The Ao Nang – Klong Haeng Road is fast becoming Ao Nang’s very own “Gourmet Street”, lined with restaurants that are a cut above the general herd down at the beachfront. Starting at the top with the inimitable Carnivore, passing by The Hilltop and Lay Lae Seafood, and now ending with the brand new Italian restaurant, Umberto’s Cuisine, you can take a tempting cross-continental culinary journey in the space of a few hundred metres.Umberto’s is the latest, eponymous offering from Krabi’s star Italian chef, the culmination of more than a decade of catering to Ao Nang’s tourists and locals, starting with Lo Spuntino back in 2003, then his joint venture with Sala Bua and most recently the popular Red Devil, further inland (now closed). Umberto says he was ready to come back to the beach and jumped at the chance when offered the ground floor space at boutique hotel, Alisea.
The decor is distinctly Mediterranean, with a Moroccan influence, and the dining room is airy with high ceilings – perfect for housing the open pizza kitchen. A small outdoor terrace is available for those who go early.
The menu will be familiar to most of Umberto’s loyal followers: simple but well-prepared pizza, pasta, burgers, salads, grilled meats and seafood; some great antipasti combo plates; and of course his outstanding signature dish of fresh porcini risotto (420 baht). Whatever you choose, the best thing about Umberto’s (we can attest, having eaten his food regularly since the very beginning!) is that meals are consistently good – a rare thing in Ao Nang.Most pasta / pizza mains are around the 200 – 300 baht mark, with meat and seafood being proportionately higher, though still reasonable for this level of quality. New for this location is the 300g Wagyu beef steak (890 baht).
Wines (as everywhere in Thailand) are on the expensive side, but there is a good selection with more than a dozen wines under the 1500 THB mark. Finish off your meal with good Italian coffee or the standard tiramisu, gelato etc.
Also worth looking out for are Umberto’s weekly specials such as Salmone in crosta pane (whole salmon baked in bread) and his all-you-can-eat menu tasters – or special “health menus” – for those who love / hate carbs. These events are normally posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.