The Dining Out team recently visited an old friend,
Pulcinella da Stefano, one of Chiang Mai’s established Italian restaurants. The
restaurant has been in its present location near Thapae Gate for about 10 years,
and hungry diners are always delighted to discover it. Chef Sebastiano Berardi
joined the restaurant about three years ago. A native of the Lake Como region in
Italy, he brought some of his favorite recipes with him. We were delighted to
meet him and sample his food, and to talk about Italian food in general.
menu is quite large, and several set menu options are offered. These are well
priced at 190 to 370 baht for a dinner that includes appetizer, main course,
dessert and special coffee. We began our meal with a classic bruschetta,
homemade garlic bread served with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Like
many simple dishes, bruschetta depends on excellent ingredients. The most
difficult ingredient to find in Thailand, interestingly, is an intensely
flavored Mediterranean tomato. Chef Berardi bakes his own crusty Italian bread
and makes many of the cheeses that are served in the restaurant. And he has
found good tomatoes. The tomatoes and cheese are served attractively arranged on
the plate with a sprinkling of minced herbs and fresh basil leaves. The bread is
served separately. This appetizer is priced at 50 baht.
We followed the bruschetta with another favorite, carpaccio di tonno, tuna
carpaccio. This is another dish that requires the freshest and finest of
ingredients. Chef Berardi marinates fresh yellow fin tuna in lemon and olive
oil, and then slices it thinly. It is served with finely minced fresh herbs, and
is a truly delicious dish. It is so delicious in fact that Gina and her dinner
partner left not a single scrap on the plate, and unblushingly mopped up every
drop of the fine olive oil with their bread. This dish is priced at 190 baht,
and is highly recommended. The restaurant also offers carpaccio di carne,
imported beef carpaccio, at 190 baht. Other appetizers include focaccia with the
option of several toppings, salad, cheeses, cold cuts and stuffed mushrooms.
Appetizers are priced from 35 to 260 baht.
The pasta menu includes vegetarian, seafood and meat
selections. We chose homemade gnocchi with fresh asparagus served in an
asparagus cream sauce and topped with ricotta cheese. These wonderful little
dumplings are made with a potato base and shaped to hold the sauce, which is
creamy and rich. This dish is also highly recommended. The restaurant offers a
variety of pastas, vegetables and sauces in its vegetarian selections. The
vegetarian lasagna, an old favorite, is unfailingly delicious. An outstanding
meat lasagna is also on the menu, as is spaghetti alla carbonara, spaghetti with
bacon and egg. Pasta dishes with seafood include mixed seafood in tomato sauce
and a variety of other seafood dishes. The pastas at Pulcinella are homemade,
and the taste and texture of each confirms that. Pasta dishes are priced from
The risotto at Pulcinella is creamy and nice, and again both vegetarian and meat
dishes are offered. Prices begin at 150 baht for the vegetarian risotto. Gina’s
personal favorite is the Italian sausage risotto, again a simple dish dependent
on excellent ingredients.
The large menu at Pulcinella includes many meat, seafood and other dishes as
well as pizza. The osso buco at 280 baht is a classic, and like all good osso
bucos, it has a rich and tangy deep flavor. Another interesting dish is the duck
breast with Balsamic vinegar and blueberry sauce that is priced at 240 baht.
Seafood dishes are also varied. The restaurant offers New Zealand mussels in
herb butter at 180 baht, rainbow trout with sage butter at 260 baht and a
variety of other seafood dishes.
We wisely ended our meal with panna cotta, priced at 60 baht for a perfect – and
delicious – serving. The tiramisu at 60 baht is also excellent. Coffees and
teas, fruit drinks, soft drinks, wines, beers and spirits are available.
Pulcinella da Stefano, 2/1-2 Chiang Mai Kao Road, Muang, Chiang Mai 50300,
telephone and fax 053-874-189. Open daily at noon. Paid parking is available at
the nearby Amora Rydges Hotel.