One Ford Street
Some restaurants manage to slide effortlessly into the fabric of the Sydney dining scene, simply by encapsulating the type of food we want to be eating right now. One Ford Street, tucked in behind the Cricketers Arms, is one such restaurant, serving up fresh and unfussy, modern Italian food.
When I arrived at Gelatony, Antonino Lo Iacono was making gelato. This might not sound surprising, but with so many places buying in product or importing the base, it’s important. When we sit down over a Flat White ($3.50) he brings me the smoothest gelato I’ve ever tasted.
“John Laws had lunch at Otto today,” my UberX driver informs me when he sees my destination. I’m apparently his second trip to this famous waterfront spot - operated by The Fink Group, who also have Quay, The Bridge Room and Firedoor in their stable. With its reputation preceding it, I was surprised to find an accessible menu of every-day food, starting with vibrantly green asparagus, broad beans and peas hiding Buffalo Ricotta ($27).
Diving into an established all-male Italian kitchen as the new head chef could be daunting (especially as a half-English, half-Welsh woman) but Naomi Lowry has taken it in her stride. She’s maintained the menu’s confident Southern Italian focus, notching it up with Sardinian Fregola ($27/$35) resplendent with perfectly cooked cuttlefish, calamari, prawns and mussels, and topped with a generous helping of bottarga.
Capriccio Osteria & Bar
“It’s like meat butter,” my dining companion exclaims, gesturing with half a two-bite Cannolo alla Mortadella ($4/each) in her hand. It’s crude, but apt: the balsamic cannoli come rolled in pistachio and filled with imported Italian mortadella that has been fashioned into pâté.
With the upsurge of enthusiasm for pizza certified Napoli, it’s easy to lose sight of pizza styles popular across the rest of Italy. Add that Nicola Piteo slid his restaurant into an existing Italian spot, keeping the original name, and you get some idea of how his outstanding pizza has largely flown under the radar.
Venture into Tomorrowland – otherwise known as Zetland (or ‘Zetciti’ as a clever business in the futuristic East Village shopping centre has dubbed it). Swallow down a portent dose of the future, where worker drones live in looming grey and taupe towers in fully self-contained dormitory suburbs; places where you can purchase an Audi as easily as you can order a name brand Lucio pizza.
Bertoni Farrer Place
Despite sitting at the base of Governor Macquarie Tower in the heart of the CBD, Bertoni Farrer Place remains remarkably casual. Maybe it is the warm Italian welcome, the backslapping enthusiasm of the owners, or the hearty Italian fare, but the end result is a good mix of suits, casual lunchers, and even a bike courier.