There’s a Thai fusion place that opened in my neighborhood just over a year ago. The restaurant’s name is Tuscany and, when it opened, I decided to treat two Thai friends to dinner so we could go and check it out. Only open for just a week, it was already quite busy and I was interested to see why. Fast forward a year, and Tuscany is now one of the busiest restaurants in northern Bangkok but, if you’ve eaten there, you wouldn’t have to guess why. It’s wonderful.
Tuscany – The Building – Looking at Tuscany restaurant from the street, you would presume it was an Italian restaurant. With architecture like a typical Italian villa and painted bright oranges and yellows, it’s the quintessential Italian building. Add to that the enormous wooden benches and tables outside, the outdoor bar area and narrow pools of water lined around the building and, if you didn’t know, you’d swear you were in Italy.
Tuscany – The Food – In true Thai style though, what you see is not always what you get. Once we arrived at the restaurant and asked for menus, we also questioned our waiter as to what kind of food was on offer. Expecting pasta, pizza, antipasta and any number of Italian dishes, we were surprised to hear it was all Thai food. More of a style of Thai fusion food, but Thai food all the same. Odd then, that you would build an Italian villa and name the restaurant Tuscany. But, having lived in Bangkok for so long, odd to me now seems normal.One problem we encountered was the menu.
Only written in Thai, that meant I couldn’t read it and out of my two Thai friends, one has lived in the US most of her life, so she can’t read Thai either. That left us with our other friend who ended up having to order most of the food. Simply because she knew what they served.
We asked about the house specialty and were told it was slices of chicken with a mayonnaise type sauce on top served with salad. Sounds a little odd, but what the heck, so we ordered it. We followed that up with a green chicken curry, som tam (Thai spicy papaya salad), a full crispy ham shank, a spicy mushroom dish and larb (spicy minced pork) plus three servings of white rice, a bottle of water and two iced lemon blended drinks.We were served the spicy mushroom dish first, which just about blew my head off it was so spicy. Delicious though as long as I drank a lot of water with it.
Everything else arrived soon after and, out of the six dishes, the only one we didn’t like was the larb. Loaded with salt and with a funky after taste, we sent it back to have more lime added to it, only to realize it wasn’t going to help much. Other than that though, every other dish was perfect. The som tam was the best I’ve eaten, the crispy ham shank was succulent (and enormous!) and only 250 baht ($7.50) and everything else was delicious too.
Tuscany – The Service – Keep in mind, the restaurant had only been open for a week on our first visit, so all the staff was new. We discovered quickly no one seemed to know what was on the menu, who had ordered what food, and what ingredients went into anything. However, they were all happy, smiling, helpful and really tried so, to me, that’s all I need. They got better with practice anyway.
Tuscany – The Atmosphere – The atmosphere at Tuscany is just lovely. The restaurant is in a small soi (lane) in a quiet area with not a lot of traffic. At the time of opening, the only seating was outside, which would get hot in summer, but with enormous white padded benches and tables on one side of the garden and higher wooden benches on the other side, it really does look pretty. Since then though, Tuscany has added air conditioned indoor seating and a raised deck, making it an even better place to eat.
Add to that the narrow lighted pools, the fairy lights on the trees, the large screen playing movies and music videos (but with no sound when we were there), the calming music in the background and the beautifully lit Italian villa and it’s a gorgeous place for dinner.
Tuscany – The Price – Many Thai fusion restaurants in Bangkok can be quite expensive and as, remember, we couldn’t read the menu, I had no idea how much the evening was going to cost us. Imagine my surprise therefore to be presented with the bill. We ate six large dishes, three bowls of rice, drank a large bottle of water and two huge lemon ice blended drinks and the total bill was only 950 baht ($29.40). Cheap for so much food and so much incredibly delicious food too.
After my first and subsequently many visits to Tuscany, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys good Thai cuisine in a pretty atmosphere, in a quiet area and with lovely staff. You really can’t get any better than this.
Tuscany is located on Pahonyothin, Soi 23, Ladprao, Chatuchak Bangkok.