Panini Mafia Pasta

Many folks in Bangkok might be familiar with Panini Mafia (official Facebook page) from their days of dishing out great sandwiches from a food truck. But what may be news to some is that Panini Mafia now has a restaurant and online delivery service that offers much more than sandwiches! In addition to the 10 different sandwiches on their Panini Mafia menu, they also offer a Lords of Salad menu with 10 different salads, and an Angelo’s Pasta menu that offers 6 different pastas with 26 different homemade sauces!

Their selection of sandwiches, salads, and pastas are pretty impressive and their prices are very reasonable. They’ve also got tons of fans and excellent reviews. After some research this seemed like a foodie gem worth writing about, and I was right! But I’m sure you’ll see exactly what I mean by these food pictures.

Angelo’s Pasta lets you create what you want!

Panini Mafia Fettuccine Bolognese
Fettuccine Bolognese (300 baht)

The Angelo’s Pasta menu offers an amazing variety of pasta options that you can create from. They offer 6 different pastas (spaghetti, penne, whole wheat penne, as well as homemade pastas gnocchi, tagliolini, and fettuccine (the homemade pastas are an additional 40 baht)). With this they offer 26 different homemade sauces which are broken down by categories: 240 baht for the 10 different vegetarian sauces, 260 baht for 11 different meat sauces, and 280 baht for 5 different fish sauces. This simplification of pricing is great–especially considering the astronomical amount of pasta combination possibilities you can create!

I chose to sample one of their more popular pastas, the Fettuccine Bolognese (300 baht). First off, nothing beats fresh homemade pasta. Pay the extra 40 baht for the homemade noodles–it’s absolutely worth it! The noodles are thicker and wider than what I’m used to with the store bought fettuccine noodles and served perfectly al dente. The homemade bolognese sauce is rich and meaty, almost creamy with it’s velvet texture, and the bits of parsley give it a nice fresh taste. I would highly recommend this dish!

Panini Mafia is still rocking some great sandwiches!

Panini Mafia Untouchable (180 baht)
Untouchable (180 baht)

If you first discovered Panini Mafia through their food truck you might be concerned that they may have lost something moving their operation to a brick and mortar establishment. Let me alleviate any of your concerns. They are still rocking some seriously delicious sandwiches at very reasonable prices (160-210 baht)!

I chose to sample one of their more popular sandwiches, the Untouchable (180 baht). This is an incredible sandwich and I can understand why it’s popular. It starts with a soft panini roll slathered with a tzatziki like garlic and yoghurt sauce, thick slices of ripe tomato, a generous helping of caramelized onions, and two fried patties of locally sourced Italian sausage.

It really is a fantastic flavor combination. The creaminess of the sauce with the texture and flavor from the ripe tomatoes, the smoky sweetness of the caramelized onions, and the tang from the white wine vinegar in the Italian sausage rally together to make one fine sandwich!

If your tastebuds have acclimated to Bangkok, why not up it a notch and order one of their fusion sandwiches? I’d recommend the Sausage Kra Praw (180 baht) which takes the same Italian sausage and caramelized onions but adds a fried egg and a spicy pesto made with basil and chili. Bam!

Lords of Salad offers some healthy eats!

Panini Mafia Priest Salad (180 baht)
Priest Salad (180 baht)

For those entertaining the idea to eat more salads as a new year resolution, keep the Lords of Salad on your radar. They offer 10 different salad combinations named after mediaeval characters that are reasonably priced between 150 – 220 baht. The price depends on the amount of protein added (the more protein the higher the price).

I chose to try their most popular salad, the Priest Salad (180 baht).  Some of the best salads I’ve had are simple salads made with just a few ingredients. This salad is like that.  It’s made with a fried egg, grilled seasoned chicken breast, and caramelized onions on a bed of lettuce.

What brings it all together, and is not pictured here, is the spicy homemade pesto sauce and oil/vinegar combo. I took this picture before adding those things. The sauces really bring it all together mixed up. But I would caution adding too much of the oil/vinegar sauce as it can overpower the salad if you overdo it.

Panini Mafia has room for you!

Panini Mafia Inside

Though Panini Mafia does the bulk of their business through Food Panda, Uber Eats, and Honest Bee delivery, they also offer the option to dine-in. There’s a table for 4 inside as well as a bar counter seating for 3. There’s also plenty of outside seating available directly in front of the restaurant which is perfect when the weather has cooled in the Big Mango.

A chat with the owner…

Panini Mafia Angelo
Angelo D’Eramo

I was fortunate to be able to sit down and chat with the owner, Angelo D’Eramo. Originally from Alassio city in the Liguria region of Italy, Angelo moved to the US to work in the food industry. He began in Orlando, Florida working at the Epcot Center, then moved to New York City. After his stint in America he decided to move to Hong Kong where he at the age of 26 was responsible as the general manager for 2 separate restaurants.

Operating a restaurant can be stressful and time consuming. Operating 2 restaurants can double that pressure. As a way to unwind and find relief from the pressures of work he started to play poker. Angelo began to notice that there were regular poker players at the table that were actually making more money doing the thing he thought of as a stress relief. It was then that he decided to walk away from the restaurant world and commit to playing poker professionally.

Angelo was a successful professional poker player for 5 years while he lived in Manila, Philippines, and Colombo, Sri Lanka. Then one day he decided he wanted to start a new chapter in life, and pursue the dream of owning and operating his own restaurant business. He took his winnings and moved to Bangkok.

With his Thai girlfriend, Khun Apple, they decided to start small and test the concept of panini sandwiches from a food truck. The Panini Mafia food truck started churning out 9 different sandwich options from locations like Asiatique in May, 2016. It quickly became popular and he soon added salads to the food truck menu. With Apple’s encouragement they opened a physical location and added pasta dishes to the menu (Angelo’s specialty).

Worth the visit!

Panini Mafia Angelo CookingAngelo’s goal for this enterprise is to be able to provide food of “necessity”. The kind of food that you can eat everyday: salads, sandwiches, pastas. His focus is on the freshness of ingredients and the value of the dishes. All of the sauces used in the pastas, sandwiches, and on the salads are all home made. You can taste the difference.

He’s thrilled that their food has gained such popularity with the delivery services in Bangkok (during my visit there were many delivery orders). But he’d welcome folks to actually come by and try it hot and fresh. I get it. Receiving a glowing review on social media is great but nothing beats actually seeing a customer’s eyes light up when they take that first bite. I know how I felt when I first put that fork in my mouth–and it was great to be able to give him my instant personal feedback.

I’m hungry. Where is it?

Panini Mafia Outside

Panini Mafia is located in a shopping courtyard on Thonglor Soi 13. In this instance Google Maps is your friend. If you’re looking for some amazing sandwiches, salads, and pastas I recommend you visit them!

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