Executive Chef and owner Angelo Faro is the heart and soul
of the Piccola Roma Palace. He is the one on both the front
and back lines, taking dinner orders from patrons, recommending
dishes and constantly conversing with people, running in and
out of the kitchen and extolling the staff to place the silverware
and glasses just right.
His dedication to his craft shows in the d?cor and on the
walls of the resplendent Piccola Roma. On one wall, high above
the bar, are his awards - a bounty of recognition, the premier
being his membership as a Maitre de Table of the distinguished
Chaine des Rotisseurs. He achieved that status in 1979. Others
include a membership in the Executive Chef's Association
of Thailand and recognition as a Degustateurs Actif by the
Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Degustateurs.
In addition, there are the pictures on the other wall - those
that really tie him to Thailand - they are the ones that show
the menu on the day that the Queen of Thailand visited the
restaurant in 2000. It was obviously a proud moment for Faro,
who came here for the first time 12 years ago, after beginning
his culinary career in Italy in 1958.
The restaurant relocated two years ago, the year the Queen
visited and is now in the area just southeast of the famous
Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, tucked snugly into a modern stone
building at the corner of Sridonchai and Charoen Prathet Roads.
The inside of Piccolo Roma is exceedingly elegant, with wooden
panelling and lots of glass; truly a memorable dining experience.
Above the pictures of the Queen's visit is an intriguing
array of brass instruments, mounted on the panelling high
on the ceiling.
Faro is serious about the quality of his food and atmosphere,
a message that rings loud and clear, especially in his brochure.
From that comes the following quote: "Pasta flour from
Italy, prime beef from America, seafood from Vietnam, Salad
vegetables from the King's Project farms. I select only
the finest and freshest ingredients for my food."
During dinner, Faro can be heard repeating that theme, talking
with customers about the best places to find various products
and then recommending the right Italian vintage for a particular
Seating in the restaurant is both inside and al fresco, although
few chose that option on the night I visited, as an early
evening rain was still playing havoc with movement around
the city. Not enough to deter people from coming, however,
as every seat was filled an hour after I arrived.
I chose the ham, cheese and mushroom linguine as my main
course, with a Bruschetta appetizer, topped with tomato. I
regretted later not having a salad as well. The food arrived
at a well-timed pace, allowing me to enjoy each course to
its fullest extent, savoring it with the individual-sized
bottle of red wine recommended by Faro. The linguine was full
and creamy, richly satisfying.
I then made up for my earlier indecision on the salad by
selecting a sumptuous dessert and found I had made an excellent
choice. The tiramisu was exquisite and I almost finished it
before my cappuccino arrived.
I chatted with Faro at the end of the meal and asked him why
he moved to Thailand. He scratched two fingers together to
indicate the financial rewards of coming here, laughing about
it and added another thought before running back to attend
to other more pressing matters in the kitchen. "I love
this country," he said. "Good people, good food
it's a good country."
The Piccola Roma Palace is open
for lunch and dinner.
144 Charoen Prathet Road, Chiang Mai.
Tel: +66(0)53-820297-8, 271256,
Fax: +66 (0)53-820299.