This Don makes you an offer you can’t resist
One of the city’s latter day grand old-school dining establishments, Don Giovanni Italian Restaurant at the Centara Grand Hotel Ladprao, has served a loyal following of discerning clientele for over two decades. The casual-elegant setting is equal parts welcoming and stately, giving off to a chic-ly pro-look open front kitchen, with its highlights of gleaming copper and rustic iron.
Italian Chef de Cuisine Stefano Zaninelli deftly demonstrates both his native-heritage and pan-Euro cuisine cooking chops with a strikingly varied selection of classic-favorite Italian specialties and a few surprises. Starters include Wild rocket cold cream soup with Akami tuna tartar (B520) which is at once refreshing and hearty with the pureed salad leaves’ trademark bitter finish tempered by a touch of cream and body-adding potato. Keeping things traditional is the Culatello ham with sweet melon (B860), which pairs nicely with slices of crusty house-made bread.
A pair of pasta dishes offer a taste of the kind of home cooking that inspired Chef Stefano’s lifelong love for the kitchen. The Potato gnocchi with duck ragout (B690) is “just like my aunt used to make”—the precisely al dente spud-dumplings remaining texturally unfazed by the savoury, slow-braised duck stew, while the up-sized Paccheri pasta with porcini mushroom, speck ham with fresh tomato (B690) is prepared with an alluringly home-made quality that tends to elicit Oliver Twist-ian appeals for a second helping.
Having grown up in a region of Italy not far from Germany, Chef Stefano’s cooking unsurprisingly bears a hint of cross-border influence, as appetizingly showcased in his Snowfish in white wine sauce (B990)—the exquisitely tender fish fillet accompanied by critically seasonal, extra large imported German white asparagus, well as the European-sourced Veal escallops with Parma ham and saged white wine sauce (B1,120) sided by seasonal vegetables and roasted potatoes. The Oven baked Mediterranean sea bream (B1,280) is ever so slightly browned and comes with a complement of roasted root vegetables in tomato caper sauce.
As an ovation-inspiring coda to his masterwork symphony of culinary delights, the highlight of Chef Stefano’s dazzling dessert menu is the Marsala sabayon with vanilla ice cream (B360)—the spice-sweet soup mined with plump Amerna cherries. No less satisfying is the Frozen chocolate soufflé (B330), while the colorful Bergetmot lemon and blood orange sorbet (B220) features a dramatic presentation and exciting pallet of palate-tingling accompaniments, including citrus macaroon, semi-confit of grapefruit, saffron-lime reduction, spiced tangerine and sultana salsa, enshrouded in a delicate lemon veil. And finally, what at first looks like a miniature witch’s caldron is actually a complimentary dry ice-chilled bowl of bite-sized ice cream bon-bons.
A private dining room with seating for up to 14 is also available. And be sure to ask Chef Stefano about his daily specials and vegetarian dishes.
Centara Grand, Central Plaza Ladprao, 1695 Phahonyothin Rd.
Open: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm
Tel: 02 541-1234 ext. 4142