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Prego is a must-visit if you enjoy authentic Italian cuisine cooked with heart

by Ashima

Discover what we loved about Amari Watergate Bangkok‘s newest offering.

By Ashima Sethi

What is there not to love about Italian cuisine? There’s a plethora of choice for all types of diners whether you love meat or are a vegetarian, the dishes are hearty (and best enjoyed with wine), and recipes are drawn from traditional means of cooking that have been passed down through generations, ensuring that every meal you tuck into has been cooked with love. If all the aforementioned points appeal to you, then I highly recommend a visit to Prego at Amari Watergate Bangkok, a newly-opened restaurant serving up authentic Italian fare crafted from the freshest of ingredients.

When I first arrived at the restaurant, I was greeted with a bottle of crisp white wine to be enjoyed during a conversation with the charismatic Chef Marco Boscaini, who brings a wealth of experience crafting Italian cuisine to this new opening. During our conversation, Chef Marco details how his journey into cooking began when he was just seven years old, when he used to help his grandmother make handmade pasta. This led to the chef pursuing culinary school and an apprenticeship, before moving up the ranks to becoming head chef of his own establishment.

In 1996, Chef Marco moved to Thailand on an invitation to help teach Thai chefs how to cook authentic Italian cuisine. Before he knew it, a few weeks turned into a few years, and he ended up joining Amari at the end of 2002. He was soon tasked with leading the opening of Prego Samui, the original outlet adjacent to Amari Koh Samui. An immediate success, the restaurant drew in hundreds of visitors and continues to do so today almost two decades later. Chef Marco explains, It has been amazing to see something I created from nothing surpass so many of my goals. Last year, when I turned 56 I thought I was going to finally retire, but then I was told that there were more Prego projects in the pipeline, with the vision to open branches all over the Kingdom beginning with Bangkok. Of course, I’m crazy [Laughs] so I was immediately on board.

So what is Prego’s recipe for success? Chef Marco explains the style of cooking one should expect: “Food here is simple but of a very good quality. That’s what Prego is, it is rustic Italian food that does not compromise when it comes to ingredients as we use authentic, imported products.” Considering Chef Marco is one of the country’s most celebrated Italian chefs, I had to ask him about his most recommended dishes, to which he responded with: “Definitely my risottos, I really like to make them. I was even listed in a book called 100 Best Risottos that feature entrants from chefs from all over the world. I also really enjoy crafting the handmade pastas we serve here.”

First Impressions

Upon arriving at the hotel, the restaurant is the first thing you see. Specifically, the sprawling outside terrace that cascades over two floors for diners who prefer their meals al fresco with views of Bangkok’s bustling shopping district and twinkling city lights. Once inside, the restaurant’s interiors are rustic, complete with white brick walls, dark wooden accents, and tables that can easily accommodate groups of diners. At its heart sits a statement bar framed by bottles of spirits and liqueurs, and chalkboards illustrating the eatery’s recommended cocktails and special dishes, much like you would see in a traditional Italian ristorante.

Food and Drink

To whet our palates, we began with an assortment of freshly made breads spanning focaccia, breadsticks and more that were best enjoyed with two housemade dips, one pesto-style and the other, a tomato-based dip. In true Italian fashion, we then moved onto the restaurant’s impressive Antipasto (THB 590). Perfect for groups, the platter consists of a variety of cheeses and cold cuts including generous portions of prosciutto and parma ham, as well as melon to cut through the ultra-savoury meats. It also boasts olives, artichokes, fresh tomatoes, and pickled veggies, all of which we continued nibbling on throughout our meal.

Surprised I wasn’t full by just the appetiser, I moved onto the mains beginning with the La parmigiana (THB 250 for small; THB 290 for regular), a dish of baked eggplant layered with cheese, a tangy and well-seasoned tomato sauce, and lots of basil. Fragrant enough to entice anyone, the dish was the epitome of comfort cuisine, combining simple ingredients into something stellar.

I then moved onto a few slices of pizza. The dedicated section in the menu offers a plethora of choices ranging from the traditional Margherita (THB 270/THB 290) to the spicy Diavola (THB 280/THB 390), and one of my personal favourites, Capricciosa (THB 290/THB 390). However, on this occasion we decided to take advantage of the option to customise our pizza, choosing one topped with salami, olives, mushrooms, and peppers.

To conclude the savoury portion of our meal, I then tucked into the Costolette di agnello (THB 1,150) a dish of juicy oven-baked New Zealand lamb chops served with fresh herbs, sautéed spinach, grilled tomatoes, and a rich gravy that we doused the meat with. Once again reiterating the restaurant’s commitment to elevating comfort food, the dish was packed with familiar flavours and delicious overall.

If you’re a dessert fan, we recommend ordering the Tiramisu (THB 340) as it certainly delivered, its creamy elements complemented perfectly by bold coffee notes. In regards to drinks, our time at Prego was spent sipping on some white wine, but the restaurant boasts a wide selection of refreshments include Italian beers, specifically Peroni; different types of spritzes that are perfect for a hot day sitting outside; sangria (alcoholic and non-alcoholic); and much more.

Masala Recommends

Chef Marco hit the nail on the head with his risotto recommendation, my favourite dish from the afternoon was definitely the Risotto gamberi (THB 350/THB 390), a traditional variation made with prawns and roasted cherry tomatoes. The Arborio rice was cooked to perfection, which gave the entire plate an incredible aroma from the stock. As a fan of seafood, this is definitely a risotto I would return to this restaurant for.

Lobby level, Amari Watergate Bangkok,
847 New Petchburi Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 Thailand
Open daily from 11am to 11pm
Tel: 02 653 9000
Facebook: @PregoBangkok

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