There are more and more Italian restaurants in Bangkok that focus on regional cuisine. Newcomer Via Emilia takes diners to Emilia-Romagna, one of Italy’s top food destinations.
As we travel the world more than ever before (well, pre-COVID anyway… and hopefully again soon), people increasingly want to dig deeper into regional culinary specialties in their hometowns.
Via Emilia presents food from Emilia-Romagna, a region in Italy that is surrounded by vast farmlands and the sea. All of the restaurant’s top-notch ingredients come from this region. To taste even simple things here, such as olive oil, was a blast. You can smell the freshness as soon as the bottle is opened and slowly poured onto your plate. We also enjoyed top-quality, hand-sliced prosciutto di Parma (yes, Parma is in this region), and it was one of the best I have ever had.
Via Emilia offers some dishes that I had never tasted before. One of my favourites was the slow-cooked pork sausage, which was simply presented on mashed potatoes and peas. The texture and taste were unique and fresh, as though they came right off the farm.
Instead of serving a normal pizza, they offered various prosciutto, vegetable, and stracchino soft cheese sandwiches that came in very thin pieces of bread. It is street food from the beach town Rimini, where you can find stalls as easily as you can find 7-Elevens here on the streets of Bangkok.
Another two favourites were the pasta dishes representing the produce of regions such as Parmigianino Reggiano and the local ham. Passatelli are delicious traditional dumplings, made out of bread crumbs, cheese and eggs, then pressed through a special mold until they become long but not quite thin. They served this dish in a very comforting capon broth (capon is a male chicken that had its vital “male parts” snipped off. I call them eunuchs.). The other pasta dish that I loved was tortellini, stuffed with cheese, mortadella and prosciutto. It came in a very flavourful but very light cream sauce that made me feel a bit less guilty to eat it all.
Part of the region is right by the Adriatic Sea (the right side of the boot), which is not the same as the Mediterranean side (the bottom of the boot) that we are all used to. Andrea Bernadi, the owner of Via Emilia, came up with the idea to serve seafood platters how he remembers them. The classic Adriatic seafood was steamed and marinated, then flavoured with parsley, the same way they serve it back in his hometown in Rimini. They also serve this in a grilled version, if you wish.
I never say no to dessert. I’d highly recommend that you try their version of cream caramel, which follows the recipe of Pellegrino Artusi, the author of the famous 1891 cook book, “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” (“Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well”), also known simply as “L’Artusi.” This is pretty much the gospel of Italian cooking. The dessert was delightful. It was rich, with a strong scent of vanilla and burnt caramel. I think it was divine.
Since we are celebrating food from this area, let us go all the way and explore their very own kind of red sparkling wine called Lambrusco, which was designed to be drunk young. It was tasty and offered a nice change from typical sparkling white, which can be found anywhere.
Last but not least, the restaurant’s design was simple yet welcoming. If you pay close attention, many decorative objects represent the area strongly. The big mural painting of an Italian road and building at the entrance makes you feel like you are somewhere in Italy, not specifically Emilia-Romagna, but definitely somewhere in Italy. The idea of traditional textile printing from Italy’s Adriatic Riviera coast was used beautifully on many decorative elements, such as lamp shades and wall-hung art pieces. It was special to see all these.
Places like this add more value to our community. I feel like I learned so much about the region in one evening, and the restaurant made me want to search more online and even plan a visit there when that becomes possible again.
VIA EMILIA Italian Restaurant
Opening hours from 11:30am until 9pm
Tel: 026764466 / Mobile: 0931388373
Official line: viaemiliabkk