If enjoying great food is all part and parcel of your holiday, you’ll want to experience the truly amazing variety that Samui offers as a major gastronomic destination. With many of the world’s cuisines strongly represented, it comes as no surprise that Italian fare is to be found in every part of Samui. And since pizzas are undoubtedly the best loved of all Italian foods, the island’s restaurants bake hundreds upon hundreds every day.
But as we know, not all pizzas are created equal. Pizza formulas look so easy. Read through a few, get out your rolling pin and you can turn out your own pizza at home, with varying results. Maybe the dough will be a bit leathery and the toppings might be way too bland, but, yes, you’ll have a pizza to eat. Restaurants, of course, do much better. But when it comes to a pizza that’s more than mouth-watering, very few places can offer quality that really excels. And with Asia hardly sounding much of a pizza destination, most people don’t even expect so much from a pizza here.
However, on Samui you can find dedicated pizzerias that go way beyond any usual standards, and which can safely be termed excellent – the pizzas really do match what you’d find in Italy. At Marzano Pizzeria, the number of repeat visitors testifies to the exceptional performance of the chef here. You’ll find a select but highly appetizing menu of pizzas; each of the offerings ensures that all the boxes are ticked when it comes to extremely high-quality food. For a start the food and beverage team have scoured not just Thailand but Italy itself for the best ingredients. Wherever possible, they’re local,
meaning from the island itself – Samui has been quietly upping its status as a supplier of organic foods, and you’ll find that the produce is truly tasty.
Health-conscious diners are also glad to know that the pizzas come with plenty of herbs, often whole leaves of basil. And never mind the health aspect; they actually taste great, too. The pizzas at Marzano pay tribute to the best Italian traditions,
those of the Neapolitans. Pizza, which at first was no more than a basic food for the poor, was given a complete makeover by the Neapolitans. The results impressed Queen Margherita, who endorsed the dish that now bears her name. The recipe that she approved of calls for red San Marzano tomatoes along with mozzarella and basil. Marzano continues the tradition, using the same Neapolitan-style preparations. It’s even named after the famed tomatoes.
The pizzas are so fresh from the oven that the chef has to take care not to burn his fingers on them. He adroitly flips them onto a plate and brings them straight to your table. You can see the pizza oven on display as it’s really part of the dining room. Check out its fiery interior – it’s kept to just the right heat so that each pizza can be perfectly cooked.
You’ll find the vibe here at Marzano to be perfectly friendly; it’s definitely one of those places where people come to chill out. (No needto buy any food, by the way, just come for a cocktail or a long drink.) There are stools by a long table that fronts the beach just a step away – they make a great place for people watching. The main dining room is extremely spacious and has a slight retro-industrial feel to it whilst being extremely comfortable.
Upstairs you’ll find further seating, with more of a lounge feel, and a balcony that looks over the sea. It’s the perfect place to hold a party or event of more or less any kind. Access is separate; the upper floor has its own staircase, allowing the
venue to be turned into a very private affair, should you need it to be.
Some people wander into Marzano as they’re already on the beach – they just step up into the restaurant – while others seek it out. Whatever, it’s really conveniently located, being opposite Starbucks in Central Festival.
If you walk through from Central Festival (you can park your car for free here), you’ll find a lane that takes you down to the resort itself, and then you’re in a completely unexpected world. Giant trees, perhaps a hundred years old, festooned with creepers, greenery everywhere and a path that meanders down to the sea and to Marzano. It definitely feels like a place to relax. The restaurant’s open all day, with a single menu covering lunch, dinner and everything in between.
The tomato, cheese and basil trio at Marzano is extremely vibrant, and certainly good enough to change all your perceptions about what makes a great pizza. The dough that forms the base is a simple mix, but like everything here, it’s done exactly right; no single ingredient predominates at the expense of any other. It’s masterfully thought out and executed, and you’ll wonder how the chef did it.
Try the signature Pizza Margherita. It comes with plenty of rocket leaves. Both crisp and moist at the same time, it’s a delight to eat. If you’d like something spicier, opt for the Diavola, which has strips of chunky spicy salami. These are just two
of the possibilities, but what all the pizzas have in common is that they’re lighter on the stomach than they would normally be, yet with no loss of flavour. However, there are a couple of items on the menu that have definitely been thought up for the hungry among you: Marzano also offers the delicious Tronchetto, which is a rolled pizza, filled with different cheeses and then there’s the Montanara, where the pizza is actually deep-fried before the topping gets added.
Needless to say, Marzano stocks some great and affordable wines to go with the food. You’ll not be disappointed.
Last but not least, if you’ve finished your main course and still want more pizza, then you can have one as a dessert. This one, however, is completely different: it’s coated with lashings of Nutella and then dusted with icing sugar. Then there are the maraschino cherries. Definitely to be shared, this pizza really hits all the right spots. If this is not for you, then no worries at all, as the menu contains traditional temptations such as tiramisu and panna cotta.
Not surprisingly Marzano is getting top billing as a place to go when you’re after pizza. With its relaxed atmosphere – guests always seem to be lingering as there’s never the slightest rush to move on – and delicious food, you’ll be hard put
to limit yourself to just one pizza. And the nice surprise at the end is that it’s all surprisingly affordable.
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7733 2855.