You can eat here for under $15, there's excellent gelati for dessert, and if you've taken a punt on a date you're not sure about, it's loud enough to hide the awkward silences.
The café itself is an echo of the Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno – old men sip espresso from short glasses, gym junkies chug cappuccinos, Russell Crowe mulls scripts over macchiatos and footballers feast on pasta and free cordial upstairs.
Peter Harvey was a fan; Wine Bar of the Year's sommelier Charles Leong is a fan. They must be doing something right at this super-casual Italian restaurant.
Plot your next corporate takeover or political coup over a bowl of penne Bolognese at Machiavelli. Every heavy hitter has eaten here at one time or another, from "Aussie" John Symonds to Julia Gillard – each with a larger-than-life photo on the wall to mark the occasion.
There ain’t nothing fancy about No Names but that’s just how the regulars like it. Take the stairs via the seedy back alley entrance and you’ll find yourself ejected into a starkly lit dining room packed tight with chipped Laminex tables.
Wanna get fancy?
Italian food is the unofficial second cuisine of Sydney (the first being Thai), so we've picked our favourites, from red sauce joints to high end pasta purveyors.