By all reports, Italian food is the most popular cuisine in the world, and I have had some wonderful Italian meals where the chef/owner has joined us at the table and the gourmand has taken over from the gourmet!
The newest Italian restaurant in town is La Bruschetta on Second Road around 50 meters before Royal Garden Plaza. It would be difficult to miss it with the umbrellas outside and illuminated signage and the Italian flag. Make no mistakes about this, La Bruschetta is seriously Italian, with an Italian restaurateur owner (Riccardo Neri of Valentino’s restaurant) and an Italian chef. And by the way, it is pronounced ‘brusketta’.
The restaurant had only been open for two weeks when we descended to do this review, but having experienced meals in Valentino’s many times, we were sure there would be no nasty surprises!
La Bruschetta is in a single shophouse with two storeys. There are two tables outside under the umbrellas (a great place to watch the tourists walk by), four inside (aircon) and another six tables upstairs. With red check tablecloths, service staff in red and black and the chef in white with a black striped toque, it gives a very clean and fresh appearance.
At the front there is also a large barrel dispenser for the house wines. We tried both, and though I personally found the white (a Trebbiano) a tad sweet, the red was most palatable, and at B. 90 per glass, or B. 290 for half a liter made for very cheap quaffing.
The menu also offers five white wines (B. 990-2,400) and 13 reds (B. 900-1,800) and includes a Barbera D’asti Piedmonte and a Valpolicella Ripasso/Veneto. Also very naturally, all the wines come from Italy! Is there another wine producing country? Riccardo doesn’t know of any!
For those who are not conversant with Italian cuisine, ‘bruschettas’ may be considered the Italian counterpart of Spanish tapas (or vice versa)! Small bite-sized snacks designed to stimulate the appetite, which are made on bread and topped with items such as tomato, garlic and basil (the ‘Classica’) or Mortadella ham (the Contadina). There are eight of these starters on the menu at B. 60 each and they come served on special wooden plates carrying three different types.
Next are the Crescioni (B. 160-190) a type of Italian wrap sandwich and the four pizzas (B. 90-160) on offer are the classical Margherita, a mushroom, a meat and a combination.
Seven Piadine “sandwiches” (B. 180-240) including ham, salami and roast pork are followed by four salads and eight pastas (B. 140-220) with a choice of four sauces.
Meat dishes include steak, pork and chicken (B. 240-320) followed by some deep-fried items and desserts.
The menu finishes with drinks, local beers (B. 60-90) and softs and wines.
The food is home-style and cooked on the premises, and that includes the different breads. All prices include VAT and service, so no nasty shocks there either.
We began with the Bruschetta, with my favorite being the classical tomato, but I have yet to learn how to keep the chopped tomato on the bread and not on my shirt!
We also tried the Piadine Romagnole, which is similar to a pizza bread sandwich and the Prosciutto Rucole e Squaccheroni (Parma ham, rocket lettuce and cream cheese) and this was almost a meal in itself.
This was followed by a plate of the Penne pasta Amatriciana, which was really too much by that stage. We struggled and failed (but did take what was left home in a doggy bag – far too good to waste)!
We had two children with us and a Tiramisu and a Panna Cotta were in order with both receiving top marks from the junior taste team.
Riccardo offered me a coffee and the traditional espresso was a good way to finish what had been a pleasant Italian culinary excursion.
La Bruschetta is a new addition to the many different ‘ethnic’ restaurants in Pattaya. If you enjoy Italian food, you will enjoy La Bruschetta. Do go and try it.
La Bruschetta, 50 meters before the Royal Garden Plaza on Second Road, open seven days, hours 5 p.m. until 1 a.m., on-street parking, telephone Riccardo 086 107 0322.