Bussia is one of my favorite restaurants in Amsterdam. I had not been for a while, due to Covid and because it is so popular that you usually need to make a reservation a few weeks in advance. The restaurant qualifies itself as “modern Italian fine dining”, and that is a very good description. The menu structure is Italian (antipasti, primo, secondo, dolce; click here for an explanation), the techniques and recipes are all in Italian style, they make everything from scratch from fresh ingredients, and the wine list is completely Italian. But they use a lot of local ingredients from the Netherlands and you won’t find Italian classics on the menu like vitello tonnato or spaghetti alla carbonara. There is a tasting menu of five courses (one cold antipasto, one hot antipasto, choice of two primi, choice of two secondi, dolce) for 65 euros, with 50 euros for a wine pairing (or 57 euros with an upgrade to a glass of (young) Barolo with the secondo). It is also possible to order à la carte, but we opted for the degustazione.
The first wine was a Soave by Suavia, one of the lead producers of the area. It was an elegant Soave with a light touch of the typical ‘volcanic’ minerality.
It was a good pairing for the salad of artichokes, celeriac, carrots, and blueberries. This is not as easy as it may sound, as artichokes can be difficult to pair with.
The next wine was labeled as a rosato, but could easily classify as a blanc de noirs (white wine made of blue grapes by avoiding skin maceration). It was a wine made from Nerello Mascalese from the Etna, and very flavorful.
It was a good pairing for a half quail, grilled on the Big Green Egg, with roasted parsnip, lentils and a vadouvan sauce. The quail was tender and juicy and it worked very well with the lentils and parsnip.
The third wine was a well balanced Valpolicella, nicely fruity and not too acidic (as may happen with Valpolicella).
It was a good pairing with ravioli stuffed with braised lamb in a sauce that was advertised as a butter and morel sauce, but the lemon zest and parsley were the main flavors (and I could hardly make out the morels). Due to the lemon zest, I think a white wine would also have worked very well. In fact my friend (who is not a fan of red wine) had a Trebbiano Spoletino that was made with cold skin contact, which he said worked very well.
The wine for the main course was a Timorasso from the Colli Tortonesi, an almost forgotten but now again famous grape variety from that area. It was a typical Timorasso: complex and balanced, with quite a bit of body for a white wine.
This was an outstanding pairing for an outstanding dish: hake with a fermented sunchoke sauce, sunchoke puree, sunchoke gratin, Dutch shrimp, and parsnip chips. The fish was perfectly cooked and succulent. The combination of fish, sunchokes, and shrimp together with the wine was amazing. This dish with wine pairing is easily worthy of at least 2 Michelin stars.
The final wine was a good Moscato d’Asti. A bit predictable perhaps, but it was an excellent pairing for the dessert:
A strawberry and rhubarb tartlet with rooibos meringue and ‘hangop’ (drained yogurt) sorbet.
I’ve been dining at Bussia for a long time, and it is amazing how consistent the quality is of food, wine (pairings), and service. It is simply always excellent. I’ve only written one review on this blog before, which was exactly 10 years ago. What I wrote then about the quality is still true today. If you are in Amsterdam, Bussia is strongly recommended.