Ambar Bistro combines two things: Neapolitan cooking and Bavarian craft beer. Opened by beer sommelier Gianluca Massa in 2015, he is a man with a clear mission. “I want people to remember an evening at Ambar not only for the food and drink, but also for the atmosphere,” he says. “My place should always be cheerful and full of life; there is nothing worse than a quiet restaurant!” Walk into bustling Ambar on a Friday or Saturday night, and it’s fair to say this goal has been achieved.
Ambar serves over 40 beers from independent brewers across Bavaria – all of whom he knows personally. Having lived in Munich for over 15 years, Gianluca has developed a strong understanding of the local beer scene and the people behind it. This is not to say the beer list is fixed: “I constantly get new recommendations from brewers and guests. I also receive a lot of samples, which I can’t complain about!” For non-beer drinkers, Ambar also has red and white wines from Campania. What you won’t find here however is the otherwise ubiquitous Aperol and Campari spritz.
An avid collector of old Neapolitan cookbooks, Gianluca serves diverse dishes based on traditional recipes and seasonal products. “Working with small producers is just as important when it comes to food,” he says. His face lights up as he starts to walk us through some of the food you can find in the region between Naples and Caserta.
“I often head home to pick up some local specialities,” he explains. These include prosciutto, capacollo and pancetta from a local Neapolitan pig breed called maiale nero casertano, as well as the lupino gigante di vairano (beans) and the cipolla di alife (onions) – both Slow Food Presidia. Fresh products such as ricotta and mozzarella, or piennolo tomatoes in summer, are delivered to Giesing more regularly.
Particular highlights from the changing menu at Ambar are the fantastic antipasti plate, “zeppole” fritte, vegetable-based pasta dishes, portions of creamy ricotta with bread and Neapolitan meatballs.
The meat balls are something Gianluca is particularly proud of. They are also one of the main reasons he decided to open Ambar. “I couldn’t find real polpette anywhere in Munich and I missed them.” Now he and his chef make them every day. “And every day, I’m sure they taste a little bit better!”
Mon – Sat | 18:00 – 24:00
Closed Sundays and bank holidays