Just a few kilometres from the buzz of Nimmanhaemin, you are transported through a wonderful tree lined entrance to The Zest Italian Restaurant, offering a unique fine dining experience in a tranquil setting. To find fresh homemade Italian cuisine in such a private sanctuary, makes this arguably the best Italian restaurant in Chiang Mai.
Head Chef Kang has been sharing his passion and culinary gifts with The Zest guests since the official opening of the restaurant almost four years ago. Although trained and capable in delivering Thai cuisine, Chef Kang has spent the majority of his career focusing on Italian food and has received mentorship from some of the industry’s most experienced chefs. Whilst dining on Chef Kang’s culinary creations, you can almost taste his zest for Italian cuisine, while the service from the English-speaking waitstaff is second-to-none.
An absolute must-try for anyone visiting The Zest is the Crab Meat Au Gratin appetizer; most requested dish and for a good reason. Dip your fork into the golden mozzarella topping to find a delectable, creamy mix of fresh crab meat and onion with a flavourful punch. Homemade pasta dishes should also not be missed; the Black Ink Spaghetti with Lobster is a speciality not easy to come by in Chiang Mai and highly recommended. Diners with a sweet tooth should leave some room for the delicious chocolate mousse which is rich and creamy, just how the Italians like it.
With a wide variety of homemade pasta, al dente risotto, thin-crusted pizza, local and imported meats, quality seafood, crispy salad dishes, and classic Italian desserts, it’s possible to visit multiple times and satisfy your taste buds with different dishes every time.
Although the food is undoubtedly authentic Italian, the atmosphere offers sophistication with elegant Lanna (Northern Thai) architecture and décor. Whilst outdoor seating provides a nice garden setting under handmade bamboo umbrellas, the indoor area presents a modern feel with traditional teak colours and tones. Seating for twenty-two people makes the premises suitable for small group get-togethers or intimate meetings.
The atmosphere’s intercultural fusion extends further to perhaps their most outstanding drawcard – The Zest’s speciality Tom Yum cocktail. The thought of a traditional spicy Thai soup in the form of a cocktail might cause some to squirm but this unique concoction offers a pleasant surprise which you would be lucky to find elsewhere.
Served with fresh chillies on the side, Malibu offers a soft coconut aroma and perfect base for some of Tom Yum’s key ingredients, such as lemongrass, chilli, ginger and kaffir lime leaf. Combined, these ingredients create an incredibly refreshing drink which is hard to put down after the initial sip. In search of fine dining and Italian cooking, you can’t go past The Zest Italian Restaurant in Chiang Mai with their dedication to authentic cuisine, private setting and top quality service. Whether it be a sophisticated midday lunch or romantic evening dinner, the trained staff will welcome you with a Thai smile and bold Italian flavours.