Top 10 Italian: Canberra
The nation’s capital is no stranger to fine dining and delectable cuisine.
As we continue our hunt for the best Italian in Australian capital cities, we move to the good people of Canberra to help us identify the best of the best. Without further ado, here are the Canberrian’s top 10 Italians.
The team at Belluci’s demonstrate a contemporary approach to food and its philosophy. Over time as Canberra’s food scene has evolved, so too has Bellucis. Their Italian is traditional, focused on creating simple and rustic meals while never failing to deliver fine quality. We recommend the Risotto Al Gamberi, with Queensland prawns and squid, chilli, prawn bisque and fresh herbs.
Found in the Melbourne Building in the CBD, Mama’s Trattoria is traditional to the core. A wide variety of pasta staples and original concepts take centre stage, with every lunch, dinner and weekend packed out by hungry food lovers. The restaurant offers a European flair through the outdoor dining which sprawls onto the pedestrian concourse, while also offering a rustic and warm dining room. The restaurant definitely lives up to its name, Mama would approve.
Italian & Sons
After 9 years on the Canberra food scene Italian & Sons has had to time to master their art. As the first premium restaurant in the now bustling Lonsdale Street. Italian & Sons could be crowned for having single-handedly bringing around the drastic (and brilliant) change to the Braddon precinct. The food is contemporary Italian, offering authentic favourites in a setting reminiscent of Rome. If a one-hat rating from the SMH Good Food Guide isn’t enough, Italian & Sons also holds a prestigious two-glass rating in the Gourmet Traveller Wine Australian wine list of the year awards. Awards which both speak volume and truth.
Managed by the renowned hospitality group Peppers, Bicicletta is located in the ever buzzing NewActon precinct. The food is authentic and fresh, while the produce is sourced only from the freshest of suppliers. The menu caters to all event types, whether you’re due for a coffee stop, need a quick takeaway dinner or a fine dining sit in – plus daily specials, fresh from the marketplace. The wine list was carefully curated to compliment the food, and that it does. If we had to pick, we’d say try the Ravioli De Maiale Arrosto, housemade Ravioli stuffed with roast pork, apple, potato and thyme.
It’s the big brother, slightly larger and more ‘fine dining’ version of Italian & Sons. You’ll find half of the clientele in suits, dining on delicate plates of tortellini, the other half are couples, enjoying romantic meals of Southern Italian cuisine. Oozing class and intimacy, Mezzalira Ristorante is Canberra fine dining at its best. If you’re looking to visit and need a recommendation, we suggest the Agnello al Forno, wood roasted Flinders Island lamb ‘Stracotto’ with roast eggplant, cherry tomatoes and mint salsa verde.
It’s a micro-eatery at its best. The tiny Pizza Gusto in Braddon is a wood-fired pizza joint, famed for its light, crispy pizzas. Located in the hub of Braddon on Lonsdale St, Pizza Gusto is the perfect midweek location for when there’s no food in the house and you’ve had a long day at work. Grab a seat at one of the tables outside or snag yourself some takeaway. We certain you can’t go past the Gusto – tomato and bocconcini cheese finished with prosciutto, rocket and a sneaky drizzle of EV olive oil. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness obviously never ate at Gusto.
While the fine-dining scene of Canberra has grown in recent years and (in our opinion) can’t be faulted, there is something to be said for the longstanding, no frills local joints that dish up quality pizza, handmade pasta and the freshest ingredients. Facing out from the groundfloor of the Melbourne building, Briscola serves a varied crowd – business men and women, families, couples, groups of friends – and all are well and truly satisfied. Do yourself a favour and try the Statue of David pizza (medium is perfect for one hungry human), a combination of bocconcini, smoked leg ham, potato, sauteed zucchini and rosemary.
Carlo Tosolini is a name that needs little introduction to the locals of Canberra. Having owned and run Tosolini’s for 29 years, Carlo has since opened Molto Italian – the perfect mix of modern and traditional. There’s a rich sense of history teamed with the joy of cooking, Italian food and of course, culture. The restaurant is modern and sleek, and the food is dreamy.
Originally opened in 2002 on Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Chez Frederic has come a long way – literally. Chez Frederic prides themselves on producing innovative pasta and high quality interpretations of classic Italian dishes. The little restaurant offers diners a truly contemporary take on Italian dining, with items such as Jalapeno Garlic Bread, Duck Ravioli, Cheeseburger Gnocchi and Kangaroo Bolognese local favourites.
It’s a funny concept – board games and beer in a restaurant that also doubles as a cafe. That’s Guild. Get your geek on while chowing down on some mouth-watering wood-fired pizza. The kitchen is headed by Chef Damien Maier and his team, who serve first class pizza, arancini and mezze platters. We think a pairing of the Guardami pizza – Italian Casalinga sausage, mozzarella di bufala, artichoke and red onion – and a jug of Lavender Collins sounds like a winner.