Review: Da Matti? Italian restaurant and reggae bar, Koh Rong

On the 3rd pier closest to Koh Toch village is Da Matti? (the question mark is theirs), an Italian restaurant, formerly called La Mami, now under different, but still Italian, ownership. With the name change came the addition of a reggae bar, that incongruously compliments their menu of homemade gnocchi and ravioli, traditional Italian pastas, and interesting cocktails.

Koh Rong pier

Sunset on the Koh Rong pier where Da Matti? is situated.

We chose to lounge outside on floor cushions at low tables further down the pier, although normal height tables and chairs are available inside and closer to the restaurant building. As the sun went down, a string of red, yellow and green string lights added a nice glowing ambient light along with candles on table. Da Matti? is centrally located but still far enough down the pier to feel peaceful, with only a low thud of music coming over from the beach bars — this is probably as romantic as Koh Toch restaurants get.

Da Matti? offers a short but interesting selection of cocktails (for a beach restaurant, anyway) with my personal favorite Campari featuring heavily, such as in the classic negroni or their tropical-tasting ‘Sunsplash’ made with Campari, Malibu, and pineapple juice. We ordered some starters to enjoy as we drank our aperitif. The tomato bruschetta was good, with five toasts for $3, and was our favorite starter. Our other choices were fine but could have been improved, with the aubergine crostini a bit on the dry side, and the cheese crostini tasting bland.

Da Matti Koh Rong

Da Matti? isn’t much more than a wooden shack on stilts, but it has great pasta and a lovely view.

The menu could do with updating as there have been some changes, including our first wine choice and the spinach and ricotta homemade ravioli listed, which would have been a contender but sadly when I tried to order it, was informed that it was no longer made with ricotta. So, spinach ravioli then? It meant we made a last-minute on-the-fly change to our order, and ended up only going for the home-made gnocchi as our main dishes.

We had no regrets, though, as all the sauces we tried (al pomodoro, al gorgonzola and al quattro formaggi) were delicious, and the gnocchi were excellent — satisfyingly stodgy without being too heavy or chewy, and good value for $6. In addition to the homemade gnocchi and ravioli, there is a longer list of pasta available with classic Italian sauces for $5, including an authentic carbonara sauce of egg, bacon, Kampot pepper and Parmesan. And if you’re stopping by for lunch, they make paninis with tasty-sounding fillings including grilled eggplant and roast pork.

The service was good, and we were quickly attended to despite our position a few meters down the pier from the restaurant. We couldn’t hear music from where we were sitting — when I went to the bathroom I was surprised to hear Air’s “Sexy Boy” being played rather than reggae. I won’t argue with a flexible music policy when it’s good tunes. Another highlight of the bathroom trip(!) was the delightful message painted next to the mirror, in letters four times as high as the mirror itself — “You are beautiful”. Da Matti? really is a charmer of a restaurant.

Da Matti? Italian restaurant and reggae bar

Open daily, early until late (this is island time, after all)
3rd pier, Koh Toch village, Koh Rong
T: 097 508 6268; 081 754 972
facebook.com/DaMattiKohRong

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