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Bei Amici Restaurant

AWARDED 16/20 Gault & Millau Ihe secret is out! Bei Amici is one of those suburban ‘hidden gems' that you read about. Tucked away at the bottom of Darling Point in Sydney's fashionable east, this is hardly destination dining, but those in the know keep returning to this restaurant for a very good reason.

A large part of that reason is chef and co-owner Felix Rutz. Known for his authentic Swiss-Italian cooking and ever-changing menu, Chef Rutz knows all about fresh produce and how to use it successfully. Thanks to an extreme passion for food (and a very patient restaurant manager), the menu changes almost daily according to seasonal produce and what is available to Chef Rutz on any given day. You will be hard pressed to find fresher produce, especially on a quiet, suburban Sydney street.

The staff members here do a very good job of catering to a clientele that ranges from older, more conservative types to the 'foodies' who come here for the chef´s amazing cooking skill and his unique Swiss take on mouth-watering Italian cuisine.

Having spent many family holidays in Italy as a child, Chef Rutz has an in-depth knowledge of Italian cuisine. He combines this with passion for first-grade produce obtained from Sydney´s premium providers to offer his guests a one-of-a-kind experience. With a simple yet cosy layout, the restaurant is suitable for couples on a romantic night out and also small groups catching up on old times. The ambience is enhanced by a range of lovely artworks from the Michael Commerford gallery just around the corner.

A casual local restaurant with outstanding staff, serving the best-quality produce cooked with love and precision - it´s no wonder that this place has been packed most nights of the week for almost a decade. The menu at Bei Amici comprises just one page, but it´s wonderfully diverse. The slow-roasted lamb melts in your mouth and is accompanied by the most restrained, perfect slice of house-made lamb sausage, the richness of which is cut through by eggplant and pepita puree.

And if that doesn't tickle your fancy, you can have a lovely celeriac puree, the simplest, brightest, freshest baby carrots and soft, buttery chestnuts. With a focus on the best seasonal produce, it is not surprising that Bei Amici excels in the salad department. Rich, plump, house-roasted baby beets are a wonderful match for fine crispy slices of apple, finished off with silky lebne and a sprinkling of crispy, sweet, crushed candied nuts. Or for something simpler, the mixed leaf salad is brought to life by a hint of parmesan and fennel. No visit to an Italian restaurant is complete without indulging in one of the rich desserts.

Bei Amici serves up a tantalising variety of sweet dishes, from hazelnut meringue and affogato to house-made-ice-creams and sorbets. For a savoury treat, try the delightfully named Monk´s Temptation - three Italian cheeses served with fig jam, currents, salami and Swiss fruit bread. It is the perfect example of Chef Rutz's Swiss-Italian influence throughout the menu.