Lunch @ Assaggi
After a whole week of work, I truly believe you need a treat. And my treat for this weekend was a lunch at Assaggi, Italian restaurant in 三里屯北小街1号 (SanLiTun North Alley). It is one of my favourites places in Beijing, because of the location – I can walk there from my place going through the Embassy area, which I love, and because of the atmosphere, so relaxed and laid back.
So, I was in a perfectly good mood, wore a brand new funny skirt, my pink blush and my best smile before leaving my apartment to head there for lunch!
The restaurant itself is very special: on the ground floor, as soon as you enter, you find a huge red coffee machine (Gaggia) welcoming you – already a good start! Then you climb the stairs and you get to the main floor, where two dining rooms and a nice terrace for outdoor seating – when the weather is nice – can sit around 50 people.
The good thing about having lunch at Assaggi is that they have 3 different set menus: the menus A (79 CNY) and B (99 CNY) have a starter and a main course, the menu C (119 CNY) has also a dessert. All of them have coffee or tea included, and tap water. And above all, and this is the part my husband loves, free flow of warm and homemade bread and focaccia.
I normally try to skip the dessert, and even more so now that Christmas is approaching and I will eat plenty of cakes, chocolate, candies and, most probably, Santa-shaped pink marshmallows coming all the way from Sweden. This is why I chose the menu B: it looked yummy and not too high in calories.
Service is very kind here, the waiters know what they are doing (at least most of the times) and the decor of the restaurant is very simple and elegant. In particular, I like when they put fresh flowers on the table: it is a nice touch (and not too expensive for the owner, given that flowers are so cheap in China). This time, we had yellow lilies that looked beautiful.
Then the food arrived. My pumpkin and pine nuts salad was delicious: the pumpkin was still warm from the oven, and the contrast with the fresh rucola was amazing. There was a little bit too much parmesan in my opinion, but I think it’s not fair to complain about this, right?
As a main, I ordered conchiglie with tomato and mozzarella, and I was not disappointed at all! They came in a big portion (I’m afraid it was actually way bigger of what I’m supposed to eat), they were perfectly cooked and cheesy enough. Tomatoes and basil were fresh. Even if I’m Italian, and I know pasta is one of the main elements of our Mediterranean diet, I don’t eat it very often, so I was so excited! Even having to wait before eating in order to take pictures for this blog was painful!
You can see from my happy face that I couldn’t wait to taste it!
Then it was espresso time. Ah, I love coffee! Plus, when it comes when pink cute cookies it’s just amazing! It was delicious: I guess the secret is the machine they have and that they only use coffee beans from Italy.
I really think Assaggi is a nice place for a weekend brunch. It’s simple, down to earth, homey. I feel really comfortable when I come here, maybe because the owner is Italian, and you can see from many small details (like fresh flowers every day) that he cares about his guests. Also, I loved that they decorated a huge Christmas tree and put it at the very entrance. I love Christmas trees!
Another note: from the same family as Assaggi, PaninoTeca and a little bakery next door are also on my list of to-go-to places for good Italian food. PaninoTeca is a sandwich bar with many light options perfect for a quick lunch or snack, and the bakery, the youngest one in the family, offers an impressive selection of bread, pastries and cookies for a reasonable price. When you enter the tiny shop, it feels like you are in Italy in your favourite neighbourhood joint, in for a treat. Anyone?
For the lunch at Assaggi I was delighted to wear:
Funny skirt: COS
Flats: Salvatore Ferragamo
Rose gold necklace: Tiffany & Co.
Blush: Chanel Joues contrast #65 – Espiegle
Pictures were taken with my white iPhone 5