowing) beginning with antipasti, and I found the deep fried
mozzarella just delicious. We also tried the vegetarian pasta, which benefited
from a liberal dose of the grated parmesan, presented in its own wooden topped
Pizza? Yes, we had a pizza, all thin and crispy in the
correct Italian manner, and yes, I’ll have another next time too! Brilliant!
We also tried the inexpensive roast pork, which was sensationally good, and the
osso buco just fell apart, it was so tender.
Finally, we pigged out on lemon sorbet and grappa! A
memorable evening, thank you Sergio.
Summing up, Buonissimo is Italian, run by an Italian and
serves very good Italian food. Buonissimo in Italian means very good. Is it?
Yes, Buonissimo is actually very, very good. Well worth a visit and won’t
destroy your wallet. Highly recommended.
Buonissimo, La Trattoria del Sergio, 111/5 Moo 3, Chiangmai-Prao Road, Faham
Muang, Chiang Mai, telephone 053 853 098-9, fax 053 849 744, email buonissimo
[email protected], website www.buonissimo.co.th