Café Pitini on Soi Buakhao has long been a favorite of farang tourists and residents for consistently good food at reasonable prices. It's an attractive and comfortable place to have a meal, casual dining in the best sense of the phrase.
However, there are rough spots on the menu, with a big gap between the top and bottom items. Most meals there have been good, but a few were disappointing. The menu is extensive, running the gamut of international dishes found in a lot of farang-oriented Pattaya restaurants. The emphasis is on British comfort food, but there's also hamburgers, pasta, pizza, steak, panini and the customary Thai dishes. Café Pitini is also noted for its ice cream and other desserts that are several notches higher than what's usually found in Pattaya.
It features daily specials on popular dishes, with 20 or 30 baht knocked off the ordinary menu price. I tried the spaghetti bolognese, which if I remember right is the Wednesday special at 179 baht. It was very good, far better than much of the "spag bol" available in Pattaya. The sauce was closer to a traditional ragù alla bolognese than what's usually put on spaghetti in Pattaya or elsewhere outside of Italy.
Basically, ragù alla bolognese is a meat-based sauce, usually ground beef these days. It doesn't have a heavy tomato taste. Classic bolognese sauce is not served on spaghetti, but on tagliatelle or a ribbed pasta like penne. What is widely called spaghetti bolognese outside Italy is actually spaghetti with a generic Italian tomato sauce to which ground beef has been added, hence the bolognese connection. Kudo to Pitini for keeping things real.
It was a good-sized portion and with the three pieces of freshly toasted garlic bread, made a very filling meal.
The panini (bacon, egg, sausage and cheese) at 150 baht was excellent, probably the best panini I've had in Pattaya. It was made with high quality ingredients and real ciabatta (bread) that had been appropriately grilled and not squashed.
I also appreciated the lack of dressing on the fresh cabbage and lettuce, but that's just my preference. I'm sure others would have preferred dressing.
The menu sports a half dozen different types of panini. A panini at Pitini is perfect as a light lunch or evening snack.
was less impressed with the Sunday special roast dinner at 159 baht. There was a choice of beef, chicken or pork and mashed or roast potatoes. I went with pork and mashed potatoes..
The sides were good, with the Yorkshire pudding among the better I've had in Pattaya. I ate at Pitini at 7.00 p.m. and the Yorkshire was fresh out of the oven. It hadn't been standing all day and re-warmed. The menu proclaimed the meal came with Bisto gravy.
For non-Brits, Bisto is a meat-flavored gravy product in powder or granule form to which boiling water is added. The name is an acronym for "Browns, Seasons and Thickens in One." It made me chuckle because the original raggedy Bisto Kids would have fit right in on Soi Buakhao, although maybe not in Pitini.
The pork was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn't bad, bit it had most likely come from a cylinder of precooked and pre-sliced industrial pork. It was almost flavorless and I was glad for the Bisto gravy, even though it tasted as out-of-a-packet as gravy can get.
An older British guy sitting nearby said I should have ordered the chicken instead. I could see from his plate the chicken was a large piece of breast meat. If I ever have the Sunday special at Pitini again, that's what I'll order.
I also tried the Saturday steak special at Pitini and reviewed it in the Steak in Pattaya thread. I don't think the steak was value for money at 289 baht.
Bottom line: The food at Pitini is generally good, but some menu items can be below par. In the future, I'll probably stick to the Italian-inspired dishes. The ice cream sundaes and other desserts look great, but I don't eat much sweet stuff these days. Thai girls rave about them.