DINING OWL AWARD: 1st – serving staff
When I visited: August 2015
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not rated
What to wear: Could go casual
Ambience: Fun, lively
Course of the meal: Orecchiette with prawns
If I could change one thing: Smaller pasta portions
‘Pasta e basta’ is an incongruously Italian restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam. Its name translates in this context to “Past and that’s it!” as the main part of the set menu is three types of pasta. For some reason, when I got there with my partner Owl we failed to realise that it was a singing bar, despite the big clue of the piano in the entrance hall and the music-themed decor everywhere. We were delighted when our waitress said “In 5 minutes or so I will be singing for you” and the whole evening was so much fun. This restaurant would also be great for parties and I am going to make it my business to find something similar in London to go to. All the serving staff sing and perform (on instruments such as the trumpet and piano) throughout the evening, in different styles (opera, pop, blues …), hence the Dining Owl award above, and they’re talented but also avoid the trap of taking themselves too seriously.
We had a bottle of red Chianti Classico wine with our dinner and paid 49 euro each for the set menu which begins with bruschetta with different dips (mackerel, tomato and Parmesan, and anchovy and tuna). You then get to pick a selection of aperitivo from the piano – corn, squid, bread, peppers, tomatoes, salami, Parma ham and salad. The main part of the meal is the 3 types of pasta to share – ravioli with mushroom and truffle, rigatoni with arrabbiata and veal meatballs, and orecchiette with prawns. At the end, you also get a ‘Grand dessert’ to share, which consists of a selection of small desserts: tiramisu, chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, pineapple, and a lemon curd slice with a chocolate biscuit base.
As if that wasn’t enough, you also get a mini frozen bottle each of limoncello which is pretty strong (especially after a bottle of wine) but delicious. We also had green tea with came with traditional biscotti.
This was the most fun restaurant I’d been to in ages and even though it’s overwhelmingly Italian rather than Dutch, I’d urge you to go if you’re in Amsterdam.