Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. In Naklua, there is a very popular Italian restaurant in the front of the Woodlands Suites, known as the Grappa Ristorante Italiano and Wine Bar, and as it has been some time since we did our last review, we thought it was about time to revisit.
The restaurant is in Soi 22 off the Pattaya Naklua Road, which is about 50 meters past the Dolphin roundabout on the left and before the Woodlands Resort. A very quiet soi, we had no problems finding a shady place to park outside, though there is undercover parking beneath the Woodlands Suites.
The restaurant features much use of natural products with wood panelling, tables and chairs and is totally glassed in, making it very airy during the day. In the middle is a temperature controlled wine cellar, and along one wall near the front of the restaurant is a glassed-in and spotless kitchen. The staff is also immaculately turned out, with table service personnel in uniform white shirts with black pants. Good quality table runners and napkins, though the stainless steel forks which turn upside down in your hands are still there. A minor complaint, but never the less, annoying.
After being seated, the staff brought the cocktails and pre-dinner drinks menu for us. With a large Russian component in the tourists in Naklua, it was then no surprise that Grappa was offering 15 different vodkas. Aperitifs, including both Pernod and Ricard were B. 160. Cocktails were all B. 190 and included Brazilian Caipirinha and Cuban Mojito. Being partial to both, I stuck with one of each for the evening, whilst Madame went for the house white (B. 200 per glass).
There are many choices in the wine list, with most between B. 1,200-2,000 and includes both new world and old world labels. Good quaffing at very reasonable prices.
On to the main menu. Antipasti were B. 150-360 with the Doppio Antipasto Misto alla Grappa at the top end, but this is a dish for two people. Again, nothing designed to break the budget.
Soups (B. 180-220) including the traditional minestrone and a mussel soup were followed by a choice of different risottos (B. 220-350) and then 10 more pastas, with the menu going pictorial at that point, plus a choice of nine sauces. I am a great believer in illustrated menus as they give the diner the opportunity to see what is on offer.
Next up are the pizzas (B. 240-350) for large size, but smaller pizzas are also available. Finally there are some main courses (B. 310-780) with an imported beef tenderloin from Australia at the top end of that group.
As an appetizer we ordered some pizza bread and Parma ham, and it certainly did whet the taste buds. After that we began the review proper and we both began with a soup, minestrone for me and a mussel soup for Madame. Both were very satisfactory, served in modern-style deeply dished soup bowls.
We then went into the main courses, with Madame seduced by snowfish which was presented with a deep-fried ‘sculpture’, while I was attracted to the quattro formaggi pizza – which has mozzarella, gorgonzola, ricotta and taleggio.
Madame was delighted by the snow fish, though rather at a loss at what to do with her tempura statue. For me, the pizza which I ordered as a ‘small’ came much larger than I expected. So much so that I actually questioned the service staff to make sure I was not given a ‘large’ in error, but no, I was assured it was the small portion.
Grappa Ristorante Italiano and Wine Bar is another of the upmarket restaurants of which Pattaya can be proud. It is not one of the most expensive eateries, even though the décor and environment would make you think that way. For a dining out, it is certainly a choice worth considering.
Grappa Ristorante Italiano and Wine Bar, Soi Naklua 22 (in front of the Woodlands Suites), open 6.30 a.m. till 10.30 a.m. for breakfasts and after that a la carte until midnight. Telephone 038 052 299, www.woodlandssuites.com. Secure parking underneath.