There is no shortage of spineless, inconsistent, and frankly hit-and-miss restaurants scattered around town. But there is also, thankfully, the likes of Gianni: a tried-and-trusted Italian joint tucked down Soi Tonson, just a short walk from Chidlom BTS station, that has stuck to its traditionalist guns through good times and bad and—among Bangkok restaurateurs at least—become something of a byword for consistency.
The expansive dining room, guarded by two classical statues and filled with soft, flattering light, has a modern Mediterranean atmosphere. Throughout its twenty years in business, though, the star attraction has always been the titular Gianni Favro: an imposing yet warm and avuncular presence almost as well known for looking after his guests as he is cooking for them.
Though he hails from the north of Italy, and pays homage to that fact with no shortage of risottos and other heavy, hearty dishes, his menu is resolutely Pan-Italian, drawing in the fresher, lighter flavours of the south too. Of a lunchtime or evening, he might recommend you start with, say, an octopus salad of cherry tomatoes and diced soft-boiled potato, all expertly seasoned and dressed with olive oil (B590++). Appetizers like this couldn’t really be any simpler—but nor could they be much more satisfying.
“My cooking has evolved a bit over the years,” he explains during one of his visits to the table. “I’ve adopted some new techniques and new machines and new ways of doing things.” One of these new ways of doing things is sous-vide, which he deploys to masterly effect on sumptuous mains such as the pork belly with sweet and sour cabbage and mustard sauce (B590++).
Starters aren’t the only things that are well-oiled here. Whether you ask for a glass of gutsy red to complement your fall-off-the-bone lamb shank braised in red wine (B590++), lean over the table to steal a forkful or three of your date’s sea urchin pasta with burrata cheese (B890++), or finish with a plate of strong cheeses and fig jam (B490++), every aspect of the Gianni’s experience smacks of passion, precision, and experience—exactly what you expect from reliably refined Italian cooking.
34/1 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Road | 0 2252 1619 | giannibkk.com | daily 11.30am-2pm, 6pm-10pm
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