We try this place one night in August 2015 after having walked by this street several times (it is on the other side of the Amstel as compared to where we live), and oh do we like it! We take a super simple fare with one primo (scialatielli gamberi and Zucchine) and one secondo (tagliata di vitello) and two glasses of Nero d’Avola della casa. The food is good, we eat outside and it is really lice and quiet, the service is very attentive, the staff is really Italian (not as at Toscanini) and we even enjoy a small limoncello, all for a reasonable price. we will be definitely back.
Eerste Oosterparkstraat 3-5
I know this post will be not so popular, with the small disclaimer that this implies actually having readers. But even more so, honesty in blogging is what matters, otherwise what the hell? So let’s get done with it: Toscanini. Toscanini is somehow an institution and considered by many, even the illustrious Little Black Book, one of the best Italian restaurants in Amsterdam. Indeed it is so popular that we need to book with great advance just to get a table on a Saturday night at 9 30 pm. What is behind such a strong fame? Well, I guess it is a ‘combinatie van factoren’, as the locals would say: the rustic set up (it is clearly a post-industrial environment, or as Ale says, an ex-garage), the Italian-looking and Italian-speaking staff (but alas, not Italian-being), the many wine wooden cases that decorate the shelves and the menu with some classics and some peculiar choices (faraona, anybody?). We eat well, we have some spaghetti with vongole and a fish which we ask about afterwards and we are still looking for, since the Italian-speaking and chest-exuberant (yet very, very Dutch-being) waitress does not really know. In a nutshell, we are happy, let’s be clear, but not super happy. Ok, let’s put it like that: we are happy that finally we can say we have been here and we can have an opinion based on personal experience, so that we can offer first-hand, (real) Italian judgment.
address Lindengracht 75
Facing the Amstel river, with a nice improvised ‘terrasje’ outside and very nice interiors, this restaurant/bar is inspired by Italo-american cuisine. Do not wince quite yet, there is no Godfather theme or mafia memorabilia, the inspiration is actually more in the menu, with some good Italian classics, like parmigiana, and with really outstanding cocktails (the Negroni is really well done!). Service is very nice, even if not extremely attentive, ambience also good. We will be back!
Address Amsteldijk 25
The question I get most often is where I deem pizza to be really good. “Italian standard”, in Amsterdam. This pizzeria a little bit off the beaten path is actually for me the best in Amsterdam, with a real wood-oven and a good choice of classics and specials. It is often over crowded and very very noisy so better to plan in advance or be very patient. Still it is worth it. The ingredients are authentic and fresh, which makes the pizza tasty. Only negative note: the beer is not in draught. Highly recommended.
Address: De Clerqstraat 12 – Amsterdam
All right, you might well argue this is not the most original name for an Italian restaurant, but well, somebody had to do this, and they did it pretty well. I have visited twice so far, and was happy in both occasions: the environment is oh-so-trendy on the otherwise bleak Rokin, which incidentally we Amsterdammers hope will look better soon (work in progress since some years, I am told); the bar is upstairs, the restaurant is downstairs, pizzas are ok but nothing special, while pastas and fish are much better (try the spaghetti allo scoglio or the sea bass, yummy!), and if you are generous enough to forgive some “Italian abroad” mistakes (it looks like nobody really knows what a real sgroppino is), the whole experience is nice, and the price is ok. ah, and if it is not just food that you crave: the deejay set upstairs provides a lively scene.
address: Rokin 81-83 -Amsterdam
when reviewing the Italian restaurant L’Ozio, I could not resist to start with a quote: “L’Ozio e’ il padre dei vizi”, a quite severe sentence attributed to none else than that piece of wild fun that must have been Cato Senior (or at least this is what Wikipedia says): for the non-italian speakers, L’Ozio translates in English as “idling”, and “l’Ozio e’ il padre dei vizi” would broadly translate as in “The devil finds work for idle hands”. So i find it funny that L’Ozio, an innocuous and delicious Italian restaurant, is charged with such devilish activities.
As I meet the owner, Adriano, a familiar sound strikes my ears, as it will strike my tastebuds later: Adriano is from Brescia, the same area of Northern Italy where I am from, and this influences some of his choices in his menu (the ravioli are actually casoncelli, the cheese is Bagoss, the risotto is as hearthy as it could be if you are freezing in some Alpine valley). L’Ozio is all you need from a good trustworthy restaurant: good food, relaxing atmosphere, some specialties of the day (Ravioli del giorno will never be boring for me), and a very nice service. Adriano and his business partner had initially started with a more ambitious concept, combining art and food, and you still have nice art hanging on the walls, unexpected books on the shelves and a basement that could be turned into a cinema if the need comes. As I can observe, however, people end out focusing more on the good food in the well-lit atmosphere (natural light is also a plus during day-hours), and the attentive warmth of the host . A classic – alas I am not objective!
Address: Ferdinand Bolstraat 26
Segugio is probably my favourite Italian restaurant, and this as you can imagine is quite a statement, to which I promptly add the disclaimer: if we exclude the many pizzerias and as well L’Ozio to which I will devote a separate chapter. The owner, chef and sommelier Adriano Paolini from Pescara, is a passionate host and he is featured in the Dutch version of the Silver Spoon (de Zilveren lepel), for his very own recipe of Cappello del Prete (good luck into explaining this to a Dutch person).
The menu is religiously seasonal and focuses on few favourites, which is something I truly appreciate in restaurants, as this is a good guarantee of freshness of ingredients. Bread is home-made, oil is imported from Abruzzo…everything oozes authenticity and depth of flavour. Alas though: the menu also does not change very often, so plan your visits accordingly, or choose your fare with acumen, to enjoy variety of choice. Of course if you do. (In case you wondered, I do)
Quite pricey but worth it, I promise.
Address: Utrechtsestraat 96, Amsterdam