Enjoy the Italian atmosphere in a real Italian environment – with Italians! This place owned by a Slovak-Italian couple offers authentic meals from the Friuli region in Northeast Italy, live Italian music and serves also as a store where you can buy fresh products, wines and various decor. Welcome to Aquileia Antica!
The aperitiv bar Aquileia Antica can be found on Košická street which is outside of the busy city center but easily accessible with public transport – the closest bus stop is “Dulovo námestie” where you can get by buses number 68 or 50. From there, it is a few minute walk.
The whole place is not big in size but that does not necessarily mean anything bad. On the contrary – with all the seating, decoration, paintings and the big TV on the main wall which is playing Italian music, it will straight away make you feel like you’ve just entered somebody’s living room :)
The interesting thing about the paintings is that they change on a regular basis because the owners like to use their bar as a small gallery space. This way they help different artists, mainly from Slovakia, to promote their works, and besides giving away the premises for free, they also organize vernissages and small events – for example, each Saturday evening you can enjoy live Italian music performed by native musicians!
WHAT TO HAVE AT AQUILEIA ANTICA?
As the only place in Bratislava, Aquileia Antica offers typical Friulian specialties – Friuli is a region in the Northeast Italy known mostly for its wine. If you need help or suggestions regarding what wine goes well with which meal or you just want to try something traditional, you can ask the owner herself – which is also the main cook and will be happy to give you advice. You can meet her in the restaurant every day except Sunday. On the last day of the week her son becomes the main chef for a day :) From what we tried and liked we can recommend the white Sauvignon, the sparkling wine Rose Rabosino and the red Merlot. If you want to taste the very typical wine from the Friuli region, the owner recommends Refosco – intense, full, strong red wine with a 2000 years history that used to be the favorite wine of the Emperor Augustus.
Apart from wine (which you can also purchase here as bottles), you can taste various Italian appetizers, many types of fresh Italian pasta, salads, Italian hams, cheeses or salami from Friuli, original coffee from Trieste and typical Italian aperitifs. When we came for the first time, we were told they had just brought fresh mussels from Italy – we could not resist to try them and must say they were delicious. It was the first time we “risked” ordering mussels in Slovakia – and fortunately for us, the risk was worth it. Of course, they do not have mussels on the regular menu. They visit Italy every few weeks to get fresh products, so we recommend to contact them in advance to ask about this specialty.
Besides the mussel & shrimp cocktail, mussels in tomato sauce and mussels with spaghetti, we also tried their prosciutto crudo with mozzarella and a selection of fresh sea food served with polenta. As the owner told us, everything is prepared freshly on the spot, including all the sauces – the only exception is the ragu and the sole reason is that is needs to be cooked for at least 90 minutes.
Later when we came back, we asked what the traditional meal in Friuli was, something like halušky is for Slovaks :) We were told to try the „Frico con polenta“ – a pan-baked grated cheese & grated potatoes with polenta (boiled cornmeal bread). It might not look super attractive on the plate but it surely tastes heavenly – you really need to give it a chance when you visit this place! The unusual combination results in a surprisingly good taste – just make sure you are not on a diet because this meal might kill it :) For the meat lovers the „Porchetta di Ariccia“ might be an option, the boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition which goes well with bread and read wine.
If you have a weakness for sweet snacks, you have some nice options to pick from their dessert menu. Our winner was definitely the profiteroles. An interesting choice was the so-called Gubana which is a walnut cake served with Grappa – yes, the alcohol! Don’t come with a car if you want to try it :) We still have their home-made tiramisu on the list to try – which was promised to be exquisite.
As already mentioned, you can purchase many of the products, including wines, cakes, air-dried hams (not smoked) and cheeses here. Only products of high quality – this is what this small family business is about.
For our visits we took along some Italian friends because we wanted to have feedback on the meals from natives. Wonder what they said? The pasta was al dente, the fish was tasty, the wine was excellent! So, the place is good to go :) Last thing to mention – they only accept cash here, no cards.
ADDRESS: Košická 46
OPEN HOURS: MON – THU 12:00 – 23:00, FRI – SAT 12:00 – 01:00, SUN 12:00 – 23:00