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La Bottega Di Luca Review

Saturday, September 2, 2017

As a newbie in Bangkok 5 years ago, we asked the experts what the best “special occasion restaurant” was for celebrations, anniversaries, Valentines Day.  Hands down, a resounding echo from everyone was “La Bottega!”

La Bottega has built their reputation as a fine dining establishment at the hands of Luca Appino; the founder and genius chef who has created quite a name for himself even amongst the competitive and ever transient nature of the restaurant industry in this thriving metropolis of Bangkok!  Born and raised in a northwestern Provence of Italy, Luca draws inspiration from his roots where his family still owns a small vineyard.  He invites guests off the clamoring city streets of Sukhumvit 49 into his quaint restaurant perched atop the Terrace 49 building with options for intimate indoor dining, private room for dinner parties or corporate gatherings, or breezy al fresco dining on the terrace.  He serves as the head chef and offers warm Italian hospitality and an engaging personality to his guests!

Authenticity is evident through the genuine Italian flavors which are imported by upscale Italian suppliers.  Traditionalism meets innovation with favorite classic Italian dishes creatively plated and with modern spins.

After a number of special occasion dinners at La Bottega and sampling quite a few dishes, we can honestly say that it has always been surprising and memorable.  Never mediocre.  Always exceptional!  We’ve not encountered a dish we didn’t love and portions are always satisfying and sufficient.  Insalate selection is anything but mundane offering the freshest and most creative compilations.  The piedmont fassone beef tartare is a delicious first course with hints of lemon infused olive oil.  Follow with one of our recommended favorite pastas which include the homemade pappardelle served with wild boar ragu or trofie pasta with pistachio pesto sauce or my own personal favorite – the truffle ravioli!  Main courses are never standard or ordinary.  Always the finest ingredients with exotic and tasteful variations.  The pan seared turbot fillet is a must try for the fish lover, and the broad selection of red meats including a fantastic Australian wagyu beef cheek served over potatoes with au jus absolutely melts in your mouth!  We savored the suckling pig on our most recent visit and were duly impressed!

The presentation and attention to detail sets La Bottega apart.  Linen napkins and table cloths, crystal and silver table settings, roses on the table, candles, a vast and extensive wine list, refreshing towelettes, warmed bread basket, and usually a sample welcome appetizer, La Bottega encourages guests to linger, unhurried, for an evening dining extravaganza that will guarantee a memorable experience with your dinner party or date!

And lets not forget the broad assortment of imported cheeses and decadent desserts to choose from, because no Italian meal is complete without a little limoncello and something sweet!!  Guests are offered tea or coffee and served a sampler of truffles, biscotti and meringue drops to satiate the sweet craving!  Splurge for the tiramisu for a real treat!  Our five star recommendation for La Bottega de Luca!!

Reservations strongly recommended

Phone number: 097 114 7342
Open 11:30-2:30 for lunch and 5:30-11:00 for dinner
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Dolphin Bay Resort Review

Monday, August 28, 2017

Only a 3 hour drive from Bangkok, Hua Hin beach is home to the renowned escape for families to dodge the gritty city for the weekend and soak up some sunshine at Dolphin Bay Resort!!  The bay is a tranquil emerald pool lapping on white sand where local fishing boats can be seen offshore and palm trees dance in the wind.  The epitome of paradise!

Shallow waters are optimal for small children and expansive beaches let them roam or let you get in a blissful jog!  Dolphin Bay is named for the proximity to breeding grounds just offshore where you can witness – if you’re lucky – these playful sea creatures frolicking in the waves.

Another area attraction is Monkey Island that you can hire a boat to take you out to.  By far the coolest thing we’ve done in Thailand.  Your guide will transport you to Monkey Island from which you can deboard your boat and feed wild monkeys bananas from your hand!

Tho far from “rustic” the resort embraces a conservationist mentality and advocates for environmental preservation.  There are no room phones to dial for more pillows or a wake up call, but you’ll find a courteous and helpful staff at your service if you stop at the front desk!  The resort operates as a well oiled machine with a “guesthouse” feel and a family friendliness.  We’d recommend your stock up and bring extra drinking water as distribution through housekeeping is rationed.  You can always buy more from the restaurant, but bottles are small and this can get pricy if you plan to stay for a long weekend.

The resort boasts two swimming pools and a crowd-pleaser-waterslide guaranteeing the kids physical exertion and peaceful worn-out-sleep at night.

There are gardens to explore, a playground to enjoy, a mini soccer field, and a kids room to check them into for rainy-day fun while mom and dad enjoy an oceanside Thai massage!  The Hut Spa lets you take in the seaside vista under a tiki hut while you enjoy your massage!  In addition to massage therapists, you can book mani’s and pedi’s with your daughter.  For only 100 baht, she can get her beach-ready pink polish on at the onsite spa/salon.

For families, we recommend the 3 bedroom suites or 6 bedroom villas which give you access to your own private swimming pool and Jacuzzi.  Poolside hammocks to lounge in and massive deck picnic tables are perfectly accommodating to family groups!  There are even grills available for BBQing.  These guesthouses include your own full kitchen and ensuite bathrooms for each bedroom and ample walk-in closet space to unpack and settle in!  A perfect option for those who have visiting guests wanting to get away together or vacations planned with another family.

