Joe Parlatti has been an important feature of Pattaya dining having been on Walking Street for over 20 years. He has remained the same enthusiastic restaurateur all that time, though he has put on a bit of weight!
His origins are Verona, an area of which Joe is very proud. You will not leave without Joe reminding you that Romeo and Juliet came from there!
The current address for Joe’s restaurant is on Walking Street on the ocean side, after the big tree, and almost opposite the Hot Tuna Bar. It is about 200 meters before Bali Hai pier.
The cheese antipasto was definitely Miss Terry’s pick of the night. Superb!
The venue has been enlarged by Joe over the years, but you still enter down a narrow corridor flanked by the pasta cooks making the items fresh before your eyes. You then enter the air-conditioned main dining area, complete with pictures of Verona on the walls. Go through this and you are on the deck over the water, but covered above, and cooled by the sea breezes. You can look across Pattaya Bay towards Bali Hai. For us, this is our favorite section, and even with the current temperatures it was just pleasantly warm.
The restaurant reflects Joe Parlati himself, and has a very friendly ambience. The staff cannot be more attentive, and even before you have had the first sip of wine (Italian of course) you have begun to relax.
Seated on the deck over the water, cooled by the sea breezes, you can look across Pattaya Bay towards Bali Hai.
There is a comprehensive menu, and open it and peruse, but our advice is not to order from the menu, but to ask Joe what his recommendations are for the evening! “You wanna fish? Or you wanna meat?” is the usual response. Joe will then suggest something and you know that what you are going to get will be specially cooked just for you!
In traditional fashion we began with an antipasto, but rather than the usual cold cuts of different hams, Joe suggested he make one with different types of cheese. “Why not?” was my reply.
Planeto Merlot 2003, which was an excellent wine and at 15 percent, potent as well, was decanted in front of us.
It came on a large platter, with the first cheese item being a Tomino cheese over warm spinach cooked with parmesan. What a taste sensation! The second cheese on the platter was a warm Strachino cheese with a balsamico dressing, very smooth and easy on the palate. The third cheese was a Ricotta cheese almost fluffy portions with sweet mustard filling. Again a very different Italian style. “An old recipe,” said The Don.
In the meantime, Joe had selected a Sicilian wine, a Planeto Merlot 2003, which was an excellent wine and at 15 percent, potent as well. It was decanted in front of us. Smooth with a delicate finish, I could have happily stayed there and drank many bottles all night.
Our second course was a very interesting salmon dish with penne pasta and warm salmon flamed in vodka, then all topped with smoked salmon. Again, all the delicate tastes of the salmon, but rather filling with the penne (but that never stops Joe).
We were then informed that we had to leave some room for the main course, which was a steak in Gorgonzola cheese sauce with chanterelle mushrooms. And what an explosion of tastes in this dish! Where the antipasto and the pasta were smooth and delicate, Gorgonzola is a direct assault on the taste buds, and a spectacular main dish. Definitely my pick of the night. Superb!
However, despite our entreaties, The Don was not finished with us yet. A lemon cheesecake with two glasses of grappa (Limoncello) arrived at the table. Excellent desserts, which I then followed with a cappuccino, as the very final taste for the evening. Thank you Joe, as always.
It was another great Italian night, being looked after by Joe Parlati, the Don himself. He always does make you an offer you can’t refuse (like the grappa and cheesecake to finish). Highly recommended, as always.
After our dinner we wandered across the street to the Hot Tuna bar for a nightcap of rock and roll before heading home. A perfect evening.
Don Joe, Ristorante Italiano, 112/2 Moo 10, Walking Street, South Pattaya, telephone 038 710 733, open 4 p.m. until midnight (last orders 11 p.m. as Joe won’t be hurried).