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Italian food meets live jazz at restaurant Agliojazz

One frequent question I get from readers is where they can go for dinner AND live music in Amsterdam. It’s a question I often ask myself, too, and I never seemed to have an answer. So it was a happy coincidence when another message dropped into my inbox inviting me to Agliojazz – an Italian restaurant in de Pijp that serves up live jazz on Friday nights. I didn’t need asking twice; Mr Foodie and I made a reservation two days later.

First impressions are the epitome of gezelligheid: tea-light candles, natural materials, and warm and friendly hosts. A cross between your long-lost Italian family and your hipster Amsterdam friends. The restaurant is long and fairly narrow, which means that if you want to be closer to the jazz musicians you should sit further towards the back, or if you’d prefer just background music then ask for a table at the front. Either way, order a glass (or a bottle) of the Valpolicella and you’ll be off to a good start.

Agliojazz - live jazz music
Agliojazz plays live jazz music on Friday nights

Agliojazz’s menu is relatively long, offering antipasti, soups and side dishes, followed by primi (primarily pasta and gnocchi), secondi (meat and fish main dishes) and desserts. We tried a vast array of dishes, so I won’t go into the details of every single one – but instead I’ll compile a menu of my favourites so you’ll know what to order.

As I’m writing this, I’m realising that you’ll need to like truffle and you’ll need to like cured pork and you’ll need to like seafood. And of course these are strong flavours that not everyone’s keen on. But no one ever accused the Amsterdam Foodie of being averse to strong flavours or controversial ingredients, so I’ll crash on with pulling together my favourite menu anyway – with the caveat that of course plenty of other dishes are available.

Lardo di colonnata with truffle at Agliojazz
Lardo di colonnata with truffle at Agliojazz

Start with the lardo di colonnata – thinly sliced strips of fatback cured in herbs and spices, served with shavings of truffle, truffle oil, and a sort of pear chutney. Decadent and entirely addictive. From there, continue the truffle theme with fettuccine doused in butter and topped with culatello and more truffle. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan and ascend straight to pasta heaven.

Ascend straight to pasta heaven!

If you’ve got room, try the caciucco di mare next: a rich seafood stew with a sunny tomato base and a generous array of octopus, clams, langoustines and much more. Soak up the juices with bread (Agliojazz serves some excellent homemade focaccia, which you don’t see in the photo) and order another glass of that Valpolicella (it would be rude not to).

Seafood at Agliojazz
Caciucco di mare at Agliojazz

For dessert, savour the lightness and freshness of the lemon tart, which would go very nicely with a glass of limoncello. And then take my mum’s advice and make it a long walk home in the fresh air to let your food go down…

I was invited to Agliojazz as a guest, which meant my meal was free. But I’ve added up the dishes I’ve just described based on the prices on their website, and the food would’ve come to €66 (plus drinks). With that being said, you could very easily skip either the pasta or the seafood, still have more than enough to eat, and pay €20 or so less. Plus, on Friday evenings your bill covers the jazz entertainment as well. So, what are you doing next Friday night?

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Agliojazz (Italian)
€€

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