Rustic and unpretentious southern Italian trattoria home style cooking is simply irresistible, especially when you have the passionate culinary team that knows-what’s-best to helm the kitchen, together with the charming and friendliest front line service team to cherish you on any particular evening for a dining out experience, and our latest discovery of Palladio Restaurant in Amsterdam centrurm is second to none. mylifestylenews writes.
Amsterdam is a melting pot of cuisines to be enjoyed in so many varied meals at all times, especially when it is the last stay of your visit to the city and you wish to bring home memories of great laughter and an unforgettable evening night out with unquestionably hearty and delicious home style Italian (Correction – Ah-hem! Southern Italian) cooking, Palladio Restaurant is a true Italian gem and an absolute fortunate find. Centrally situated along the Elandsgracht on the fringe of the arty and enchanting Jordaan neighbourhood since 1987, Palladio Restaurant has been recognized as Amsterdam’s best Italian restaurant, if not the most enticing southern Italian cuisine.
Walking toward Palladio Restaurant in the evening you are struck by how busy this neighbourhood is and what charm it has. Just when you think you were to look for a grand entrance with a Palacio like, endless palladium columns kind of façade to locate this endearing trattoria, Palladio Restaurant is the total opposite from what its name suggests. But, an approachable and down to earth, yet homey and cozy ambience, awaits your arrival. So when we saw a sharp candy blue vintage style vespa sitting on an elevated red carpeted platform behind the giant glass window from a distance, adorned with a Roman head sculpture above and an extended canopy for the outdoor settings, enhanced with old fashioned style wall lamps, we guessed we had arrived at our Italian destination for the evenings gastronomy journey.
The interior is classic upscale trattoria, elegantly clothed tables set with white candlesticks, walls of wine bottles and more, in an extremely relaxed and unfussy but buzzy atmosphere. There is also a long corridor of seating down one side towards to the back and the open kitchen with very elegant and vintage style wall lamps to break up the mood. The odd chandelier or two adds a bit of gravitas or maybe a touch of humour that illuminates the main dining area with a supported white column pillar and red embellishment on top to unify the entire mood of the already cozy interior.
Fabrizio greeted us on arrival – the witty and good-natured owner and front of house manager as it turned out. While warmest greeting and hospitality is part of the DNA in Palladio Restaurant that (almost) effortlessly make their patrons feel welcomed and ever ready to engage. Fabrizo & his partner-in-crime/co-owner Tina, treat everyone with generosity but ensure they abide by the house rules. The duo make you feel welcome the very second you step into this home away from home restaurant and a warm send off when you departed with complete satisfaction without question for such true Italian hospitality. Their enthusiasm towards the service that you would experience here is far more than many restaurants deliver. They are the perfect duo team to run this outpost with their support from the amazingly delicious culinary team from the south of Italy that brings you the brightest. The truth in flavour never lies, especially coming from the Italian culture for which they are so proud and shows a love for home-style cooking so much, which is never stingy to share with compliments and to spread the real and authentic flavour to the world, especially to those who share the common gastronomic interest. Kudos to that attitude always and our night was off to a great start obviously.
We were able to choose our table and then the enveloping experience began, with a choice of olive oils and vinegars to go with our bread – the olive oil from Sicily was an absolute gem and to die for! With a silky light texture and less of the grassy voluptuousness palate, it gave a more forward flavour with bite. Italians don’t like to wait for their food, so every guest gets to relax and unwind with a tasty antipasti platter of lovely fresh salami, raw ham and a few delicious olives. Naturally, this classic food sets the taste buds salivating and so we got down to business – the business of eating! The Italians love their food and wine and so we didn’t care much about the menu and also when you dine in Palladio Restaurant, all you need to focus on is the long chalkboard that hangs on the wall in front of the pantry, clearly written and suggesting the freshest items they are to serve on that day. Moreover, in Fabrizio’s hand for his honest and generous recommendation and the passion to share, what else can possibly go wrong from a true Italian’s dolce vita?
Two whole large size langoustines were presented and placed artfully on a flat plate garnished with dill, peeled carrots and wedges of lemon to taste, as well as sprinkles of paprika for a kick. The langoustines were perfectly chargrilled as you could wish for, the reddish orangey color of the halved langoustines already looked so enticing, leaving the meat that was so fresh, so juicy and so tender. Simplicity at its best! And a true respect of the freshest ingredients used.
Thin slices of tuna were laid on top of a small bed of ruchetta salad on a large oval plate and dressed with stalks of fennel and a dash of cracked pepper, accompanied by beetroot and roasted capsicum on the side. Light and fresh and almost melt in the mouth with each bite, it really makes you think of the Italian sea ….Bellissimo!
