Thursday, 28 August 2008

Here's a plug for Mario and great gastro-tip for you...

Our favourite (non-Thai) restaurant in Bophut's Fisherman's Village. Mario, the owner of Alla Baia offers simple, authentic, northern Italian food, well prepared, tasty and satisfying. Everything on the menu is great value for money and doesn't deviate from the original recipes established by his mother. And she comes for two months every year to check! Located 25m past the pier (the bar and marine structure) heading into the village, the best tables are, obviously, those overlooking the water.

My favourite winning combo is beef carpaccio followed by spaghetti Amatriciana - a tomato sauced based, smokey pancetta flavoured delight, especially with a chilli hit in the sauce. Other family favourites are the sublime ravioli with crab sauce, penne Arabiata and my newly discovered all time best pizza: tomato base; anchovies, capers, black olives and spicy salami - all on Mario's crisply thin pizza base, with three chopped chillies and easy on the cheese.

We like (love) fresh chopped chilli and at Alla Baia they are diner-defined - just tell the waiter how many you want in your sauce or pizza or alternatively, for non at all.

The house wine is good and, for special family occasions, the glorious Amarone della Valpolicella, while not cheap, is better value than it is in Dubai - or Venice!

There's usually a good selection of fresh fish on ice to choose from displayed out front and I can recommend the spaghetti ala vongole (clams) especially when they are at their smallest and sweetest.

I'm an unreconstructed dessert guy. On many occasions we've eaten Thai, usually at Pee Chet, and dived into Mario's just for his sublime profiteroles or Mama's tirmisu, washed down with an espresso and grappa or a liqueur - to settle the stomach.
a rare shot of the usually stellar busy Mario, relaxing at the end of service

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