We all like to hear some good news, and here is some great news! The second phase of a total renovation of one of Samui’s finest restaurants was finally completed in July. It’s even bigger and better than it was before (making it ideal for small events/functions too) with a totally new design and an exciting new menu offering a contemporary take on rustic Italian cuisine. Welcome back Prego!
In fact, the only things that aren’t brand new (thankfully) are the highly-trained yet friendly staff and the inimitable executive chef, Marco Boscaini, who’s been an integral part of Prego since day-one, back in August 2003. What Chef Marco doesn’t know about Italian cooking really isn’t worth knowing and the new menu with its rustic ‘country-style’ cuisine couldn’t be more authentic even if it was served in Tuscany itself. And not only does most of the produce (including the water) come directly from Italy, but much of the crockery and silverware does too!
We’ll come back to the cuisine again shortly but first you’d better know where the restaurant is, and that’s opposite Amari Koh Samui, on the northern part of Chaweng Beach Road. Prego can seat around 200 people in its various sections, and these include a smart bar with comfortable lounge on the street frontage immediately to the left as you enter (which is a great place for stopping by and having an expertly prepared cocktail – courtesy of a top mixologist), and a dining area to the right, next to the pizza station with its very own authentic wood-fired pizza oven.
As you proceed inwards, you’ll find even more dining options, with both the more classic ‘upright’ chairs and tables and the more relaxed semi-sofa-style ones, each in their own ‘area’ complete with individual styling elements. There are even two fully-air-conditioned dining rooms which are separated from the main open-on-three-sides restaurant itself by a novel glass wine cellar ‘walls’ which encases Prego’s fabulous 70-label wine collection comprising both Italian and New World varieties that are not only selected for their taste but also for their great ‘value-for-money’.
So now we’ve found out where there is to eat, let’s discover what there is to eat! As I mentioned earlier, the cuisine at Prego is now officially classified as ‘a contemporary take on rustic Italian’. And what this means in ‘real life’ is that the food tastes like it’s been cooked in a Tuscan restaurant using secret recipes that have been handed down generation-to-generation. And with Chef Marco sharing several of his own family’s favourite dishes, classic Italian dining just doesn’t get better!
For starters, the imported Burrata Cheese (which incorporates a fresh mozzarella from Puglia) on marinated tomato is simply fabulous, as is the Salsiccia in Insalata – a grilled Italian sausage with fresh rocket, dried tomato and pine nut. And a dinner at Prego just has to include either the I Pici di Chef Marco, which is a Tuscan pasta that’s been personally hand-rolled by Chef Marco, with a Chianti wine beef ragout and pecorino cheese, or the Fettuccine Nere ai Sapori di Mare – a house-made squid-ink black fettuccine with fresh local seafood and sun-fried tomato sauce.
Particularly recommended main course dishes are the Costolette di Agnello – an oven-baked rack of New Zealand lamb and fresh herbs served with sautéed spinach and grilled tomatoes, and the Grigliata di Pesce – a freshly-caught seafood platter that’s been grilled and served with lemon, thyme, rosemary and garlic potatoes.
“… and the cuisine is now officially classified as ‘a contemporary take on rustic Italian’.”
And for dessert, the Crostata di Mele – oven-baked apple pie served with homemade vanilla ice-cream is one of Prego’s delicious new creations and is well worth trying. But Chef Marco’s new presentation of his own favourite dessert, Tiramisu, and using original Illy coffee, has already proved to be the most popular – for many excellent reasons!
As to be expected of such an excellent restaurant, there’s a great wineand drinks list too. There’s even a bottle selection of Prego’s unique Italian Craft Beer, with the renowned Birra del Borgo being on tap, which is sure to keep all beer-drinkers more than happy.
Before closing, a big mention must be made of the fact that not only does Prego welcome vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements – it actually embraces them! As to be expected of a restaurant of this standard, there’s a full vegetarian and gluten-free menu available with exciting and tasty creations. But where Prego goes over and beyond the normal expectations is that it has its own vegan cheese and cream which means that it can produce fabulous gluten-free pizzas that taste exactly like the ‘real’ thing. In fact, pretty much every dish available on the main menu has a vegetarian/gluten-free counterpart. Now that is what you call looking after your diners and is yet another reason why Prego is back up there at the top.
Yes, normal service at Prego has certainly been resumed – but this time it’s in ultra-HD!
Prego is open from 12:00 noon until 12:00 midnight.
For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7730 0317.