Sunday, February 15, 2009

Felice Trattoria Italian Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand

The many forms that Italian cooking can take are one reason that makes it one of the most popular cuisines worldwide. There's always variety in an Italian restaurant and that variety can take many forms. It can be a variety of different regional cuisines from the many provinces of Italy, which all possess their own specialties and methods of preparation. It can be the different ingredients that are used. And it can also come from the differences in older, classical Italian cooking and more modern, updated versions of the same food.

Such is the case with Felice Trattoria at the Felix-Arnoma Hotel in Bangkok. The trattoria name would usually indicate that the food served inside was of a basic, everyday type that most people would eat on a regular basis, sort of an upgraded Italian diner.

The food and furnishings found at Felice Trattoria are a bit different from fhe typical trattoria, however. Chef Giovanni Chessoni, originally from Sicily, has assembled a menu that bears only some resemblance to most trattoria food. The positive aspect to this is that the food happens to be good. Some things better than others ascend to the rating of excellent, but overall the quality is very high.

On two different visits, a number of items were sampled and all were marked by an inventiveness and presentation that was very modern and even innovative. It was, curiously enough, the appetizers that held our attention the most, and future visits would include sampling as many more of them as possible. The first visit included trying the asparagi arlecchino which consisted of gratinated asparagus spears topped with a light cream sauce and smoked salmon. It looked delicious on the menu and was in actual fact. the cheese didn't overpower the asparagus, a common mistake, and the sauce didn't overpower either.

Another must-try on the appetizer list was the fried calamari. The calamari itself was tender and not rubbery, the sign of freshness, but the coating was not as crisp as preferred. However, the chili mayonnaise made up for any other short-comings by being absolutely perfect -- just spicy enough and very tasty.

The third appetizer tried was the tonnino al rafano, marinated tuna fish with horseradish sauce and that also proved to be a winner, with the horseradish adding a powerful accompaniment to the marinade. Other selections that went untried included sauteed fresh clams in olive oil and prawns in paprika and asparagus vinaigrette.

The leek and potato soup that came next was a refreshing interlude before tackling the main courses, the favorite of which was the deep fried soft shelled crabs. They were tender and sweet and cooked to perfection in a crayfish butter sauce.

The other entrees included an assortment of grilled seafood served with alight balsamic sauce and sauteed tiger prawns in a creamy sambuca sauce with garlic and assorted herbs. Bith were good, solid dishes that were very nicely presented.

Dessert was impossible to include either visit so no comment can be made but considering the quality of the rest of the menu, it is probably worth exploring.

Presenting an interesting look at modern Italian cuisine is another form that successful Italian cooking can take and it works at Felice Trattoria.

See for info on Bangkok restaurants.


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