Kick off your shoes and crash tackle a bowl of pasta at some of Sydney's best casual Italian restaurants.
We wouldn't call chef Mitch Orr’s food straight up Italian. He's been known to say he takes more influence from Chinatown than he does the Cinque Terre. So what the hell do you call a restaurant serving a menu of seven pastas, a baloney sandwich and cucumber spears pickled in gin? Italianese? Chitalian? It probably doesn’t matter. The more important message here is that it’s fun and good.
This tiny neighbourhood Italian restaurant is pitched perfectly for local and wandering food fans alike, offering big bang for relatively little buck. The wine list is exciting, the pastas will haunt your dreams and if they have the fregola with chargrilled king it's essential that you order it.
No matter how many winning new enoteche chef-owner Andrew Cibej opens (see 121 BC and Berta) the demand for seats here never dwindles. The original recipe remains unchanged: a daily menu of imaginative, contemporary Italian fare scrawled on the walls, packing them in for lunch and overflowing on to waitlists in the evening.
If Sophia Loren owes everything she has to spaghetti, it might be fair to say everything Barry McDonald has, he owes to Johnny Love Bite tomatoes and individual watermelons. The successful businessman has turned a fruit-and-veg business into a series of successful trattorias, each with an attached fruit and vegetorium. And now Alexandria joins the fray.
Otto Ristorante's casual offsider, the Larder, serves up casual Italian fare in one of the most picturesque dining spots in the city. The menu will continue to change 'depending on what's in the larder' - but their's is a well-stocked pantry so expect tasty results and pair them with a bottle from your own cellar because they do BYO.