Pizzas with Panache – Ciccio Ristorante Pizzeria at Royal Muang Samui Villas stands out from the crowd when it comes to great taste.

ciccio

One of the first things you notice when you come to Samui is just how many Italian restaurants there are. OK, so they may be outnumbered by Thai places, but there’s so much Italian food on offer that Samui might be a part of Italy itself, at least from a culinary point of view. If you’re eating Italian, then you’re definitely spoiled for choice. Ciccio, however, can offer two things that make it the first choice for many diners: it has both an Italian chef, who focuses on just pizzas, and a special brick-built pizza oven.

Ciccio Ristorante & Pizzeria, on the main road in Choeng Mon, provides a setting that’s casual but well-thought-out; you’ll find a terrace where you can sit under the shade of trees overlooking a small pond. Your food is prepared just a few steps away in the kitchen, and from your table you’ll be able to see Chef Lorenzo Belloni at work. A glance inside the fiery depths of the pizza oven reveals a traditional design that hasn’t changed in much in hundreds of years, except that this one is equipped with gas jets as well as the usual hearty stock of wood. The pizzas are placed on the floor of the oven, while the rounded ceiling focuses the heat evenly. It’s obviously the best way to make pizzas and Chef Lorenzo is an ideal choice for making them. He’s Italian himself, grew up around the same kind of food that he makes for his guests, and underwent rigorous training to become a chef, including doing a separate cookery course on – guess what? How to make the perfect pizza!

ciccioThe dough he uses is naturally all-important, and is carefully prepared so its quality, texture and taste are all guaranteed to have the same perfect consistency. All the other ingredients – and there are many of them – are prime quality and come from top farms and suppliers in Thailand, or from Italy itself.

There’s a full range of pizzas on offer, including calzone, of course, and even a half folded-pizza which has both a richly filled interior and a topping. Lorenzo’s also named some of his pizzas after Italian fashion designers. For an inventive combination, opt for the Gucci, which consists of fior di latte mozzarella, wild boar sausage, broccoli and gruyère. Lorenzo has also re-worked some very Ciccio Ristorante & Pizzeria at Royal Muang Samui Villas stands out from the crowd when it comes to great taste.traditional pizzas. For example, try his Margharita di Bufala – here the centuries old popular recipe is enhanced by the use of top-quality buffalo mozzarella.

You can even design your own pizza. The menu contains a long list of extra toppings which you can order atop a Margharita pizza. With just this option alone, there would be enough variations possible for you to come back to the restaurant at least 20 times without ever eating the same pizza twice. Lorenzo makes them all, and is happy to take your wishes into consideration. He’s an approachable figure, and along with his whole team will do his utmost to make your time at Ciccio a happily memorable one.

But what if pizza’s just not your thing? This is definitely no problem at all, as Ciccio directly adjoins another restaurant, Sailor Samui. Or more correctly, you could say that the two restaurants share the same terrace. Since there’s no real division between the restaurants, you can sit where you like and ask to see menus from both places.

ciccioYou’ll find an array of tempting dishes from starters all the way through to desserts. There’s a whole array of other dishes, mainly Italian and Mediterranean, allowing you to enjoy delicacies such as penne al brandy, an exquisite combination of bacon and tomatoes, or a risotto verde, featuring island seafood or a tender lamb cutlet with rosemary and thyme and flavoured with a red wine sauce. Round off an evening at Ciccio with extremely tasty desserts such as a traditional tiramisu, fondant chocolate lava cake or a chocolate mousse.Ciccio Ristorante & Pizzeria at Royal Muang Samui Villas stands out from the crowd when it comes to great taste.

You’ll also find a range of both old world and new world wines on the menu. There are prices to suit every pocket, and naturally you can also order wine by the glass. There are also plenty of soft drinks, cocktails, beers and so on. Wednesday is a great day to come as the resort takes part in the town’s weekly night market, or ‘Walking Street’ as it’s called. With scores of vendors setting up stalls on the street right outside the restaurant, the atmosphere is wonderfully lively. It’s a delight to wander through the market and then take a seat at Ciccio, from where you can still see all the action.

If you’re looking for Italian pizza that’s as near to perfection as you can get, then you’ll know it’s only really possible if very traditional methods are used. Ciccio offers superb fare and a delightful place to spend a languid afternoon or evening (it’s open from 2:00 pm onwards). Last but not least, not only is the quality exceptionally high but the prices are very affordable. It’s hardly surprising that so many people make a beeline for this popular restaurant.

Dimitri Waring

For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 8700.
www.muangsamui.com