A celebration of all things Italian
Surry Hills may just have a fight on its hands for the go-to spot for great dining, with the opening of The Italian on the North Shore.
Last month Adam Lyons and Dan Sofo launched this rustic venue on Willoughby’s High Street, bringing with them years of experience earned at Walsh Bay’s Firefly. And while they admit that it might have been easier to open on the other side of the bridge, they’re adamant that everybody should have access to good food, regardless of where they live.
As the name suggests, this is a celebration of all things Italian, with a menu of pizza and pasta dishes that run the full gamut of what the country has to offer. Dan and his brother Olivier (whom you’ll find heading up the kitchen), wanted to represent not only their Italian heritage, but the impressive pride that Italians have for their local regions. So while the creamy rigatoni with ricotta, pork sausage and fennel smacks of its native Calabria, and the spaghetti with a rich pork and veal ragu is about as Umbrian as you’ll get, the flour has come from Demeter Farm Mill in Gunnedah, the pork is from locals Quattro Stelle.
Pizzas are wonderfully simple – crisp, light bases with a restrained approach to toppings that highlights quality ingredients like prosciutto, gorgonzola or fresh mushrooms. The wood-fired oven, in full view of the tables thanks to the open plan kitchen, is also used to bake the restaurant’s sourdough loaves, which are cooked each morning using the residual heat from the service the night before.
To go with all that fine food, there’s a good list of Italian drops, as you’d hope, with a few locally produced Italian-style wines too. Adam’s knowledge of the wine is flawless, but totally approachable. His descriptions are just as likely to include words like “friendly” and “uplifting” as well as the usual wine speak, meaning drinks are matched to your mood, not just what you’re eating.
And that’s that attitude that really sums up what The Italian is all about: that great food and wine is there to be enjoyed. And at prices like this, you’ve got no excuse not to.
Where: 191 High St, Willoughby
Hours: Tue-Wed 6pm-9.30pm | Thu noon-2.30pm & 6pm-10pm |Fri noon-2.30pm & 6pm-11pm |Sat noon-2.30pm & 5.30pm-11pm |Sun noon-2.30pm & 5.30pm-9.30pm
Phone: 9967 5468