Amore Mio

The menu alone made us feel as if we were in Italy already. Amore Mio sticks to tradition without trying to reinvent the wheel. Mia and Adam Bar recreate an Italian experience

Last summer I visited Italy for the first time in my adult life. Two intoxicating weeks in Tuscany and Umbria have proved me right: Italy has the best food and wine. Ever since that summer, my palate has been longing for the Italian cuisine. Italy's thousands-year-long tradition produces food that is sophisticated yet sublime.

I only knew Amore Mio as Pizza-Pazza's older, more mature sister. My occasional lust for Calzone has made me visit the queen of Calzone in Ibn-Gevirol, but it has never allowed me to even so much as check out its older sister.

But last summer's Italian experience has lead me to Amore Mio, following friends' recommendations. I was looking to recreate the happy atmosphere and to taste some great wine.

Amore Mio is not a restaurant for the spontaneous type. Big as it may be, it's almost always full (yet not noisy); it's best to reserve a table a day or two in advance. We sat at a table next to a huge blow up of an old black and white family photo: simple men all dressed up for some festive occasion take a break from the wine and food spread on their table to pose. I could tell they were dying to get back to their food; it was an ultimate appetizer.

We opened the menus to find a traditional trattoria menu: an antipasti selection (including Bruschetta, Carpaccio, Caprese salad and others); 10 different types of pizzas and calzones; 20 categories of pasta (tomato/cream/olive oil sauce); some risotto dishes, gnocchi and ravioli, and about 5 dishes of chicken and meat. The menu alone made us feel as if we were in Italy already. Amore Mio sticks to tradition without trying to reinvent the wheel. The only variation we could notice was the use of goose breast instead of pork in dishes such as carbonara; thank God they still use cream.

After some unavoidable conflicts we started with a hot focaccia that had a wonderful olive oil, Rosemarie and garlic aroma. It came with a colorful dish of antipasti that was composed of broccoli, sweet potato, roasted peppers, artichoke, green beans and eggplant, all of these had a stimulating smell. The Amore Salad turned out to be a fresh leaves salad enriched with walnuts, roasted peppers and parmesan in vinegar sauce. All along Italian pop music was playing; in this postmodern time I allow myself to admit I absolutely love it.

We ordered Zio Lupetto gnocchi with beef fillet, broccoli, onion, mushrooms and dried tomatoes in meat broth. Our waitress warned us about its spiciness, but we weren't ticked off. The combination of the soft gnocchi with the soft meat and the aromatic additions were quite exciting. We also had the Tagliatelle Di Manzo – a classic trattoria dish of thin sirloin slices slightly burnt on the plate on which they are served. The juicy meet meats the crispy rocket leaves and lemon juice, and together they start waltzing. Some red Valpolicella wine was a great companion too.

We decided to sip some espresso with our desserts. The white chocolate Semifreddo is a sweet white delight, and the espresso serves as a balancing sauce for this wonderful sweetness. In memory of our wonderful vacation in Italy, we tried the Mille-feuille – puff pastry with crème Pattissier and almond slices. Only then did we smile happily at each other, as if we were in Italy.