Monday, 16 June 2008

Euro 2008 - Italy

Italy might be the current World champions, but they've started off Euro 2008 pretty badly. So badly that if Romania beats the Netherlands in the final group game (which is possible) then Italy will be out, even if they do beat France. That will be a pretty big shock not only in Italy, but all around the football world.

Luckily we have loads of Italian cafes and restaurants in Brisbane. If I tried to list them all I'd be here for a couple of weeks, so I won't bother. Here is a short list of great Italian places in Brisbane, to celebrate or commiserate, depending on how things pan out for the Azzuri.

Il Centro is usually a safe bet for a great lunch or dinner. I know its popular with both the business crowd and tourists, but the food is very good. You can read my post about Il Centro here. Il Centro's food is modern Italian, with Queensland influences, rather than your trattoria classics. If you've never tried their lasagne alla granseola (sandcrab lasagna), you're missing out on something pretty special.

I still haven't eaten there, but Dell' Ugo is considered by many to be Brisbane's best Italian restaurant. Meals at Dell' Ugo include calamari fritti (pan fried calamari served with herb & chilli oil - $26), tortiglioni al pesto con salsiccie di maiale (homemade pesto tortiglioni with fresh Italian pork and fennel sausages - $28) and the delicious sounding cosciotto d’anatra con miele e stella d’anice (slow braised duck maryland with a filling of muscatel & fresh shallots, finished in a honey & star anise broth served on roasted parsnip mash & roasted carrots - $33.50). The wine list is compact, but contains a selection of Italian wines to add to an authentic Italian night out. You can visit Dell' Ugo at New Farm or Southbank.

If there is one thing I really, really miss with my gluten free diet, its the pizzas from Arriva. Arriva used to be my favourite pizza place in Brisbane, especially after the Schonell pizza cafe closed. I know it doesn't look like much, but the pizzas are sensational. They also do some excellent salads. If you're craving a real Italian pizza, with a thin base, and only a few delicious toppings, then Arriva is the place for you. Sure it can get busy at times, but the food is worth the wait.

I've already done a post about Vil'laggio at New Farm, which you can read here. Although some of our food was a bit hit and miss, when it was good, it was great. My main of porchetta arrosto su verza brasata con pancetta uvetta e pinoli in salsa di fondo (wood roasted pork belly, rolled with Italian spices and fresh herbs on sautéed cabbage, pancetta, sultanas and pine nuts with roast potato and vegetable gravy - $31.95) was fantastic, and I'm definitely going to give the place another go.

I can't do a post about Italian food during Euro 2008 without mentioning Arriverderci at Park Road. I used to work on Park Road, and the guys at Arriverderci are so passionate about football, they were usually dressed in some kind of football jersey. No doubt they are probably doing a roaring trade at the moment. During the happy hours on Thursday and Friday afternoons the place is usually packed.

If you've had enough pizza and pasta, and all you're after is gelati, there is no better place in Brisbane than Gelateria Cremona. I'm convinced its the best gelati you can find in Brisbane. I'm slowly working my way through their amazing flavours, and you can read my earlier post here.

Il Centro
Eagle Street Pier
Eagle Street
Brisbane 4000
P - 07 3221 6090

Dell' Ugo New Farm
693 Brunswick Street
New Farm 4005
P - 07 3254 2188

Dell' Ugo Southbank
Shop 6A/B Little Stanley Street
Southbank 4101
P - 07 3844-0500

Arriva Italian Restaurant
Shop 6, 84 Merthyr Road
New Farm 4005
P - 07 3254 1599

Arriverderci Pizzeria
1/1 Park Road
Milton 4064
P - 07 3369 8500

Gelateria Cremona
Shop 5/151 Baroona Road
Rosalie Village
Paddington 4064
P - 07 3367 0212


Lara said...

Hi, I thought I was leaving a comment, but I think I just sent you an e-mail instead. :-/

Short version - Schonell Pizza Caffe still running (but perhaps not open as often now that uni semester is almost over); Wild Pepper do gluten-free pizzas.

food bling, Brisbane said...

my apologies to the Schonell pizza cafe. I'm glad to hear its still open

Natascha Mirosch said...

My two faves are Paolo's at Suncorp stadium. I know sounds weird and certainly it's not salubrious but the pasta is perfectly al dente and Paolo, the owner-chef is very particular about the seafood. Another two I like are Viale Canova (more nothern-ish Italian) and Cosi. The chef here is from Sardinia, so it's worth trying the Sardi dishes like the pasta particular to that island. (I can't for the life of me remember it's name- it's served with Sardinian sausage and a tomato sauce from memory.)
Beccofino in Teneriffe have the closest thing to real Italian pizza in town and some nice modern versions of Italian dishes.


Natascha Mirosch said...

Also... agree about the Cremona. I have never seen such a dedicated ice-cream maker as the owner and it's the only icecream around that doesn't make the nine year old go off on an artifically induced high.

food bling, Brisbane said...

Thanks for the comment about Paolo's. I've had so many people tell me how good it is (and its BYO). Its another place on my endless list of restaurants to get to.