A spate of restaurants and bars have been opening in Thonglor this year but only very few have managed to make us burble over with excitement like this humble pasta joint by husband-and-wife restaurateurs Choti and Debby Leenutaphong, the driving forces behind two of the city’s most acclaimed upscale dining institutions: Vesper and Il Fumo.
While we can compare Vesper and Il Fumo to middle-aged Italians with a delicate taste for sophisticated cuisine, La Dotta can be seen as a youngster with a strong passion for rustic Italian cooking traditions. Tucked away in the sleepy alley of Soi Thonglor 9, the refurbished shophouse-eatery is dressed in eye-popping blue, making it distinct from the rather rundown shops and apartments on the soi. The first floor features an open kitchen, where you can watch a team of chefs prepare the food right in front of your eyes, while the second floor has a more spacious dining area and a small bar.
Sicilian chef Giampiero Quartararo leads the kitchen with help from Vesper and Il Fumo's head chefs, and whips up a menu that puts a spotlight on pasta made from scratch with Khao Yai-sourced yolky duck eggs and Italian-made flour. Priced reasonably with no service charge, these succulent dishes would make you want to ditch your favorite ramen joints in the soi for Quartararo’s creations. Here you’ll find various kinds of pasta paired with the selected sauce that are meticulously designed to enhance the overall flavor. Tortelloni is filled with intense flavor from four different cheeses, served on Parmegiano-Reggiano fondue (B340), while ribbon-liked tagliatelle comes with wagyu bolognese sauce topped with Parmesan (B590). Apart from freshly made options, the restaurant also makes use of high-quality dried pasta imported from Italy, like paccheri. At La Dotta, these tube pasta is laden with crab meat, cherry tomatoes and basil (B540).
Dessert options see mouth-watering Nutella-filled bombolini (Italian donuts, B190), which is also available at Vesper and Il Fumo, almond cake (B190) and Sicilian-style ice cream (B160 in flavors like lemon and pistachio).
Unlike Vesper and Il Fumo which aim toward booze-heavy cocktails, the bar manager Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana came up with refreshing Italian-inspired items that make use of freshly pressed juice. A variation on martini veers away from a spirit-centric approach and is transformed into La Dotta Martini (B340), which mixes strawberry- and cherry tomato-infused gin with Carpano Bianco and a hint of Peychaud's Bitters. The Zenzero Spritzer (B340) is fortified by Aperol and sweetened by ginger and red apple juice, and sparkling wine. For G&T fans, try Tanqueray infused with a variety of Ronnefeldt loose tea and Fever Tree tonics (B320).