Tuesday, March 3, 2015

La Fucina Italian, in the Indische Buurt:

On the edge of a busy intersection in the Indische Buurt, in Amsterdam East, lies La Fucina–a recently opened Italian food restaurant, which aims to become a gathering place and space within the neighborhood. Established in February 2015, the restaurant's energetic, enthusiastic, and always smiling owners are a couple from the Venice region of Italy; meaning that this is true Italian food, and quite unlike anything else to be found in this most dynamic of cities. Specializing in pizza and pasta, with an evolving selection of tempting sweet treats–such as cakes and tarts–the menu is handwritten, daily, on an oversized blackboard wall inside; outside on the sidewalk is a smaller blackboard, which announces what's on offer that day, too. Having dined at La Funcina many times within the past month, last week while there I conversed with Samantha, one of the two owners. During our chatter I learned that, indeed, everything is homemade, daily. And, that their pizza dough is made anywhere from a day to two days in advance of its baking; in this way, the dough can sufficiently rise. Which means that every bite is thick and chewy, but never 'heavy'. This is a place in which to dine with friends, or alone; last week I sat within this window, enjoying a solo snack, as I watched the world waltz by. And as the Indische Buurt morphs, transforms, and continues to reinvent itself and its role within the city, its main thoroughfare–Javastraat–reflects this flurry of activity: new venues seem to open along it, all the time. While all the recent additions to the neighborhood are welcomed, I welcome this new place the most. The next time you find yourself in the Indische Buurt, take a seat along this fabulously oversized street-facing window, grab a slice, and get lost in observation of the never-ending flow of sidewalk passersby.