Vezio was born in Trieste, but his unmistakable accent, still strong after years living in Amsterdam, is Venetian, specifically from Venice's mainland area of Mestre. And if you missed the accent, the name of his restaurant shouldn't leave a doubt. In Venetian, bàcaro means osteria, and "to make bàcara" means to party loudly.
Vezio came to Amsterdam in February 2005, but he already had a wine bar in Mestre. After responding casually to an advert placed by an acquaintance from Treviso who was seeking to employ a cook, he discovered that the restaurant was not in Treviso - it was in Amsterdam. By then the decision was made, and Vezio, who learned to cook ‘old school Italian' at 17, changed his style. "I like to cook with few ingredients, simple and fresh. I do not want to prepare expensive food. I aim to keep the prices moderate and offer a wide choice of traditional dishes from the Veneto and Puglia (his partner Veronica's region of origin)." In this way, you can find yourself eating an extraordinary dish of chicory, beans and olive oil, Kempen lamb roasted to perfection or an apple dessert with Limburg syrup.
The Italian Presidia that feature in the menu include Salina Capers, pork from the Mora Romagnola Pig, Montebore cheese from Piedmont, Valtorta Agri cheese from Lombardy, Torre Guaceto Fiaschetto tomatoes from Puglia and cheeses from the Grigio Alpina Cattle in Trentino-Alto Adige. Slow Food and the Presidia are very familiar to Vezio, who was already serving Presidium Roccaverano Robiola cheese on a regular basis in his Italian wine bar.
The menu is very extensive and Vezio explains that customers need help to understand it. In addition to finding the names of typical Italian dishes, the menu uses food terms from Italian dialects and the names of animal breeds and vegetable varieties that would be unusual even on an Italian menu. Led by Umbrian restaurant manager Eliano, the staff do an excellent job of answering customers' questions, many of whom enjoy the experience so much they are inspired to return often.
The restaurant is simple but the atmosphere is very warm; a small piece of Italy that could be in Venice itself, if it wasn't for the Dutch cyclists passing by the windows. On the walls hang photographs of smiling faces from around the world, taken by a neighboring photographer.
Al Bacaro - Italian Osteria
1017 HH Amsterdam
Tel. +31 203300673
Open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday, from midday to 10.30pm.