Who needs another Italian restaurant? It seems that everywhere you go you’ll see the ubiquitous red-green-and-white tricolore next to over-excited signage hyperbole claiming the ‘Best pizza in town’.
To some, a pizza is merely a romanticized sandwich, to others it’s a blank sheet of crusty culinary A4 on which to create an artistic blend of flavours and textures. Be that as it may, there are some trattorias and pizzerias that take themselves extremely seriously – one such Italian establishment is Toto Italian Restaurant.
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With what can only be described as rustic, deep-pink walls Toto is making a statement.
Brick arches, tiled floors, subdued lighting, a reproduction of Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and chunky wooden tables with red tablecloths and white napkins all add up to a classic theme.
A lighter-coloured, alfresco and open-sided dining section lies across the road near the car park.
With the restaurant being a Chianti-bottle’s throw away from the Laguna you can be sure to hear a plethora of languages at Toto and the international mix is complete with 100% long-term Thai staff members.
On the evening we went a Russian contingent was in, their guttural soon replaced by the rounded vowels of a group of Sydneysiders. By early evening the place is in full swing and the orders fly fast.
Toto boasts a 106-label international wine list heavily featuring Italian wine-growing regions but also with French, New Zealand, Chilean and Argentinean choices.
Prices range from 990 baht Chilean Mont Gras to a 33,000 baht 1996 Tenuta San Guido, a Tuscan ‘super wine’ so whether you’re brewstered or broke there’ll be something for you.
Toto’s ambitiously long menu covers all the Italian culinary bases and all the old favourites are here: pizzas, pastas, antipastos, salads, desserts and a mixed cheese plate are all confidently handled and well presented.
This is not fine dining as such but it is certainly the genuine article with homemade desserts and pastas, imported meats as well as a good variety of soups and spaghetti-and-pasta sauces.
Spaghetti carbonara is perfectly al dente, as is the pesto ravioli. Sea bass in salt crust with vegetable cartoccio is wholesome and a good choice, while the pizza prosciutto di Parma a real filler.
As mentioned, most of the staff members at Toto have been working there for quite a while and as a result the place has a quietly professional air to it.
Where Is It?
Toto is in Cherng Talay, near Bangtao Beach in Tinlay Place to be precise.
Head towards Laguna Complex, take a left at the two-way fork at the traffic lights and you’ll see a cluster of restaurants on the right. Toto is in amongst them.
Toto Italian Restaurant
- Location: Tinlay Place, Cherng Talay
- Tel: 076 271 430