Primavera, 413/9 Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours:daily 10am-2pm, 6pm-12:30am
Price Range:BBB - BBBB
A former pharmaceutical executive, egged on by his passion for wine, chucked his job and, six months ago, opened Primavera, a Thonglor shophouse converted into a cozy, two-story little Italian place. It follows, then, that it is less a boastful place with guest chefs and regular truffle promotions, and more a gathering point for friends, warmly presided over by the owner. On our last visit we even spotted a famed Thai winemaker having dinner and a casual blind tasting with friends. These gatherings are a regular occurrence, and we got the impression that Primavera, once you are absorbed into its inner circle, is a great place to meet folks who know food and wine and love to eat with friends. As for the food, unfortunately, it’s far from inventive, earth-shattering or even consistent—but it’s honest fare to go with your wine, and you can tell that they’re trying. So while their pizza margarita is a bit undersalted and sometimes lacks a good, charred bottom, it’s chock full of good cheese and can easily be shared by three people. The veal ossobuco is marvelously rich and tender, but the beef tenderloin can be dry, despite being accompanied by an amazing and unusual beetroot mash (and a baffling julienne of bell peppers). Still, the place is unhampered by tedious attempts at coolness, and the staff takes the care to ask you the order in which you would like your dishes to arrive. That, and they do seem to get the comfort food essentials right and regularly serve delicate desserts and delicious pastas. The gnocchi with gorgonzola is huge, gooey and liberal on the cheese (and goes great with a heavy red), and the squid ink fettucine is nice and al dente with loads of garlic and fresh plump seafood. So, all in all, if you’re in it for the wine and don’t need bells and whistles on the food front, this is actually a great little unintimidating place to try some well-picked bottles, and maybe even lean over to the next table (or the owner) and seek their expert opinion.