For 20 years, Assaggi served top-quality Italian food to a smart local clientele, so there was much wailing in 2015 when it closed after lease problems. Fortunately, that wasn’t the end, and owner Nino Sassu re-opened in 2016 with the full backing of his landlords. The whole building has been refurbished, and Sassu has turned the huge ground floor into an all-day eatery serving wood-fired pizzas alongside steaks, salads and pastries.
The cooking at Assaggi proper (upstairs) remains committed to the best Italian ingredients and traditional methods reflecting the chef’s Sardinian childhood. Dishes such as calamari stew or crab with celery, olive oil and lemon may sound simple, but flavours are intense and memorable. Pasta might bring tagliolini with nine different herbs (and no garlic), while capunti is combined with speck and a gentle cream of courgettes, Parmesan and saffron. Substantial grills, regional cheeses and alluring desserts complete the line-up, with drinks running from good-value wines to Negronis.