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La Taverna Restaurant in Samui

Chaweng Restaurants & Dining

Secreted away on a back street near Soi Mango, La Taverna is in reality two restaurants in one. With a large air-conditioned, traditional interior dining room and a corridor-like outside space lit by an electric-blue neon arrangement, the two areas couldn’t be more different. Some less-than-generous souls would call the outside area downright dark and the fact that the wait staff all wear black doesn’t exactly help those leaning towards the myopic. Still, there was just enough light to read the menu by and it revealed that La Taverna serves classical Italian dishes in the old school manner.

Pizzas here are notably large and top-heavy with rich additions while grilled lamb chops imported from Australia come with mashed potatoes and zuchini to add an Italian afterthought. A very Italian dish in its own right is the seafood spaghetti while the house wine comes in a generous portion when served by the glass.

Carlo, the effusive owner, is the heart and soul of this place and is ever present to make sure that your chosen dishes are up to scratch and to present diners with a shot of grappa or limoncello at the end of their meals. The wine list at La Taverna not surprisingly stays almost exclusively to Italian labels and – a nice touch – beer is served in pewter mugs. At Taverna you’ll also find a (well-lit and air-conditioned) bar to the side with classy bucket-style seating and two large-screen TVs showing two separate sports.

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Judging by its size (the restaurant can handle 100 covers) La Taverna wouldn’t necessarily seem that intimate but Carlos’s personal touch goes a great deal towards making the place more like an everyday trattoria rather than a spacious tropical attempt at recreating an Italian atmosphere.

Food portions are generous and stay on the beaten path of traditionalism rather than straying off into fusion territory and this again works to good effect. Surprisingly, with such a conventional approach to its cuisine, you won’t hear a single mandolin here – the outside section is bathed in spacey, ambient music. Don’t expect bargain basement prices, rather those that reflect the quality of the imported items.

La Taverna

  • Opening Hours: 12:00 – when the last customer leaves
  • Location: Down the Soi next to Full Circle, near Soi Green Mango
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