Chefs Nikola Markoski and Chen Yi have combined their considerable experience to open Due Amici in Manly Village.
The two friends have been cooking Italian cuisine together for five years.
“We both love Italian food, so teaming up made sense,” Chen says.
Nikola’s wife Svetlana Markoski is also a co-owner, bringing 10 years of customer service expertise to the venture.
The trio have given the building a rustic re-vamp to create the feeling of a traditional Italian eatery, using brick wallpaper and classical interior paintings to decorate the space.
While setting up, Svetlana says the public’s interest in their restaurant was very welcoming.
“So many locals would ask what we were doing and would offer their help. It’s such a lovely, tight-knit community up here – it reminds Nikola and I of home.”
Nikola and Svetlana are from Macedonia, a small country on the Balkan Peninsula in south-east Europe.
The couple grew up together, attending the same kindergarten. They reconnected years after leaving school and have been married for five years. They have two children.
Chen moved to New Zealand from China in 2008 and has specialised in Italian cuisine since.
“I prefer cooking Italian because, from pizza to veal, I love all Italian food,” Chen says. Chef Nikola’s 20 years’ experience in Italian cuisine has led to an extensive menu.
“We have had a lot of great feedback about the menu, as people appreciate having a choice,” Nikola says.
“We have pages of different pizzas, pastas and meats for people to try, so we have seen plenty of customers return to try more of our dishes.”