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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

L'ulivo Italian Restaurant Review - Narathiwas Soi 7, Bangkok

L'ULIVO Italian Restaurant
Traditional Italian Cuisine - Grilled Seafood Platter 

Overall Score  8/10
Taste   3.5/5
Ambiance  5/5
Service  5/5
Value   3/5

The name of this Italian restaurant is L’ulivo, which I assumed it is read Lu-Li-Vo.   In Italian, the name refers to an Olive tree.  The L’ulivo is considered to be the Hi end Italian restaurant, located in the Sathorn Narathiwas area.  The head chef was once interviewed in a food magazine, where article was sharing interesting story of the chef.  So, my eating buddy and I had to check it out.  The L’ulivo has been in business for just over a year, resided in a beautiful small home at the tip of the Soi Narathiwas 7.  When you turn right into the Soi, look to your right.  It is very easy to find.  There is a parking lot in the Soi 7 right past the restaurant to the right.  The house is painted in bright yellow, sitting right behind a huge tree (not sure if it was an olive tree).  With the light glowing through the window of the house and on the front façade, I could already tell that this Italian restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner with the special someone.  Since I was with a dude, I had to mood for romantic.  

During the lunch time, L’ulivo is also serving special set lunch for the working crowd in the Sathorn area.  There are three choices at lunch time; 1, 2, or 3 course set.  The prices are 310, 360, and 430 baht respectively.  Since I was there for dinner, I could only look in the lunch menu.  The lunch menu actually had quite a bit of selection, more than most fine Italian restaurants.  If I were working in this area, I would definitely check it out.  At dinner time, L’ulivo has fewer selections in the menu but you will find all Italian specialties you can think of, except pizza.  Average price for the main dishes are between 300-500 baht. 

I mentioned earlier in the review that the Chef/owner at L’ulivo @ Bangkok had the shining aura.  Well, he surely earned it.  His name is Danilo Aiassa and he was born and raised in Italy.  He began his cooking career since High School.  For over a decade, he had been collecting gourmet cooking experiences in three different Michelin starred restaurants in France.  Prior to the start up of his own Italian restaurant, he was the Head-chef at the Biscotti @ Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok.  I have been to this fine Italian restaurant twice and I really enjoyed it.  Not too long before my visit, chef Danilo invited a friend who owns a 1-star Michelin guide restaurant in Italian to the L’ulivo.  For one week chef’s good friend prepared a five course dinner with 3 glasses of wine.  I was told that the L’ulivo was completely booked and customers were impressed with the meal.  The chef told me that he will invite friends to create special dishes again.  I won’t miss it next time for sure.    

I personally don’t have much experience and knowledge about Italian food.  I wouldn’t be able to tell the differences between Modern, Traditonal, or Contemporary precisely.  So, I had to ask the chef; he mentioned that the L’ulivo mainly serves the traditional style Italian food.  I wouldn’t be able to distinguish because some of the dishes were beautifully presented, just like a modern style.  

At L’ulivo, customers will be welcomed with two complimentary.  The first was the Italian freshly baked bread.  The second was three choices of small starters, which were a mushroom soup, mini burger, and a cocktail bite.  All of which were delicious, especially the mushroom soup; it was perfectly hot and savory.  

Shortly after the complimentary, our choice was the Pumpkin soup with shrimp.  The taste was light, though I could sense the pumpkin and seafood aroma mixed together.  If it was served a hot as the mushroom soup in the complimentary, it would be perfect.  I honestly thought it was a good soup but my friend liked the presentation more than the flavoring.    

The first of the main course was the Assorted grilled crustaceans and fish with mixed vegetables – tiger prawns, river prawns, red snapper, sea bass, squid, and rock lobster (950 baht).  Its size was quite large, definitely big enough for sharing with a couple of friends.  This menu is popular at lunch time on Saturday.  We had a couple of sauces given in the set; one was a buttery basil sauce and the other was a special carrot sauce.  This whole seafood set felt like the Thai seafood platter, except there was no spicy and tangy Thai seafood chili sauce.  I must admit that I thought about the Thai sauce.   Since it was a fine Italian dinner, I was actually enjoying the carrot sauce in the traditional Italian mood. 

The other main dish was also an assortment of the meat (also 950 baht).  We had grass fed rib eyes, beef tenderloin, baby chicken, fresh sausages, and bacon; all were grilled over the charcoal with volcano rocks.  The presentation of this dish was similar to the seafood assortment.  Overall, the meats and the vegetables were nicely grilled.  The grilled meat had the average quality.  I liked the sausage the most.  It tasted really rare; must be homemade.  With the rich meat texture and the charcoal aroma, it was the highlight of this meat platter.  The beef cuts were fair, enjoyable with the red wine.    

The other main dish at L’ulivo Italian restaurant was a pasta, the Home made spaghetti Chitara with king crab, yellowtails from Adriatic sea and sautéed artichokes (450 baht).  One remarkable point about this dish was the spaghetti.  It is homemade in the kitchen every other day.  I found the texture to be quite interesting.  Since it was handmade, the consistency of the spaghetti became the charm.   The pasta sauce lacked balance a bit; it was leaning on the salty side.  However, the contexts in the sauce were incredible.  The crab and the fish were fresh and tasty.  

For desserts at L’ulivo, we had the Sicilian cannoli with dark chocolate and ricotta cheese, candit and dry fruit (270 baht).  Its cone shape shell-like Cannoli is something I have seen before; usually it is filled with cream but this one had chocolate and cheese in it.  The taste was rather strange at first.  I really like the texture impression.  It was a nice variety.  The shell was crispy and inside was a mix of nutty, chocolaty, and creamy texture.  I surprisingly ate the whole thing, mostly by myself.    

The other dessert was the Chocolate Lava.  It was a show piece, tastefully done and stunning looking.  My friend who is a tough judge on dessert actually commented that it was one of the best Chocolate Lava.  The inclusion of the banana and the quality vanilla icecream was a plus.  Thumbs up on this fine sweet ending.  

The L’ulivo Italian Restaurnat @ Narathiwas Soi 7 is surely a fine place to enjoy the traditional style Italian food in Bangkok.  Decorated with the luxurious country home vibe, the atmosphere was quite romantic.  The wall murals were beautiful, emphasized the European setting.  The table service was nearly flawless.  It was a rainy day on my visit and there were still a few other parties in the restaurant.  The L’ulivo would be a great choice to spend quality time with your special someone while enjoying the goodness of traditional Italian cooking by the honorable Italian Chef, Da Danilo.     

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