Feb 24 2011
Update January 2012:
Taking over a successful restaurant, keeping the exact same menu, increasing prices and employing totally new kitchen and waiting staff doesn’t sound common business sense to us and the cliche ‘recipe for disaster’ springs to mind. Logically you keep at least a couple of key staff members to smooth over transition but in this case every apology from any of the hapless staff was accompanied with ‘it’s my first day’. Well that’s not the customer’s problem and every single order – either drink or food and either placed in Thai or English was wrong. Starters came before main courses, 1 guy waited 1 hr and 40 minutes for a steak which was baked in an oven whilst a pizza was fried in a frying pan. Upon ordering wine and 4 glasses I was presented with all 4 glasses of wine myself and none for anyone else. I even asked the waiter if the manager’s name was Mr Bean – it was so bad it was funny – but could no longer recommend the place even to my worst enemy (well maybe 1 or 2). Maybe it will improve – though it’s got a long long way to go but in the meantime take the below with a large pinch of salt (though careful ‘cos the waitress will undoubtedly give you sugar instead!)
Hugely popular with Chiang Mai’s expat community (even JC’s a regular – that’s Lonely Planet’s Joe Cummings, not the other one), you’ll practically never see a tourist at Pasta Café. That fact might have something to do with its tucked away location in the expat land of Nimmanhemin, but we thought it might be worth spreading the word anyway.
Pasta Cafe is unusual in that it’s a Thai-run restaurant serving reasonably authentic and well-prepared international cuisine, concentrating as the name implies, on Italian dishes. So you won’t find any green curry pizzas — in fact you won’t find any pizzas at all — nor ketchup in your spag bol sauce! The wide range of pasta dishes are copious in size, tasty and excellent value for money, which is probably why the place is always so popular with English teachers and NGO workers.
A very pleasant terrace area is set in an attractive garden, or you can sit in the interior air-con area. Service is good too, with English-speaking staff.
Wine’s cheap, desserts are particularly good and for a three-course dinner for two you wouldn’t really need to pay more than 1,500 baht including a bottle of half-decent plonk.
To be clear: It’s nothing fancy, and I’m sure Italians wouldn’t be convinced, but this is certainly a good address for a cheap and cheerful Western meal.
A tuk tuk from downtown would set you back around 80-100 baht, though on your way back you’d probably need to walk to the end of the soi to flag one down. Try checking out one or some of the multitude of Thai student bars that litter the adjacent streets on your way back!
21 Nimmanhemin Soi 5, Chiang Mai
T: (053) 357 310
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00-14:30 and 17:00-22:00
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.