As food critics, we often come across cases where one culture adapts the food of another. Most of the time, the resulting dishes are far from capturing the flavors and cultures of another world. Appia is one of many restaurants that takes on Italian cuisine. Being in Asia, Bangkok is obviously far from Italy. It is easy to expect that they are likely to bring the typical, expected and cliché dishes. However, Appia breaks the mold. Rather than bringing heavy carbonaras and slimy lasagna, Appia brings the real Italy to Bangkok – and we loved it!
The chef at Appia is Paolo Vitaletti, is former executive chef of Aman Resorts. Paolo is the son of a butcher, and he lived in Rome’s Testaccio district. His hearty Italian upbringing is shared with diners in the vibrant Mediterranean dishes he offers up. A whole section of the menu is themed ‘Things to eat with bread’, and here you can find roasted red peppers and grilled eggplant, a selection of cheese and cold cuts, a bowl of pickled vegetables and much more. If you are (one of those who) watching the carbs, I suggest you look elsewhere. Then come the sides, with creamy polenta with gorgonzola and pan-dripping potatoes from the rotisserie, rosemary and garlic. Salads and small plates include roasted calf’s tongue over polenta, smoked red pepper, caper berries and a tomato and tripe stew with pecorino cheese.
Getting through this amazing Italian treat was a distinct battle between body & mind. Our eyes were hungry and were romanced by the color and arrangement of the delicious menu. Our stomachs were telling us to stop, but we didn’t. We couldn’t.
Far from a stodgy, thick carbonara is the carbonara with dried paccheri pasta, Paolo Parisi’s egg from Tuscany, cured pork cheek, pecorino cheese. This dish makes us rethink the classic carbonara meal, as it delivers flavors and textures new. We finish our feast with the Australian lamb ribs which are marinated in garlic and rosemary before being slow roasted in the rotisserie. We read these take 45 minutes to prepare (stated on the menu) but are well worth the wait. The food is fresh and exciting, yet still delivers the traditional home-cooked tastes and rustic flavor of Italian food that we all love.
Sitting in Appia, you feel that you are in your old Italian grandmother’s kitchen. Terracotta tiling, wine lists displayed with chalk on blackboards and bread delivered in little woven baskets. Yet, this is not a bad thing. The ceilings are lined with old beams and dazzling chandeliers, the walls decorated with artwork collected at Roman flea markets and the seating compromised of bistro chairs. The restaurant oozes old world charm and takes you through time and distance to a place of hearty comfort food with a fresh new twist.
Luckily, Appia is only open during evening hours. I say luckily, because if this restaurant was all day dining I would have a tough time leaving. Appia is open Tuesday-Sunday, 6:30-11 PM. It is open for one lunch a week though, on Sundays, 11:30-2:30 PM. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. They take reservations over the phone and via email, but only 72 hours before the reservation date. Large groups of ten or more are accommodated, but asked to arrange a set menu with the management. The staff are friendly and know the menu well (refreshing!) and are great in suggesting & pairing options for you without coming across as a hard sales push. It was nice.
Appia delivers good value for what you pay. It’s no-nonsense menu with good honest Italian fair could easily be mistaken to set you back a lot more than it does. Pasta dishes range from 350 THB to 550 THB (approx. $10-$15 USD). The rest of the menu is also extremely reasonable for what you get in terms of food and the overall experience. Mark this down as a win!
Address: 20/4 ซอยสุขุมวิท 31 ถนนสุขุมวิท แขวงคลองตันเหนือ กรุงเทพมหานคร 10110, Thailand Phone: +66 2 261 2056 Hours: 6:30 – 11:30 pm