Bei Amici is tucked just a short stroll up Mona Road, away from traffic-prone New South Head Road. It’s so petite that it’s easy to miss, should you be too busy admiring the neighbouring houses (or estates, since we’re in this part of town) and towering trees that dapple the light. But cast your eyes downward a little and you’ll find it: a narrow space presided over by a painted portrait of a voluptuous hippo, mounted on walls painted a pale shade of Sicilian olive green.
The sole restaurant in Darling Point and perhaps all the more welcoming for it, Bei Amici is a proud family affair. Owner Felix Rutz mans the kitchen and is known for his homely, rustic Italian fare, executed with precision. While the tables are clothed in white, it’s a relaxing spot for either a quick weekday bowl of angel hair pasta with Alaskan king crab, cherry tomatoes, chilli and lemon, or a lengthy meal fit for a celebration (it’s serious first date material, if you were wondering). Mondays see a fixed three-course menu for $33 and the restaurant holds regular events throughout the year (hello, fondue night).
Rutz’ seasonal menu evolves throughout the year, from roasted artichoke topped with buffalo mozzarella and a shag of crisp, herbed crumbs, to an autumn salad of figs, ox heart tomatoes, mint and baked ricotta. Arrive at lunch and the space is light and bright, the windows thrown open to welcome the breeze. As evening falls, the mood shifts and candlelight flickers across each table. Consistent and comforting, with a twinkle in its eye, this neighbourhood darling is as good as it has ever been.