Smaller unit bungalows painted in beachy pastel colors with ocean views are situated along the path with direct access to the swimming pool and lawn areas.

If you’ve lived in Bangkok any amount of time, chances are you’ve visited Cafe Tartine or heard its praises sung by friends!  Its with great pleasure we present Cafe Loma, this sister restaurant which is also owned by the lovely Agathe Verge.  She and her husband opened Dolphin Bay and the connecting restaurant Cafe Loma to cater exquisite French food to the resort visitors.  While the menu boasts a wide variety of local favorites, Asian fusion and western classics, the French flavors are some of their best!  Check out their delicious and diverse menu here!  If you dine for dinner, the Flemish Pizza is a must-try!!  Fantastic!!  The restaurant also puts out a lovely morning brunch spread which has a very reasonable price tag on it – 200THB for adults and 100 THB for children!  Includes the freshest tropical fruit, pancakes, made-to-order egg dishes, homemade breads and homemade jams, and traditional breakfast fare.  Enjoy dining with a stunning view of the bay!

Older children will enjoy access to foosball and pingpong tables, beach volleyball court, canoes, kayaks and bicycles rentals.  Something for all ages to entertain and provide outlets for energy for the kiddos and seaside sunbeds for tired parents to relax in!

Consider Dolphin Bay for your next long-weekend getaway or family vacation.  Close enough to hire a taxi to transport you from Bangkok!  A great family excursion that doesn’t require expensive and time consuming travel.  The perfect escape from Bangkok to relax and be refreshed with a kiss of sun, nourishing food, spectacular views, vitamin sea and fantastic memories!!

Feast – Sunday Brunch Review at Royal Orchid Sheraton

Sunday, August 20, 2017

We’ve scoured the city so you don’t have to to find the most renowned Sunday brunch options in Bangkok. While there is no shortage of hotels catering exquisite fare and celebratory bubbly for weekenders looking to wine and dine with friends, we have found unique attractiveness in the Royal Orchid Sharaton Hotel and Towers Sunday brunch at their acclaimed restaurant Feast!!  

Located with a dazzling view of the Chao Phraya River, dining at Feast ensures both a delicious dining experience and a vista you can feast your eyes on!  Terrace al fresco dining is available for optimal viewing of the waterway.

Sunday brunch at Feast boasts a wide assortment of flavors and fares!  Start off with a wide selection of salamis and cheeses or begin your binge with a healthy salad tossing in your favorite caesar ingredients for a fantastic fresh start!  The brunch is perhaps most well known for their seafood spread which rivals any other in the city.  Alaska crab legs, salmon, New Zealand mussels, fresh oysters, scallops and succulent lobster will tantalize your tastebuds and satiate your seafood cravings!  

Ethnic cuisines of vast varieties allow you to sample your favorites from every continent.

Cooking stations whip up made to order dishes of local flavors you’ll want to try.  Select your Australian Angus, ribeye, sirloin steak or pork chops and ask the chef to throw them on the grill and cook to your liking.  A carving station with roast beef and ham will happily satiate the carnivores appetite!  Chicken and sausage kebabs on skewers are laid out in vast quantity and variety.   Indian curries, naan and dal and BBQ meats are among other vaireties to choose from.  International cuisine is also available and the made to order Italian pasta dishes guarantee a carb coma of the best kind!  Freshly rolled sushi and customized pizzas ensure there is something for everyone!  We are partial to the rib eye stew in puff pastry dish!  A must try!

You’ve heard the saying “life is uncertain, eat dessert first” and we’d echo a resounding “amen!”  While the dessert selection was not quite as extensive as the impressive brunch spread, there are some excellent treats to be found.  The chocolate mousse cake for the chocoholic and the cold-stone creamery ice cream station with endless toppings was irresistible.  The chocolate fountain of course tempts even the strongest self-willed sweet abstainer.

One other feature that sets Feast apart as a Sunday Buffet option for families, is their kids room featuring entertainment for your little ones.  While a number of weekend brunch buffets in Bangkok claim to have a kids room, nothing we’ve seen compares to this!!  The bounce house and staff in character costumes entertained our little ones with elaborate balloon artistry and face-painting.
Our kids thought it was a carnival!!

A special meal spread catering to the young (and young at heart) is available specifically for the picky palate ensuring everyone leaves with full and satisfied bellies!….A kids lineup of all their favorite foods – hotdogs, chicken nuggets, mini hamburger sliders and French fries!  The kids corner is within eyesight of parents who can linger over their meal while restless little ones run off some steam!
If dining with friends or on a date, there are other brunches in the city that are more posh or upscale, but we’d argue you’d be hard to find more “bang for your buck” if you’re brunch-ing with families or with children in tow!
Children 9 and under dine free!!
10-12 year olds are half price!

We found traffic to be no issue at all getting down to the Royal Orchid Sheraton on a Sunday morning in time for Brunch!  Served 11:30-3:00.
Sunday Brunch at Feast
THB 2,000 nett per person with free-flow blended fresh juices
* additional THB 800 nett for free-flow premium beverage package which includes red, white and sparkling wine.