The Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged many coastal communities around the Indian Ocean claimed at least one Wine Spectator award-winning restaurant, but fortunately no one from the restaurant was injured.
The beachfront Da Maurizio restaurant, which has held a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2003, was demolished when massive waves crashed into Phuket, Thailand.
Steven Roberto, director of food and wine for the Baan Rim Pa Group, which owns Da Maurizio, as well as Award of Excellence-winner Baan Rim Pa, reported that, incredibly, most of the wine was recovered, as it was enclosed within a cement-reinforced cellar. "We had to dig down through debris to locate the cellar, but once inside we found only a few broken bottles," he wrote via e-mail, "This wine is all that is left."
Construction has already begun on a new and expanded Da Maurizio, and the current plan is to reopen in September. Roberto plans to offer the wines saved from the tsunami as a separate selection on the wine list.
Baan Rim Pa, which sits atop a nearby cliff in Phuket, was closed only for a few days. One balcony and a deck are gone from the restaurant, but Roberto said that the rest of the establishment is fine.
The tsunami also damaged another award-winning Phuket restaurant, Boathouse Wine & Grill, owned by M.L. Tridhosyuth Devakul, as is Mom Tri's Kitchen.
Mom Tri's Kitchen, which won the Award of Excellence for the first time in 2004, is doing business. The Boathouse Wine & Grill, which has held the Award of Excellence since 1995, longer than any other restaurant in Thailand, is undergoing reconstruction. According to Niwat Nitmee, who works in the restaurant's front office, the Boathouse will reopen around the end of January. More importantly, Nitmee reported that no one was hurt at either restaurant.
Other award winners in Thailand, including Baan Pimalai Restaurant in Krabi and Royal Cliff Grill Room & Wine Cellar and Rossini Ristorante Italiano in Cholburi, reported that they were not affected by the tsunami.
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