You know how we feel about chains (Amici belongs to the Pomodoro group), and dining in malls (in this case, Paragon). But Amici’s prices seem to hark from five years ago, the seats next to the glass bay or on the elegant mezzanine feel very un-mall-like and the food packs some nice surprises. To begin with, we’re partial to the dual menus, a concise illustrated catalogue of signature dishes and a fairly brief selection of Italian classics. Portions are pretty huge so Thai-style sharing might be a good idea, though the service doesn’t encourage it: dishes are brought out simultaneously and in the proper order. There are also some nice little touches like replacing your white starched napkin for a black one when ordering squid ink spaghetti and squirting hand sanitizer into your palm at the beginning of the meal. One difference between Amici and the city’s top Italian restaurants is the produce. The cantaloupe with San Daniele ham (B380) is a big plate layered with prosciutto, but the ham feels a bit too fresh, so that the nutty flavors that develop with aging are nowhere to be found, while the cantaloupe is a watery disaster. Also a tad watery, but a whole lot more impressive, is the seafood soup (B380). There’s plenty of crab and fish morsels in there, along with plump, moist mussels, a shrimp and some clams. In fact, all their seafood dishes are big on flavor. The aforementioned black ink spaghetti with squid (B320) packs a few chilies and smooth iodine notes that evoke the sea without the slightest fishiness. The creaminess of the sauce and al dente pasta do the rest, providing a pleasing textural backdrop. The porcini risotto with grilled seabass (B480) comes with strong notes of truffle wafting in the air. It’s just truffle oil, of course, so it’s pretty faint on the palate once you tuck in, but here too the texture is just right: a large chunk of fish with flaky flesh and a nice sear on the outside, creamy rice and firm mushroom morsels. (We don’t recommend sticking around for dessert but you’ll probably be too full anyway.) There are better Italian restaurants in Bangkok, but this is Siam. For pizza you could head upstairs to Fuzio, but Amici is our pick for the best elevated Italian dining experience in the neighborhood. Corkage B500.
|Address:||Amici, G/F, Paragon, 991 Rama 1 Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 10am-9pm|
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