L'UVA, the small new Italian eatery on Bridge Street, has only been open a few weeks. But already it is beginning to earn a name for itself.

The restaurant came highly recommended by a friend whose husband is Italian. And when we visited, a customer at the next table who had clearly been before was urging his friends to try a particular pasta dish - I think it may have been the tagliatella all' anatra.

He was a bit of a bore, to be honest - one of those men determined to show off his knowledge of Italian food and wine to everybody else in the restaurant. Given that L'Uva is only small, it was quite hard to ignore his booming voice. But that wasn't L'Uva's fault: it is just one of those hazards of dining out...

L'Uva may be small, but it is perfectly formed. The interior is cool and dimly lit. There's a long bar at one end; walls of bare York brick, one of them sporting a large map of Italy; and wine racks filled with plump purple and yellow bottles. Something about the atmosphere - rustic, simple yet somehow sophisticated - screams Italy at you.

On its website, the restaurant describes itself as being 'somewhere between a classic Italian enoteca and a casual osteria'. An osteria is a restaurant serving 'wine and simple food'. That seems about right: L'Uva boasts of its small menu of 'traditional Italian plates' and its list of 'exclusive Italian wines'.

With my wife away my father, who was visiting York, joined me for a meal at L'Uva.

The menu is, as the restaurant admits, quite small. There is a limited but tasty-looking range of antipasti starters, a selection of salads and fried dishes (such as 'fried rice balls with spicy soft salame' and 'fried zucchini flowers') and a small selection of 'primi' and 'secondi' mains - the primi mainly homemade pasta dishes, the secondi including the likes fillet steak with gorgonzola and 'polpo e patate Calabrese' (spicy Calabrian-style octopus and potatoes). Your typical chain Italian restaurant this is not.

My father and I were shown to a small table near the window, and settled in. Our waitress brought us, on request, a jug of cool tap water with a slice of fresh lemon, and I requested a glass of the house white. It wasn't available, but our waitress suggested I could have a glass of Tris (£6) instead. I'm not a wine buff, but this was seriously good, with a depth of flavour you don't often find by the glass.

While we waited to order, we were served with a few fingers of focaccia bread, attractively presented in a white hessian bag. The bread was garnished with herbs, and large flakes of briny sea salt: a delicious combination, though I could have done with some olive oil.

From the antipasti section of the menu, I chose the formaggio taglieri, a mixed board of cheeses, including gorgonzola, taleggio and montasio, served with Italian bread and accompaniments. I noticed after I had ordered that this was priced at £9.50 - whatever else it may be, L'Uva is certainly not cheap. My father opted for the potato and cheese croquets (£6) from the fritti section of the menu.

My cheeses arrived on a board, served with a slice of crunchy toast and a couple of slivers of deliciously flavoured red pepper. They were a winning combination of flavours and textures - hard, crumbly, creamy and nutty. The gorgonzola was the winner, however - the flavours almost blew my head off.

And so on to the mains. We both chose pasta dishes: me the spaghetti alla sorrentina (homemade spaghetti with fresh tomato, basil and burrata, £12) and my father the tagliatella all' anatra (homemade tagliatelle with duck ragu, £13). We also ordered a side of rocket and parmesan salad (£4.50) and another of asparagus (£4.50).

L'Uva makes great play of the fact all its pasta is homemade fresh in-house. And it became obvious why.

Both dishes arrived on lovely, flaring white plates. The portions were small: but the flavours were out of this world. My pasta was unlike any I'd had before: wonderfully, tenderly chewy in the way I imagine only pasta that has just been made can be. It was tossed in herbs, each of which had their own distinct flavour, and slices of fresh, fried tomato that was exquisite. Best of all was the blob of soft burrata cheese on top, a wonderfully chewy accompaniment to the dish.

Another revelation was the asparagus: this arrived piping hot, fresh, crispy and succulent all at once, and sprinkled with more of those wonderful flakes of sea salt that we'd had with our foccacia. The salt brought out the delicate flavours of the asparagus in a way that was quite remarkable: it may be worth visiting L'Uva for this alone.

We finished with a torte caprese (traditional Italian chocolate cake) and gelato each: the chocolate cake decent, the ice cream as wonderful as only Italian ice cream can be.

Our bill, wine included, came to just over £78. As I said, L'Uva isn't cheap. But the food, most of it, was delicious and authentic. The service was friendly, and relaxed to the point of being slow - but that's surely the point of an Italian restaurant. You want to savour the experience, not bolt your food down. Booming bore aside, that's exactly what we did.