Ticino (pronounced “Tichino”), is one of the most faithful European restaurants in Pattaya, right from its collection of Vespas at the door, to its Swiss management by Peter Faessler.  Peter comes from the Ticino canton, the Italian speaking one, with lots of Italian influences, which becomes apparent when you read the menu.

For many people, this restaurant has remained ‘below the radar’ despite having opened in October 2005, but by being a little way out in East Pattaya (AKA the ‘dark side’) gets overlooked.  We believe, however, in ‘real’ terms it is probably only 20 minutes from central downtown Pattaya.

It is a garden restaurant, built on the site of an old mango plantation.  In the grounds are the individual tables and chairs, set in your own bushy ‘alcoves’.  The restaurant can seat 68, with another 12 at the Vespa bar.  On the table is a can of mosquito repellant, but we honestly were not troubled by the little blighters on the evening we reviewed Ticino!

Perusing the wine list, there are four house wines (B. 140-180 per glass) and many excellent bottle choices, and inexpensive at that.  Whites are around B. 1250 and reds range between B. 980-2490.  Robert Parker scores are shown if the wine has been reviewed by the eminent wine judge.  We chose the Montepulciano Casale Vecchio DOC Ambruzzo, and at B. 1190 was great drinking.

The menu is simple and the dishes well explained.  The cuisine is certainly European, though there is a page of Thai favorites (B. 190-280).

The salads, and there are eight of them, range between B. 130-280 with a traditional Waldorf at the top end.  Seven soups, with almost all at B. 110, including a French onion.

For those people who like cold cuts, there were several choices here as well (B. 320-390) and then you are into the main dishes.  These are in sections – beef, lamb (Australian), pork, veal (Australian again), then fish, rabbit and poultry.

But it does not end there, next up is the Swiss Raclette cheese with pickle and baby potatoes (B. 350), then more cheese choices with a Swiss cheese slice (wine-soaked bread, cheese, ham and a fried egg) at B. 320; plus a cheese pasta and a cheese plate.  The Swiss are rather proud of their cheeses!

There are several pasta choices (B. 200-300), then ravioli and risotti, and then pizzas (B. 210-300) including an Isaan pizza with garlic and chilli.  Desserts are plentiful, and the one that caught my eye was the Lemoncello with lemon sherbet with Limoncino at B. 150.

We began with the Chantarelle soup for Madame, and the French onion for me.  Your dish is brought to the table, and then the soup stock is poured into the dish, ensuring that the soup is hot when you get it.  A nice touch.

For mains, Madame ordered the lamb chops, while I chose the sliced veal tenderloin with rosti potatoes and a mushroom sauce.  Both of us found the dishes excellent.

No dessert, but a Ricard nightcap set the meal off in style.

We really did enjoy the meal and the garden ambience.  The restaurant is very relaxed, and you relax with it.  The service was impeccable, without being overbearing, and the food was excellent.  Owner Peter Faessler has a great feeling for food, wines and their preparation and presentation.  The soup, for example, comes hot to the table and is dispensed in front of you.  Red wines are allowed to breathe after being decanted before being poured.

One very nice touch in the website is recommending another restaurant (Casa Pascal) “as one cannot dine daily at Ticino.”  That, to me, shows confidence in one’s own product.

This is one restaurant to which we can give our wholehearted highest recommendation.  Dining in a relaxed way with good food and wines.  You soon think to yourself, “Why haven’t I been here before?”  I can assure you that you will return.

Ticino, close to Swiss Paradise, telephone 084 676 7376; GPS N 12.9180 E 00.9334, but Ticino also has maps if you want, just go to the website (http://www.ticino.co.th/en/map) and select the most appropriate from your residence; email [email protected]  Open 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. six days (closed Tuesdays).  Off-street car parking.