Zitto & Bevi literally means ‘shut up and drink’ – an apt name for the rustic, noisy and fun new wine bar and osteria which has opened up at the bottom of Nine Tree Hill in Bristol’s trendy Stokes Croft.
We went on Wednesday night, drawn in after chatting with the effervescent Matteo on a walk past last week. Zitto & Bevi is a small, lively little place with a few seats upstairs and around 10 tables downstairs in the—dark but somehow not gloomy—basement. An Italian osteria is different to a restaurant in that it’s a place serving simple, family food and often at cheaper prices. That is definitely true of Zitto & Bevi.
The menu is dominated by wine. Lots of delicious Italian red, white and prosecco to choose from. We had two bottles of the sangiorgio priced at £18 a bottle and very drinkable. The food side of things is simple, stripped back and with very limited choice. When I say you can pretty much just have lasagne or bread, cheese and meats, I’m not joking.
We dined there with friends and enjoyed the friendly (if slow) service, quirky atmosphere and quite frankly tasty grub. To start we shared crudités and bruschetta. This included fontina cheese, n’duja (spicy, spreadable salami), roasted veggies, cured lard sautéed mushrooms and OH SO GOOD baccara (garlicky, salted cod).
To follow, I had the sartu di riso – a kind of fried risotto cake with peas, onions and in my case, a tomato ragu with delicious herby garlic filled Italian sausages. There are three lasagnas on the menu – a vegetarian, a classic and a salmon. Two of my dining partners went for the lasagne al salmone. Although they said it was delicious they felt it needed something to make it a little less dry, maybe more sauce?
The lasagne classica was on another level with a rich and silky béchamel spiced with cinnamon. Our fifth dining partner went for the most expensive thing on the menu: the tagliere or meat and cheese platter which was £9 and filled with gorgeous cured meats and cheeses. It seemed more like a starter or sharing platter but hey, if you want meat and cheese for your dinner, why not?
If you’re looking for fine dining, or even so much as a herb garnish on your dinner, don’t come here. Your lasagne will be a slab, cut from something much bigger and slapped into a bowl. Don’t even thing about asking for sides. You get what you’re given here but you know what? That’s what we loved most. This place is oozing charm and character. At under £90 for 5 of us with two bottles of wine, bruschetta AND a main each, you cannot grumble.
Informal, rustic and authentic Italian dining at it’s very best, Zitto & Bevi is perfectly suited to Stokes Croft. I just know this place is going to be popular so if I were you, I’d book ahead.
*We paid for our meal and Zitto & Bevi did not know that I was planning to review our experience. We loved Matteo, he was great fun and I even got a hug! Perfect front of house*