Given the profile of its namesake, it’s understandable to have high expectations of Jamie’s Italian; but step through the door of the restaurant on Bristol’s Park Street and you’ll be relieved to find it’s utterly pukka.
Spread across the former Blackwell’s bookshop, Jamie’s Italian pays homage to its past with an NYC loft meets 1930s office look, complete with stripped ceilings, wrought-iron staircases and desk lamps. Some original bookshop signage remains, adding literary flair to the new additions of hanging hams and an open kitchen, all of which combine to make a surprisingly welcoming, comfy space.
Happily, the warmth extends to the staff, too. From the host through to the waiting staff, everyone knows their stuff, not just reeling off the specials but chatting through the menu in detail, and giving helpful and entertaining suggestions.
The space may be quirky and the staff up for a laugh, but when it comes to the food there’s no mucking around. The menu is a showcase of authentic Italian favourites with the occasional British twist (think English wild boar salami), all made with carefully sourced ingredients and skill.
Choose from a range of small dishes and antipasti, more filling options like homemade pasta and Italian-inspired burgers, or pick your own from the fantastic fish counter, offering the best sustainably-sourced catch. The wine list’s decent too – start with a prosecco or try a top notch Italian wine, all of which are available by the glass, bottle and carafe.
Whether you fancy a power lunch, a celebration with family and friends or a leisurely evening for two, Jamie’s Italian is a place that wants you to enjoy yourself. And with great food and a fantastic atmosphere, it’s a dead cert.