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Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, only five minutes walk from the night bazaar, you'll find Piccola Roma Palace, serving fine Italian cuisine since 1997 in this Charoenprathet Road location. The name means Little Roma, because Angelo Faro is originally from Rome. In addition the logo of the restaurant is also two wolves as depicted in the Symbol of Rome.

When Angelo and Marisa moved to Chiang Mai, it was because Angelo wanted to retire from a busy life of travelling. But as the gregarious couple developed friendship with many local residents, Angelo was urged to open a restaurant offering the level of food world travelers have come to expect as found in Italy.

The couple are the type of people who like to stay busy in their interesting and rewarding life-style. And for now, serving their customers with good food and pleasant conversation makes all very happy.

The restaurant has a subdued, relaxed setting where one can listen to opera matching the elegant mood of the meal. The interior is of warm woods and brass with fine paintings on the walls such as a valuable Picasso and another by French artist Braquet. Other delightful additions hanging on the walls are the brass instruments that were a great find for Angelo in the second hand shops of Amsterdam.

Inside, the main salon on the first floor are 12 tables. The second floor offers private rooms for reservation to entertain dignitaries and private meetings with friends, movie stars. Also, the outside open air dining area with 12 tables has been created for guests comfort who enjoy smoking with their meal.

Through the fifteen years of owning restaurants in Chiang Mai, Angelo and Marisa have made many friends. Such as a group of Japanese golfers who regularly bring Angelo fresh Kobe beef to prepare for their monthly party at the restaurant.

The wine cellar has selections from around the world: Italy, Spain, Portugal, California, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand plus even more countries. With 70,000 bottles in storage, there's a selection for every wine enthusiast who will savor fine wines while lingering over a fine meal.

Angelo uses only fresh tomatoes, never canned tomato paste. Along with fresh vegetables from the Royal Project, typical herbs are the very basis of Italian cooking such as basil, sage, parsley. Some dishes require thyme but it is used sparingly according to individual taste of the guest. Using the best virgin olive oil imparts the subtle flavors of Italian food.

Popular starters are Antipasto Piccola Roma, a combination plate of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parma ham, salami, mushroom, artichoke, and olives in virgin olive oil. The second choice, recently introduced, is fresh luscious Scallop cocktail served with pink mayonnaise and topped with Danish caviar with egg slices.

Diners can look forward to more special types of seafood along with fish offered namely red tuna, blue tuna, swordfish, and white snapper served in combination plate with pasta. Seafood comes from the gulf rimming the many countries in southeast Asia. Shrimp known in Thai as "Goong Shabouy" is served in a starter cocktail or deep fried.

Meat specialties imported from abroad are accompanied by garden fresh vegetables from the Royal Projects of Chiangmai's mountains and valleys. The hosts have noticed that Europeans prefer to enjoy beef as main course and now Piccola Roma Palace serves Argentine beef, enticingly grilled and served natural. Guests are free to add peppercorn or mushroom sauce according to their own taste preference.

A meal should start with Salad Raclette with parmesan cheese, Artichoke salad, or green mixed salad served with vinegarette.

Traditional Italian dishes would be too many to mention in this article. In Rome alone there are 20,000 recipes. When it comes to pasta, guests have plenty of choices to order. The younger generation considers Pesto a popular topping for pasta. However, judging the orders from diners, the preference for tomato sauce is 60% and for white sauce is 40%. Guests can always count on fresh fettucine, ravioli, canelloni, rotellini and gnoccehitti made in the kitchen of Piccola Roma. But for those who want to try more unusual pasta, Angelo stocks a large selection of selected Italian brands.

In the quiet of the night, Angelo is inspired to create dishes using the fresh ingredients of the season. Guests are always welcome to ask Angelo what the specialty of the day is and the meal will be super special.

Desserts include Tiramisu, Profiteroles and Italian ice cream. Coffee, plus an after meal beverage completes a memorable meal of authentic Italian food. No service charge added.

Look for Piccola Roma Palace at the corner of Charoenprathet and Sridornchai Roads (near Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel). For reservations and free transportation please call Tel. 053 820297-8.

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