By Elle Faraday
In the last two weeks we have reviewed two local Italian
restaurants. Both offered their own unique delights and catered to different
markets. One focused on the top end of the market and the other one was suited
to those on a budget.
Stefan Frenzel, Executive Chef, Amari Rincome Hotel
teaching the finer points of Italian Cooking to Muanfan Harris and Elle Faraday
of the Chiangmai Mail.
This week, the Italian dining experience culminates in a
visit to the crème de la crème of Italian Restaurants, the La Gritta restaurant
located in the Amari Rincome Hotel.
Situated next to the stunning swimming pool and gardens, La Gritta offers its
guests a wide variety of Italian cuisine as well as samples of other European
delicacies. Executive chef Stefan Frenzel and his team are dedicated to creating
the ultimate dining experience. Stefan is constantly improving the menu to suit
his customers’ needs and can be seen every night talking to his guests. He feels
that along with the quality of the food, this is what attracts people to his
restaurant and puts it on a pedestal. Stefan is happy to listen and take
suggestions from his guests—if they ask for something extra to be added to the
menu then he may go away and prepare it especially for them.
We were lucky enough to be able to sample some of the Stefan’s special delights
including divine braised veal shanks with risotto rice; an assortment of
Antipasti (Parma ham, mozzarella cheese and home-baked bread) and a couple of
delicious pasta dishes.
The veal shank looked mouth watering and tasted even better. It literally melted
in your mouth. The rice, although simple, was a perfect side dish and
complemented every mouthful of veal. The Parma ham was delightful and I savoured
every mouthful as it’s been a long time since I enjoyed a slice of the premium
European ham. The bread was superb, and unlike any other I have tasted since
being in Thailand. Its unique home-made taste and texture will leave you craving
While I was relishing these delights however, I was missing out on the pasta
dishes that had been ordered. The Thai Penne Primavera is a pasta dish with a
twist. It is cooked in red curry along with coconut milk, garlic and assorted
vegetables – a perfect fusion of east meets west. The Ravioli as Radicchio is
simply divine. The little pockets of cheese filled pasta are served in a
delicious creamy yet peppery sauce with tempting little slivers of smoked
Despite the luxurious surroundings and excellent food, prices at the restaurant
are extremely reasonable. Pasta dishes are available for as little as 380 baht,
which includes a glass of wine. The most expensive pasta dish is 440 baht which
again comes with a glass of wine.
Every month guests will find an offering of specialities from around the world.
A special A-La Carte menu is prepared which allows the guest a choice of cuisine
in addition to the Italian menu. This month features Spanish specialities
whereas last month it was French dishes and before that food from California.
As a special treat, La Gritta is opening its doors to host a series of high
quality cooking classes starting today. Food enthusiasts will be taught by
Stefan himself and will learn how to cook many of the dishes on the menu as well
as some secrets of the trade. It is a first for Chiang Mai as nowhere else
offers European-style cookery schools. Stefan aims to teach his classes how to
cook the dishes in their own home without the need for complicated and often
expensive equipment. For example, you will be shown how to make bread with just
your hands and an oven—no machines.
Once the cooking class is complete, everyone can sit down and enjoy their food
in the luxury of La Gritta’s dining room. Wine tasting is also included so it is
a good idea to leave the car at home and make a night of it! The thought behind
the cooking class is to show that top class food can be easily and economically
prepared and enjoyed.
I found the food and wine to be exquisite, the restaurant delightful and
Stefan’s ideas and views extremely refreshing. I will certainly be joining
Stefan to learn about the intricacies of Italian cooking although I can’t say
that I will ever perfect them like he has done!