<Pan Seared Scallops>
Three medium size of lightly pan seared scallops sits atop a bed of eggplant and finished with a homemade salsa combination of tuna, anchovies and pepper, garnished with grilled cherry tomatoes to enhance the color on presentation. So tasty and fresh with a zesty zing to the palate and we couldn’t ask for more.
Two end tails of grilled octopus was an additional request from us to go with Fabrizio’s order and turned out it was one sensational dish not to be missed. Cooked a la minute with a great chargrilled flavour that made it so tender to bite (instead of chewing hard) and was fully well balanced with a bed of pureed chickpeas.
Not an ordinary carpaccio you get from Palladio Restaurant, with the slightly thicker sliced version of Argentina beef used here, with truffle grated on the spot, sliced wafers of parmesan laid on top and garnished with sprigs of fresh thyme, finished with fresh cracked pepper and a dash of olive oil to give a different level of taste on the palate. This was soft to the touch of the knife, tender and mine oh mine. Squisito!
<Fettucine with White Truffle Sauce>
You can’t not to have any pasta dish when you are in a trustworthy Italian trattoria. Fabrizio brought us a rich and creamy fettucine with white truffle sauce and grated black truffle. Indeed, truffle on truffle. Pasta is always served between the meat dishes in case you are “new” to traditional Italian dining. It is a given by this time of evening that we knew that the food is driven by passion and the pasta was testament to this, with the perfect al dente palate.
<Australian Black Angus Grass Fed Bavette with Porcini>
Bavette is a particular cut from the flank that is not the most expensive cut of meat, but when cooked with expert hands, can turn the dead to live again, it was insanely tasty. Medium rare on any beef dish is common, especially in Europe, so, a little bloody finish is expected (which we like), yet very tender and so delizioso in taste and the aromatic and springy porcini are manna from heaven. A dish to remember!
<Veal with Tuna Sauce>
Thinly sliced strong flavour of good quality veal well juxtaposed with the thick tuna sauce – when the sea meets the earth, the yin and yang are perfect combinations of different complexities. Fabrizio also ensured that the wine flowed freely, but thoughtfully chosen and carefully explained for every dish, as there is no element of chance – once again his passion for all things Italian came to the fore, explaining the unique grape varieties that Italy is famous for and it all worked well with the entire menu selection for the evening.
Palladio Restaurant uses only the freshest of ingredients daily which was self-evident with every mouthful we enjoyed that evening. The southern Italian cuisine has reigned from a remarkable renaissance. The red-hot mood of the chef was mirrored in all plates and one might expect even more experimental combinations but still the liaisons of the different and unexpected ingredients was a true umami sensation. Plus with chefs from the Amalfi Coast, the seafood is unquestionably authentic and soulful. Palladio Restaurant is not huge, but not too small and it went concurrently with the hospitality from the fun, witty and energetic front of the house duo – the fabulous Fabrizio and Tina - who are extremely convivial hosts that are not just wall flowers, as conversation flows freely and they really want to show you what their love of food is all about. Fabrizio’s attention to detail is amazing and he doesn’t miss anything - the way he clears a table is to be admired and he personally goes to the market to choose the produce of the day. It feels like you are eating exactly what you would want to eat from a typical home cooking if you were in Italy by the sea and it tastes like Italy!
While tourists are flooding the city, they think they are experiencing Amsterdam before it changes. But the reality is, they are part of the exciting change. Whether this ambitious new generation of restaurant rookies will chase gastronomic trendiness or help restore and reinterpret all that was lost, this is the kind of deeply satisfying simplicity that travelers are hungering for today. Dining in Palladio Restaurant you feel like you have been invited to a friend’s home for dinner, such as the immediate warmth of hospitality and knowingness of Fabrizio and Tina. They just kept on putting food in front of us and we were constantly reaching for superlatives with every mouthful we had. Considering how many amazing Italian restaurants we have had the pleasure of eating at, this is definitely one of the most memorable experiences to date. Sometimes, an exceptional first impression does make an important gesture and that could possibly determine your entire dining experience to be a fun night out with long lasting memories to bring home – it feels like home and tastes like home. More than just a dinner but a true feast, Fabrizio and Tina certainly have the right attitude to cater for it. Homecoming to Palladio Restaurant is always on the top of the list when we return to Amsterdam.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Value For Money: 5/5
1016 TX Amsterdam
1016 TX Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 627 7442
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.