A few yearsback, the main stretch of soi Ari (Phaholyothin 7) became known as one of the city’s most promising food hubs. Now, the parallel soi, Ari Samphan, is starting to gain equal prominence, clustered with an array of new restaurants. One in the growing long list is Cantina Wine Bar and Italian Kitchen, the one and only Italian establishment in the neighborhood.
Run by the people behind Sukhumvit hotspots like Above Eleven, Charcoal and Havana Social, Cantina seems unassuming from the outside, but a contradictory scenario hits you when you walk in. The candle lit enclave is decked out with medieval details, giving the venue the feel of an underground church in Europe. One wall holds a tall wooden wine rack – it extends up to the darker and more intimate second floor – that stores premium bottles.
The menu offers simple, produce-driven Italian favorites that deliver on-point flavor. You have a selection of bruschetta (from B230) and a variety of Neapolitan-style pizza. Try the cheese-loaded mascarpone e tartufo (B520), which is topped with mascarpone, mozzarella and San Daniele ham, and drizzled with white and black truffle oil.
Pasta spans simple carbonara (B240) to a lasagna that is whipped up following a family recipe. The homemade approach also carries into impressive desserts like tiramisu (B180) and panna cotta (B150), which are both served in hefty portions.
Co-owner Mathew Milotich is certified a sommelier so you can trust him to recommend the best wine to go with your meal. The selection is mainly dedicated to a selection from Italy, as well as bottles from unexpected countries such as Slovenia (try Edi Simcic Giocato Merlot, B170 by glass). The bar also serves Italian lager Menabrea on tap (B130/B260) and signature cocktails like the Negroni Shakerato (B280), which combines gin, campiri and vermouth.