By : MELISSA RICHTER
21 February 2019
L’Opera Italian Restaurant & Reserva Wine Bar is a Bangkok restaurant with a historic legacy. First opened in 1983, this family-friendly eatery is practically an institution, with generations of patrons who have passed through its doors and made lasting memories over the years. Despite its longevity, L’Opera has had only two owners since its inception and remains in the same location on Sukhumvit Soi 39.
Undoubtedly, the venue is showing its age a bit in areas like the restrooms and bar, but for many, it evokes a sense of “old school charm”, because much of the decor has remained unchanged. It is the antithesis of “open concept” with several distinct and separate dining areas accented by a dark and moody ambience with low ceilings in some places, high ceilings in other spaces and “atrium” like dining area ensconced with glass. You will find traditional Italian decor elements such as starched white linens and ruby red taper candles flickering on every table. Exposed red brick statement walls, colorful kaleidoscope-inspired lamp shades, wrought iron accents, and a mix of antique dark wood furniture all conspire to create a relaxing environment. “People love to come here to celebrate special occasions, birthday’s and holiday’s such Valentine’s Day. We are happy to see the same faces over the years, and we do have plans to do some renovations,” shared Bjorn Sidfeldt; General Manager and our host for the evening, “We will be adding an outside terrace garden area soon. We have noticed that the preferences of our clients have changed over the years, and nowadays people want to be able to sit outside and enjoy their meal”.
One of the things L’Opera is famous for is their impressive award-winning selection of both old and new world wines. They have an easy-to-understand wine rating guide to help you pick out the ideal bottle of wine to enjoy by itself, or with your meal. They also serve a few wines by the glass or carafe although the real gems are sold by the bottle. We recommend you start your meal off with a bubbly glass of sparkling Prosecco or easy drinking white wine such as the Fuchs Grüner Veltliner, 2015 from Austria. We enjoyed this with their signature appetizer of thinly sliced raw soy-marinated Tuna with Green Apple, Shallots, Diced Tomatoes, and Spring Onions. Open for both lunch and dinner, they have an extensive menu of classic Italian fare with soup, salads, pasta, pizza and main courses with both meat and seafood represented.
Most guests just ask for the specials of the day or order off the menu as the kitchen can easily accommodate requests. Without a doubt, our favorite dish of the night was the Squid Ink Risotto with Deep-fried Squid & Sour Cream. The rice was nicely cooked, the crispy calamari added a welcoming contrasting texture and it was dramatically plated and pleasing to the eye. We also sampled their Home-made Tagliatelle w/ Wild Boar Ragout and the Home-made Ravioli Stuffed w/ Spinach & Ricotta Cheese in Cream Sauce. For red wine, we highly recommend the Portada Winemaker’s Selection, 2015 from Portugal which is a delightfully spicy and drinkable varietal and enhanced the pasta dishes. We tried the Pizza L’Opera which is a delicious white pizza made with mozzarella, black truffle paste, mascarpone, and sliced beef tenderloin. We also ordered the Pizza Parma which is tomato, mozzarella, Parma ham, mascarpone, and rocket leaves. We were a bit disappointed to learn that the pizza was NOT baked in their wood burning oven even though they had one on the premises. The flavor was there on both of them, but the crust was soggy in places, and tasted a bit like a cracker and could have really been elevated if cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Without a doubt, they offer warm service, accessible cuisine that is familiar and an exceptional wine cellar. L’Opera is a legendary venue with its own unique sense of style and charm that keep guests coming back year after year.