Govinda hits a sweet spot for Bangkok diners. Managing to be homey, welcoming, and old school, with red and white checked tablecloths and a case of desserts to ohhh and ahhh over, it’s casual enough to bring your kids and feel comfortable, low key enough to eat alone, and nice enough to bring a date, especially if that person is vegetarian, vegan, or even gluten-free.
We stopped in and sat down with two glasses of the house Cabernet Sauvignon (THB160), a pleasant wine to pair with the homey, Italian dishes to come. Though they offer a cute and large outdoor seating area with a friendly cat to play with, we opted for indoors due to the humidity. The waitstaff dropped off bread just after the wine, it came with a bit of spicy chili sauce, a ramekin of diced tomatoes with spices, and some olive oil and balsamic.
Our first dish was a Truffle Gnocchi (THB295), a special not on the menu. It providing that satisfying bite and mouthfeel that only gnocchi can. It was swimming in an earthy truffle cream sauce, nice enough that we were slipping our bread through the leftover sauce when the pasta was finished.
Next up was the Melanzana Parmigiana (THB325), an eggplant dish that has a made a name for the place, and one fans rave about. As it arrives at the table, we’re impressed with the generous portion.
It’s the size of a small loaf of bread. Most Italian restaurants in Bangkok give a small stack of eggplant that would hardly fill a soup can for this dish. The portion had to contain three entire eggplants layered with house tomato sauce, and lots of cheese with pleasant little scorched bits on top. As we dug into the warm and comforting plate, it was just as good as we’d heard. For the first time, we had extra eggplant to bring home due to the large size.
Following that — and, in fact, nice to eat together — was a simple plate of Pasta Pomodoro (THB230). Well cooked and served with basil, this is a hard dish to get wrong but Govinda gets it oh-so-right. They are heavy with the sauce, which has a sharp, tangy but straightforward taste, the same sauce we tasted in the eggplant dish.
Govinda is also known for their thin crust pizzas, which are often topped with their array of soy meat. We tried the Govinda Pizza (THB350), with olives, basil, parmigiana, and soy sausage. It arrived hot and fresh and we thought the soy sausage tasted just like the real thing.
Govinda also has an entire range of soy meat dishes, with the chicken varieties being the most popular, especially the Pollo Picante, according to Manager Khun Jeh.
For finishers, we went with something simple: Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream (THB140). The crumbly cake was served with hot chocolate sauce and ice cream on the side, enough for us each to take a few bites.
Since the restaurant attracts both vegetarians and vegans, all of their dishes can be made vegan with the inclusion of items like soy cheese and they offer gluten-free options as well.
Govinda Vegetarian Italian
6/5 Sukhumvit Soi 22
Open daily, 12-2:30pm and 6-10:30pm