Bangkok streets are studded with Italian restaurants.

But if you’re looking for the one that truly emits a soul-touching vibe and serves tummy-warming food that creates dialogues at the table, the list isn’t all too long. Nevertheless, if your happiness lies in finding that sort of Italian restaurant, then your main source of it will be at the recently opened L’OLIVA Ristorante Italiano & Wine Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 36. Serving up home-cooked recipes traditional to the Abruzzo region in the east of Rome, the restaurant with an exposed brick and lamp-lit setting exudes a homey, friendly charm that will warm your heart right up.

L’OLIVA may first appear to you as a typical neighbourhood house. Yet once you step in closer, the two-storey venue is actually divided into different parts: an aperitif bar embellished with comfy lounges to unwind; a sun-lit dining area with wood benches and glass-windowed wine cellar stacked with opulent wines; and a glasshouse room opened for private dining. Juxtaposed on the right side of the restaurant is also a lush garden, whilst on the left is its sister café, Caffe Olives, which is a new hub for café hoppers and those with a serious sweet tooth.

Food-wise, the appetite-reviving menu curated by Abruzzo native Chef Luca Di Pietro is brimming with a selection of drool-inducing pizza, antipasti, and gorgeous pasta made with house-made Italian noodles. The wine cellar here is also stocked with an impressive array of Italian wine from Abruzzo, which makes L’OLIVA an excellent place to wine and dine all in one go.

Recently, we got a chance to check out L’OLIVA and tried some of the best new dishes the venue has to offer. Here’s a list of must-tries you need to order. And yes, our minds are already set on making this place our usual spot for any big fat Italian feast in 2020.

Tentacoli Di Polpo E Mousse Allo Zafferano (THB 650)

When saffron cream is the main key to your sauce, you’ll know it will be a true delicacy. Studded on a bed of saffron-spiked cream, the marinated veggies and tender chunks of grilled octopus tentacles yield a tender texture, giving extra bite to the luscious cream. Here’s a perfectly light dish for starting off your meal.

Insalata di Frutta, Rucola e Burrata (THB 450)

For maximum freshness, L’OLIVA serves up their salad simply but scrumptiously with all the ingredients at their most natural state. The balsamic vinegar from Modena is used to dress a mix of locally-grown rocket, fruit, nuts, and burrata to bring everything together with a fruity, tart taste.

Tortellini in Brodo (THB 390)

Tortellini needs no introduction. The stuffed pasta boasts a gold-standard look and taste. And for those who are after a soup with substantial bites, opt for this pork-stuffed tortellini in a clear, umami-packed broth.

Chitarra Al Ragu Abruzzese – Ragu Alle Tre Carni (THB 420)

Nothing screams Abruzzese cuisine like spaghetti alla chitarra (guitar string pasta) made with a unique Eppicotispai “Chitarra” pasta cutter, which actually first originated in Abruzzo. Don’t skip over this dish if you seek to know what L’OLIVA is all about, because theirs is housemade too. We adore the Chitarra Al Ragu Abruzzese where the egg-enriched noodle is cloaked with a rich ragu sauce that embodies a blend of veal, lamb, and pork.

Risotto Allo Zafferano Con Salsiccia (THB 400)

For a carb-loaded, dairy-rich dish, this risotto with saffron should be your move. It’s speckled with succulent bits of Italian sausage throughout and showered generously with parmesan rain. How could you possibly go wrong?

Branzino Al Sale (THB 500)

Wrapped in a blanket of salt, the sea bass is baked long and slow, and is served with lemon and spicy fish sauce. The outer layer of the salt keeps the fish flesh inside moist and evenly cooked, and therefore the seabass lends a juicy succulence with a hint of salty flavour profiles that hit all the right notes.

Mortadella e Pistacchio (THB 440)

What is more crowd-pleasing than a pizza? The answer is nothing really. And if your palate is seeking for new mouth-surprising pizza toppings, this Mortadella e Pistacchio slathered generously with zucchini cream, dusted with chopped pistachios and dotted with fiordilatte cheese, mortadella, and mascarpone is packed with a smack of big-deal deliciousness.

L’OLIVA Ristorante Italiano & Wine Bar, 4, Sukhumvit Soi 36, Lane 2, Bangkok, +6694 858 9868; Open: Wed-Mon, 11:30 am-2:30 pm for lunch and 6-10:30 pm for dinner.

Kankanit Wichiantanon
Writer, Bangkok
Kankanit is a writer by day and a baker by night. If there’s one thing you should know about her, it’s that she can wax poetic about food 24/7. Her daily routine is writing, cooking, eating, repeat. They are the things that inspire her from morning 'til night.