Antico, Henley-on-Thames, UK
Antico's Tudor front
I first went to Antico about twenty something years ago for a friend's 40th birthday (I was a mere 21 at the time).
Then after a period of more than a decade I went back with my girlfriend (now my wife) and the two things about the place that really struck us were the wonderfully cosy environment, set in a genuine Tudor building, and the character of the owner.
I had lobster which I was told I could have how I like and with what I like, so I did, yum.
We didn't go back too often initially but we loved the traditional Italian food and so it became more and more of a regular venue for us.
On returning on one occasion it turned out that the owner had sadly passed away and a friend of his had been asked to take over the restaurant and run it with the former owner's wife.
After a while we got to know the new owner, Valerio, who had come to the UK when he was in his twenties. He had apparently driven his little Fiat all the way from Italy and on entering the UK it promptly broke down so he got a toe from Dover up to London behind a fellow Italian in a Ferrari. Nice!
As time went on we got to know Valerio and his partner, Daniela, very well. Then when my girlfriend and I finally got married Valerio and Dany were naturally invited. As well as adding to the wedding by singing some Italian songs, Dany also caught my wife's bouquet and just over four months later when Dany married Valerio I was asked to be witness to their wedding!
Now just two other things you should know about Antico. Firstly Valerio really knows how to look after people, he is passionate about service and he also knows his vino so there's always a choice of some very good wines.
The other thing is that on a warm Summer's evening Valerio opens Antico's 'secret' little garden at the rear which is out of site of the main restaurant, partially covered by a grape vine and which retains the heat of the day well into the night.
49/51 Market Place
Henley on Thames
Tel: +44 1491 573 060
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