Pasta like Bangkok's never seen before at a new Thonglor bistro.
Tastefully twee in eye-popping aquamarine, Thonglor’s La Dotta looks like a ‘50s Italian diner as seen through the eyes of Wes Anderson. However, unlike that director, we couldn’t accuse this pasta-specializing restaurant (from the folk behind Vesper and Il Fumo) of putting style over substance.
On the ground-floor, a marble counter and a mouthwatering display of fresh pasta are all that separate clientele from a small army of hard-working chefs. Head up the cast iron staircase to the low-ceilinged second floor where tables buzz with families and young couples drinking in the vibe under the neon glow of a retro bar.
La Dotta’s uncompromising dedication to authenticity is writ large on explanatory placemats and in dishes like a pasta carbonara (B360) that’s a far cry from the creamy, sweet and gooey messes years of Pizza Company have ingrained in us. Creamy (without cream!) and punctuated by the salty tang of Pecorino Romano, this carbonara also benefits from hefty slithers of cured pork cheek and imported dried bucatini, a long, hollow pasta like a narrow straw whose dense chewiness reminds us a bit of udon.
Even better is the daily-made pasta featured in the tagliatelle Bolognese (the most expensive thing on the menu at B590). This high-end take on a classic pairs juicy 24-hour-cooked wagyu beef shoulder with ribbons of pasta that are silky and smooth but firm to the bite. Though relatively light on tomato, the ragu’s super-tender meat is a fine match for the wonderfully al dente tagliatelle (starring, they say, imported Italian flour and the rich yolk of organic duck eggs).
Pasta on pasta on pasta makes for a heavy meal, and the smattering of salads and bread-heavy sides initially do little to set the pulse running. That said, the crab meat bruschetta (B290)—an open-face sandwich of sweet crab and cherry tomatoes on deliciously charred wholewheat bread—makes a glorious light starter.
On top of a page of mostly organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines (from B270/glass), cocktails like the Riviera Gin Fizz (B340)—an all-too-easy mix of Fords gin, cucumber, pineapple and soda—are made for daytime drinking when the sun is out and the birds are chirping. End the carb-fest in explosive style with a Nutella-stuffed bomboloni (fried Italian donut, B190/two).
We’d stop short of describing La Dotta as a mindblowing experience (unless maybe you’ve been dining in the mall for the past decade), but it more than lives up to its billing as a chic and cheerful pasta bar.