Don’t even think about trying to find La Ristorante Bella
Italia without this newspaper in your hand. It’s definitely not on the beaten
path. But if you’re willing to go in search of it, you will be rewarded with
delicious pasta at a very reasonable price.
For all the Magellans out there, from the intersection of
Kampaeng Din and Sri Dornchai, proceed south on Kampaeng Din. If you’re going
in the correct direction, you will pass the exit to Suriwong Book Centre’s
parking lot on your right. Turn right at Ragang. There is, of course, no street
sign, but there is a small sign on the post in green, yellow and red advertising
Tony’s Pub. Don’t get confused. Just follow that sign. You will see La
Ristorante Bella Italia at the corner of Ragang Soi 3 on the left side of the
Now that you’ve arrived safely, you have a problem. The
menu is huge, and the choices are many. So order a glass of wine at 70 baht, or
a beer at 50 baht and up, and take your time choosing your dinner. Franco and
Roberto also serve a variety of coffees and soft drinks, starting at 20 baht.
The Dining Out team sampled three pastas and a second course. And, of course, we
sampled two delicious desserts. We did not go away hungry, but we did leave
There are several nice things you should know about La Bella
Italia. First of all, the food is very, very well priced. Pasta dishes begin at
30 baht and meat dishes begin at 60 baht. Which brings me to another nice thing;
most pasta dishes come in two sizes, medium and large. There is also a special
menu section entitled “Traditional Italian Dishes”. These must be ordered
one day in advance, and are made fresh at your request. They are dishes that
require long cooking or preparation time, and may often be prepared and frozen
elsewhere. Franco and Roberto assured us that dinner at Bella Italia would never
include a dish that has been frozen. So order lasagna or osso buco or suppa di
pesce ahead of time and enjoy, enjoy! There are also interesting notations
throughout the menu. “We will be glad to tell you about the ingredients used
and explain the cooking process,” means exactly that. It’s
“transparency” in the business world, but unusual in the competitive world
of restaurants. You can also request your favorite Italian dishes or provide
your favorite Italian recipes, and you are invited to participate in the
development of the wine list.
Plates of spaghetti Bolognese, penne with pesto sauce and
spaghetti with an Italian sausage cream sauce were placed before us. A basket of
assorted bread arrived. The Bolognese sauce was a classic, although far lighter
than many we have tasted with the same name. Flavorful and spiced just right,
there was no discussion. It was simply delicious. The pesto was freshly made
with local basil and garlic ground with pine nuts and olive oil. I know pesto
aficionados who would enjoy this dish daily. It was straightforward and,
although served with pasta the day of our visit, would be excellent on a variety
of dishes. I must confess that I love Italian cream sauces, and the Italian
sausage cream sauce served on homemade spaghetti was a favorite. The sausage is
also homemade, and the spices are a delightful blend. This is a flavorful
sausage but not highly spiced. Our second course was grilled Italian sausage
served with a variety of fresh local vegetables. This was a delightful course,
priced at 65 baht, filling and tasty.
Of course, no Italian meal is complete without panna cotta or
tiramisu and we sampled both. Priced at 50 and 65 baht respectively, they were
delicious and satisfying. La Bella Italia also offers fried ice cream, gelato
fritto, and plain ice cream. Gelato fritto is priced at 30 baht per scoop and
plain gelato is priced at 15 baht per scoop.
We will definitely return to La Ristorante Bella Italia.
Grazie to Franco and Roberto.
La Ristorante Bella Italia, 98/1 Ragang Road, T. Hayya, Muang, Chiang Mai,
50200. Telephone 09-851-7607 or 04-614-2783. Open daily except Sunday. Parking
on the street.