Fine Dining

From the Friulian village to global fame: family business with 2 Michelin stars at Agli Amici

Marco Colognese
copertina agli amici

In the tiny village of Gdia, a family in the restaurant business with 140 years of history continues its unstoppable rise in hospitality and cuisine. The evolution of a great Italian dining experience open to the world.

The story 

Godia, a hamlet near Udine, a wonderful city often too little spoken about in that Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a land of borders and intertwining cultures, a container of unparalleled beauty and goodness. Almost a hundred and forty years have passed between three centuries since in this tiny village, in 1887, the Scarello family's public activity began. What has become one of the great Italian tables with its current two Michelin stars, the first Relais & Châteaux in the region, originally started as a resale of colonial goods and tobacco, then transformed into a trattoria dedicated to fresh pasta.

agli amici sala

In the seventies, a further leap in quality comes from Tino and Ivonne: he a sommelier and front of house man, she a cook who attended Gustave Lenôtre's school in France, the same school that would train figures like Pierre Hermé and Alain Ducasse. Emanuele and Michela, their children, begin the journey that will lead in 2000 to the first Michelin star and only three years later to the second.

Michela Emanuele Scarello

It can be said that the two brothers have a pragmatic-romantic approach, almost an oxymoron on paper, with a perfect synthesis of warmth and perfection, because what is accomplished here at Agli Amici every day is the ritual of hospitality in its highest expression. Each time with a subtly extra dose of detail, the same that allows a long history not to be as conditioning as it often happens. This is both in the kitchen and in the way one is received at home, with a natural enthusiasm, ideal for happily destabilizing the myth of the rigid and authoritarian 'starred' restaurant.

agli amici Team Sala 1
agli amici sala 2

And speaking of rituals, the suggestive lounge area is dedicated to the aperitif, recently redesigned by the Visual Display studio, sober and elegant, all in shades of blue, with a large counter, as Emanuele describes: "We have always had a counter, we were born with a counter." Friuli and its people are found everywhere, from the rooms curated by architect Paolo Zuliani, to the works of local artists like the bronzes of sculptor Pietro De Tommaso and the oil paintings of Isabella Pers.

VD AgliAmici1887sala blu

The restaurant

Chatting with Michela and Emanuele, clear serenity and naturalness emerge with which both approach their work with loving dedication: "Agli Amici remains a central point of reference for our existence and for the people around us. What we like is to remove from the guest's mind anything that happened before stepping through the restaurant's threshold, resetting the outside for the time they will spend here." And speaking of vision, Emanuele explains it very clearly, linking it to the freedom to express oneself.

emanuele scarello chef

"Being outside certain frameworks and obligations makes you free to do what you like. I am happy with what I have; there was a moment when I felt called to the spotlight so much, and at a certain point I wondered if that was really what I wanted. Actually, what I like is to be a good restaurateur, to make the people who come to us happy." Certainly, it's practically impossible to leave without a smile after getting up from the table here in Godia. Everything works to perfection, in an atmosphere of relaxed informality that puts everyone at ease: the wine list, extensive and deep, starts from Friuli and goes everywhere, the staff moves with grace under Michela's attentive direction.  

Agli Amici team3
AgliAmici 0096

As for the cuisine? Following a precise guiding thread and soul that move in unison, Emanuele's dishes and his team naturally move: "territory" at Agli Amici is not the usual worn and overused term because in all those preparations where a Friulian ingredient recurs, it is elevated to the fullest; almost redundant is instead emphasizing the extreme attention to seasonal products, no matter how bizarre the climate is becoming. Scarello's style is all his own, a combination of sharpness, essentiality, and cleanliness that restore to taste the absolute centrality it deserves, without distractions or imperfections.

emanuele scarello 2024 04 04 01 24 19

The dishes

There are two tasting menus, NuovaMente Agli Amici and NuovaMente Vegetale; the sequence of the first, which we tasted, leaves no room for the palate to rest. Starting with the snacks, featuring remarkable homemade speck from November 2022, cubes of limpets with potatoes and celery with sea foam, white sturgeon caviar from Calvisius served with hazelnut butter and coffee, tomato crystal marinara and brown shrimps, the delightful Italian aperitif: Parmigiano Reggiano shortbread biscuit in the shape of a puzzle piece with olives and peanuts. Furthermore, the irresistible citrus pork head cheese with green sauce, caper powder, and crispy caper, and then the flower within the flower: smoked tofu cream with pomegranate gel and cauliflower.

emanuele scarello Aperitivo Patella

The table menu starts with scallops, a panade of marinated mollusks in brine and beaten into a powder of smoked seaweed, served with a smoked tuna kombucha’s veil and hazelnut butter air. Alongside is served the razor clam, splendid to see with its colorful details, with fermented vegetables, apple cubes, and sweet and sour daisy buds preserved in-house.

emanuele scarello Cappesante e Cappelunghe 1
emanuele scarello Cappelunghe con verdure fermentate e germogli di campo foto Fabrice Gallina
Photo by Fabrice Gallina

Another small masterpiece is the lacquered whole cuttlefish with its ink, with tamarind, cuttlefish egg sauce, and fermented lemon; the side is a delicious raw of its tentacles served with cocoa nibs and homemade pork lard. The flavors of high intensity persist with the raviolo, a fusion of homemade pasta with spider crab, saffron, and sea air, which is served alongside with a small, but highly concentrated kumquat worked with a particular technique and filled with the crustacean's juices, of absolute goodness.

emanuele scarello Seppia integrale tamarindo e latte di seppia 2

The cooking of the sweetbread with crustacean shell reduction is memorable, seared and glazed with the same reduction and raw Istrian langoustine; at the base of the dish is yogurt sauce, lovage oil, and spring onion. The intensity rises with the lamb variations with the shoulder cooked in the kamado served with a bouquet of pink turnip, red turnip, carrots, and radish. It is completed with a sauce based on the cooking juices of the lamb itself, hazelnut butter, and bergamot.

emanuele scarello Animella con scampo e yogurt

The steamed and then fried sandwich with offal ragout (lungs, liver, heart, and kidneys) and mustard mayo, with dill and chervil sprouts, is of infinite succulence. The ham obtained from the thigh and worked like a Pata Negra with over a year of aging is extremely elegant.

emanuele scarello Selezione di Formaggi

The dessert chapter, decidedly original and never overly sweet, begins with barley and beans, a variety of Friulian borlotti beans that are kept in vanilla and sugar syrup. At the base is a kombucha cream with strawberry grape and bean jam, on top is barley cooked in milk with pepper ice cream and vanilla milk air. Finally, fresh asparagus and rhubarb: caramelized custard cream with asparagus ice cream and rhubarb sauce at the base, topped with a 'flower' made of asparagus and rhubarb petals.

AgliAmici Mise en place GIU1837b

What's wonderful is that besides Godia, the Scarellos oversee two other restaurants, which we'll have the opportunity to tell you about: the first is Agli Amici Rovinj, a Michelin star restaurant in Istria in Rovinj in partnership with the Maistra Hospitality Group, in the space between the Grand Park Hotel Rovinj and the Marina, with a spectacular terrace overlooking the sea. The second, a recent and prestigious opening, is in Venice within the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa on the Island of Roses in a 1920s building. Taste assured with family tradition. 

emanuele scarello e il team JW Marriott Venice
Emanuele Scarello and the team- JW Marriott Venice


Agli Amici dal 1887

Via Liguria, 252, 33100 Udine UD

Phone: 0432 565411


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