La Bocca

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2510
A four cheese pizza with extra salami.
A four cheese pizza with extra salami.

A genuine Italian restaurant & Pizzeria

There are ‘ethnic’ restaurants catering for just about every world cuisine in Pattaya, but most lose their nationality after a couple of years. One which has not, is La Bocca, an authentic Italian restaurant run by Stefano, a restaurateur who catches his own fish, so you know the fish are fresh. Of course, sometimes there’s no fish, so ask.

The ambience at La Bocca is completely Italian. All it needs is the Trevi Fountain (built in 1629) and an Italian tenor and you have the entire Italian package.

In a back corner of the restaurant nestles the wood-fired pizza oven, complete with its dedicated pizzaiolo (the man who makes pizzas). With a range of 12 pizzas and a steady flow of pizza enthusiasts he works hard.

La Bocca (the mouth) also has a mezzanine floor for when the High Season returns. Along one wall is the wine cellar, and surprise surprise, the wines are Italian, or at least 99 percent of them. Stefano does allow some Australian wines to be used as ‘house wines’. We chose the archetypal Italian wine – a Chianti, which after 10 minutes breathing time was a very pleasant drop. If you are looking for the house wine, it is B. 125 glass, 330 half liter, 630 one liter. Cheap guzzling.

As well as the air-con restaurant indoors, there is a small al fresco area outside for the dedicated fumatori di sigarette.

So how do you find La Bocca? Turn right at the Vatican and follow the signs? The shorter way is to come down Thappraya Road, through the traffic lights at the Thepprasit T junction and down to the bottom and La Bocca is on your left. A very well known marker there is known as Hanuman (the magic monkey), but this is actually incorrect. The statue is of Machanu (the son of a mermaid princess) recognizable by the fish tail.

The menu is in Italian, English and Russian. Try with the Italian description first. A fine example is “Orecchiette al sugo di salsiccia e scamorza affumicata servito in crosta di pan pizza.” In English, “Small pasta ‘ears’ with a homemade sausage and smoked sauce, Scarmoza cheese, enclosed in pizza crust – “Pastura”, pasta baked with Italian sausage and cheese sauce face with pizza dough.”

The hard working pizzaiolo.
The hard working pizzaiolo.

Having cut your teeth on that one, try “Gran grigliata mista (min 2 persone) controfiletto, carra di maiale, salsicce e pollo.” Or in English, “Grand mixed grill (2 persons) ribeye, pork ribs, sausages and chicken – large set of grilled specialties. Suffice to say the majority items on the menu are truly Italian. However there are other Euro items as well as a couple of pages of Thai favorites. There are also dedicated vegetarian dishes as well.

The menu is large, and you are guaranteed to find something to your liking. There is also a large menu blackboard.

The lovely waitress Kanista.
The lovely waitress Kanista.

Some of the items include cordon blue ham, cheese and truffle cream at B. 450 and pasta saffron shrimp and zucchini B. 410. The majority of dishes are around B. 400.

We began with a large plate of Parma ham and buffalo mozzarella, which was almost a meal in itself, then moved to a pizza with extra salami, and it was, and it was excellent as well. The pizza is made as you watch and was one of the best around town.

Junior taster number 1 then went for the pasta, a very full plate, while taster number 2 gave up at that point, just too full, but not so full that a dessert was out of the question.

A dessert to die for.
A dessert to die for.

There is no doubt in our minds that La Bocca is presenting genuine Italian fare in a genuine Italian restaurant. If there is fish on the evening of your visit, it is fresh out of Stefano’s boat. We loved the Italian experience. Highly recommended. Do go. (Stefano should have three Mini’s parked outside, red, white and blue, from the great movie, the Italian Job.)

La Bocca, 315/172 Thappraya Road, Jomtien Beach, Pattaya 20150, telephone 038 303 530, street-side parking, open 12 noon until 11.30 p.m.