Autentico Italiano© by John Axelrod Contact

where to find the best italian food outside Italy

Family Style In Dusseldorf

A week in Dusseldorf meant hopefully finding some good food, but the January 2011 weather was not very cooperative. Fortunately, near my hotel, close to the Tonhalle, sits Positano, a good option when going to concerts. As for Authentic Italian, well, yes, but what it may lack in great food it certainly makes up for great service. For several days I sampled the taglioni tartuffo bianco, creamy zuppa di pomodoro (with a guilty splash of gin), spaghetti alla vongole, and a creamy mozzarella di bufala that always adds to the authentic quotient. The open 2006 Amarone helped the mood too. But the best motivation was Gianfranco, who went out of his way to treat me " a la familia." Doing everything he could to make me and my guests feel at home, Gianfranco prepared special desserts and never resisted the opportunity to share his culinary advice, or his family photos. Service has never been a criteria for authentic ingredients, but family spirit is certainly authentic.

The real Dusseldorf authentic favorite for me is A Tavola, a little hole in the wall on, yes, Wallstrasse. The atmosphere is very authentic, the open kitchen and family style are essential ingredients of this osteria. Here you sit with others on long tables, by candlelight, with paper napkins and handwriten menus. All the traditional specialties are there. Ossobucco Milanese, calamari grilled to sweet perfection, taglioni with black truffles and carciofi all Romana. A Sicilian Nero d'Avola did the trick for several glasses. The line out the door spoke of the ristorante's repute. The German family next to me shared their truffles. The Polish couple offered some wine. This family spirit was intoxicating!

Even the 2nd return to A Tavola kept me interested. Panzerotti pasta made alla casa filled with ricotta and spinach with sage and butter. But what made me really return was to try the Agnello al Forno, for me the mark of true authenticity. And this was indeed prepared well. 6 cutlets tied together, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Hard to be any better. Complimenti.

At my home, "A Tavola!" is said to bring the family together for a meal. A Tavola, the restaurant, makes everyone a member of the family table. Highly recommended.

A Tavola
Wallstraße 11
40213 Düsseldorf, Germany
0211 132923

Positano
Freiligrathstraße 36,
Düsseldorf - 0211 4982803