I have positive and negative observations about Volare. I'll mention the positive first. The Volare is an inviting and attractive restaurant in which to have a meal. The staff is friendly and attentive. The menu is extensive and includes some Italian dishes not frequently seen in Pattaya. It also features some Thai standards and international dishes like hamburgers.
Prices for the Italian dishes (salads, appetizers, pasta, pizza, etc) are reasonable for what you get. Some of the non-Italian meat dishes, like steak and lamb chops, get into the 600- to 800-baht range, but I don't go to an Italian restaurant for such dishes. It's currently open 24/7 and offers an English breakfast at 130 baht, but again, Volare wouldn't be a natural choice for me for any sort of breakfast.
Of the three dishes I have had at Volare, the first suffered from a miss in the kitchen, while the other two were excellent.
On my first post-renovation visit, I ordered tortellini pomodoro (tortellini in a tomato sauce). Tortellini is a filled, ring-shaped pasta also called navel, i.e. belly-button, pasta thanks to its appearance and the legendary story of its origin. According to popular tradition, tortellini was the result of an Italian innkeeper peeping through a keyhole at a female guest. He only caught a glimpse of her navel, but it turned him on so much that instead of whacking off, he ran to the kitchen and invented tortellini.
The filling most often used in tortellini is finely ground pork that's a bit bland by intention to highlight the broth or sauce with which it's served. The tomato-and-mince-meat sauce that covered the tortellini was fresh and vibrant, no complaints on my part. However, a couple of the pieces of tortellini were hard and dry on the outside. That's a sign they had been cooked in advance but hadn't been covered properly, so that they dried on top.
It was a silly mistake, as tortellini only takes about 10 minutes to cook in boiling water. it certainly detracted from the meal, but not enough to deter me from returning for a second try. If all the pieces of tortellini had been freshly cooked, it would have been a great meal.
I ordered the paccheri al pomodoro, basilico e ricotta (paccheri with tomato, basil and ricotta cheese) on my second visit. Paccheri is a very large tubular pasta, sort of what macaroni would look like if it could suffer from giantism.
Paccheri occupies a special place in Italian culinary history. In a groundbreaking cookbook from 1839, a recipe for paccheri al pomodoro is one of the first published Italian recipes to call for a tomato sauce on pasta. Today we consider tomato-based sauces to be synonymous with Italian cuisine, but they are actually a relatively recent addition, dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s. The tomato was introduced to Italy in the mid-1500s from Mexico via Spain. However, it took another 250 years for the tomato to catch on as a widely used ingredient in Italian kitchens.
Paccheri dishes aren't often encountered outside Italy, so I was eager to try Volare's version. This time, the dish didn't let me down. Both the sauce and ricotta cheese were excellent and the collapsed tubes of paccheri supported the flavors well.
This time, everything clicked in terms of flavor and seasoning. Good job, Volare!
Every main dish at Volare comes with three pieces of nondescript commercial white bread and a tiny bowl of parmesan cheese. The bread is nice touch as it can be used to sop up the extra sauce, but I wish Volare had used better bread.There's also a pepper mill on each table.
That night I decided to try one of Volare's pizzas. I chose prosciutto (dry-cured ham) as the topping. It's not a traditional pizza topping in Italy, nor is it customary in the U.S., but I love prosciutto and thought it would taste great on pizza. I was right.
The pizza was 13 inches (33 centimeters) in diameter, which would put it between medium and large on the U.S. size scale. It had a thin Neopolitan crust and I would have preferred a bit more char on the bottom of the crust, but that may be a NYC thing. The sauce and cheese hadn't been laid too thickly so the taste of the prosciutto was overwhelmed. It was a good pizza and I wouldn't hesitate to order pizza again from Volare.
And now it's time to mention something less favorable. The 10% service charge and the 7% VAT were tacked onto the prices shown on the menu. The paccheri (210 baht), Coke Zero (95 baht) and takeaway pizza (285 baht) added up to 590 baht. However, when I called chek bin, the total price I had to pay was 690 baht because the menu prices weren't net. I couldn't see it specified anywhere on the menu that the prices listed didn't include service and VAT, although it might be there somewhere in very small print. Naughty, naughty, Volare.
The other less-than-favorable point is the cost of beverages at Volare. A Coke Zero is 111 baht with service charge and VAT. A SML is 140 baht on the menu, which would be 164 baht. Those are hefty prices.
To summarize: Volare looks very fine after its makeover, the ambiance is good and the service friendly. The food is good and some dishes aren't on any other restaurant menu I've seen in Pattaya. However, a miss in execution pulls my overall opinion down, as does the failure to include service and VAT in the menu prices.
Bottom line: I'll probably go back, but I'm not in a hurry. Pizza for takeaway might get more frequent business.
Edited by Evil Penevil, 13 November 2017 - 10:04 AM.