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Small in size, but large in charm and heart, Enoteca Italiana is tucked in a small soi leading off Sukhumvit Soi 31 (just follow the signs). Blessed with a warm and cosy feel rarely found in Bangkok, it is an ideal place for those who want to enjoy Italian food of signal quality in relaxed and unpretentious surroundings.

The dining room has brick walls lined with used wine bottles and large windows overlooking an attractive garden. Opera music usuallyEnoteca Antipasti Table plays softly in the background and a leg of Parma ham invariably sits on a counter waiting to be thinly sliced. To one side there is a narrow controlled-temperature room with bottles of Italian wine nestled on wooden wine racks. The effect is peaceful and quintessentially Italian.

Although several factors contribute to Enoteca’s success, probably the most important is the genuine warmth produced by the owner and his sommelier son, Nicola Bonazza. Walk into Enoteca and Nic will invariably greet you at the door. This is a restaurant where everyone always seems to be in a good mood; an important factor for those looking for a respite from Bangkok’s corporate wars or the hassles of shopping.

Enoteca recently appointed a new chef. Chef Stefano comes from LeCalandre Restaurant, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Italy. The new chef has introduced new items to the menu and the changes look exciting.

Open only for dinner, Enoteca’s menu so it is a good idea to ask Nic what he recommends. He will happily make suggestions, but won’t be insulted if you make your own selections. Nic takes his work as sommelier seriously and will make recommendations to match both your pocketbook and the food you have selected. With about 250 wines in their cellar, Enoteca has one of the finest selections of Italian wine in the city.

Although Enoteca’s menu is relatively short and changes frequently, several of the restaurant’s creations have become favourites with regular customers. Many love to start their dining experience with a platter described as a “grand mix of Parma ham, salami, cheeses, and vegetable grilled and in oil. At B990, it isn’t cheap, but it is almost a meal in itself and a great choice for those who want to snack and enjoy wine. Another favourite is the B720 Risotto with Rubiola cheese and black truffle. Other popular items include the B690 Veal Ossobuco, a great tasting dish with a heavenly sauce. For many the standout is the Rigatoni with wild boar; the combination is unique and a delight to eat. The desserts are great, but the tiramisu constantly receives rave reviews.

Enoteca means wine library in Italian and Sommelier Nic often insists eating is a process of drinking wine while you enjoy food. His wine list is entirely Italian and he is a master at matching Italian wines and food. During out last visit, we had a Casanova di Neri 2006 Rosso di Toscanno, a wonderfully smooth red that was a natural with our OssoTable at Enotecabucco. Although the wine list has selections in all price ranges, Nic believes wine should accompany all meals so there are numerous reasonably priced selections. If you are new to wine drinking, Nic’s helpfulness and the unpretentious nature of the surroundings make it a great place to start your experiences with wine.

A recent edition to Enoteca is a wine bar that can be reached from either the main dining room or by a separate entrance. This is a great place to enjoy a cigar while snacking and sipping on one of the wines available by either the glass or bottle. The room is also suitable for private parties and business gatherings, including product launches.

The next time you are looking for Italian food, try Enoteca Italiana. Easily reached from either Sukhumvit Soi 31 or Soi 29 and an easy walk from the BTS Prom Phong station, this is a restaurant with good food, great wine and lots of heart.

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Restaurant of the Month: Enoteca Italiana