A family-run Italian restaurant and pizzeria that is pleasingly traditional and doesn’t deviate too far from the dishes you know and love.
Sat boldly on Cheltenham Road, its size and positioning gives the impression that it is a major venue for eating out in the area. And unlike most Italian restaurants in Bristol, Amici does not rely solely on the colours of Italy’s flag for its decor.
From outside the restaurant comes across as a slick and contemporary with a black and silver theme. This impression, however, does not hold for too long; standing next to the doorway is a larger than life statue of an Italian chef doing the thumbs-up, providing a clever mix of old and new which hints more generally at what you are likely to find inside.
Amici’s interior is on the cool side of conventional for an Italian restaurant. The bare stone brick walls are rustic enough for you to feel that the venue is authentic without making you feel like a tourist being scammed with the ‘idea’ of Italy.
The atmosphere is good, but not sensational. Expect a quiet meal, ideal for a family or a couple that want to be able to chat without a school-dinners-hall cacophony of customers drowning them out.
This place doesn't tend to get totally rammed and, even when it does, there are archways and booths which make you feel that the large space is divided up into more intimate sections.
As for the staff, they don’t look anything like the statue outside as they consist of fairly young, rather good-looking men, whose Italian accents appear to be genuine enough. On the whole they are warm, friendly, and welcoming, and will animatedly discuss the dishes on offer.
Amici is a good Italian and the quality of the ingredients is testament to this. Don’t expect anything deeply imaginative but do expect established dishes cooked to a high standard.
A wide pasta menu veers from tomato to cream based sauces, all of which are under £8 – the lasagne is a hearty and delicious and only £6.90. Risottos are fairly average with the best of the bunch being the risotto alla scozzesse (£8) which comes with a creamy tomato sauce, has overtones of garlic and pepper and generous strips of fresh salmon.
However, there is a consensus that Amici is all about the pizzas, which come with a thin crispy base and are large enough for sharing. A margherita is fair at £7 and toppings are fairly standard with things like ham, pepperoni, mushrooms and olives featuring (quite liberally) on many of them. Expect them to be mouthwatering and cooked to perfection with just enough crunch, a good amount of mozzarella, and a rich, tangy home-made tomato sauce used as the base.
Puddings certainly fill that traditional Italian slot quite well with the homemade tiramisu (£5.50) being the most noteworthy dish, which perfectly counters the heaviness of chocolate, cake, and liquor, with the lightness of whipped fresh cream.
A good drinks list is available, inevitably largely consisting of Italian beers. A one litre carafe of the house white is cheap at only £10.60. Beers are provided in bottles and a limited list of spirits is available.
The Last Word
A very good Italian which sustains a great balance of modern and traditional. Excellent for the cautious eater who wants superior quality food teamed with the reassurance of familiar dishes.