Piccola Roma Palace - Restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Piccola Roma Palace

Piccola Roma Palace
 Ristorante Italiano , Chiang Mai

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 dinner.
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.


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- January 2003 Volume 6 ,Issue 1

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