Italian food is truly one of the great cuisines of the world today. Every city with a vibrant Italian community will enjoy the culinary delights of cafes, restaurants and pizzerias dishing up modern and traditional takes on the popular pizzas and pastas.
In Australia, Sydney is no exception and from its little Italian heartland of Leichhardt, Italian cuisine has slowly spread across to most suburbs such as Haberfield and Glebe in the inner west to Paddington in the east and Neutral Bay and Mosman in the north.
Almost every neighbourhood in Sydney will have its local pizzeria because hearty homemade pizza and pasta are comfort food. It is food that makes us smile when we remember nonna’s timeless recipes cooked from the heart.
Tonight, we are at Chiswick Pizzeria Ristorante in Chiswick, a peninsula suburb by the water’s edge 9km north west of Sydney CBD. This restaurant prides itself in serving hearty and home-style Italian where “nonna” is at the centre of the kitchen and its recipes.
We are having a 2010 Peter Lehmann Classic Riesling and this is one of my favourite styles of white wine. This particular bottle is dry and crisp with lingering citrusy flavours.
The open style kitchen at the main dining room provides diners with some kitchen theatrics and fresh pizzas being made.
Our Special Deli Pizza arrives where a thin crust is topped with sundried tomatoes, wafer thin slices of prosciutto, mozzarella, bocchini, shaved parmigiano reggiano and fresh rocket leaves.
I absolutely adore thin crust pizza because less dough means more flavour from the toppings and this particular one is deliciously good with its fresh ingredients.
The homemade meatballs with Napoletana sauce are larger than the average size of meatballs that I am used to at restaurants. According to our host and restaurant owner George, the meatballs is nonna’s special recipe. I love good meatballs and nonna’s combination of beef and shoulder pork mince with breadcrumbs are just right to render the insides very tender and succulent.
Bits of finely chopped continental parsley and fresh basil leaves add beautiful herb flavours to the tomato sauce.
The octopus barese comes with a little spice in fresh red chillies. I like the slightly firm and chewy texture of the octopus. Apart from my preferred style of having it simply grilled with some olive oil, a pinch of salt, cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, this Napoli sauce is a great alternative with its whole peeled tomatoes, red wine, garlic, onions and herbs.
The gnocchi with Italian sausages is slightly too firm for our liking but nevertheless, the flavours of the Italian sausages makes this dish a worthy contender in the home-style stakes. This is tasty and delicious comfort food where I am equally happy to eat in a restaurant with friends or at home in front of the telly.
I like this penne siciliana because the pasta is boldly al dente while the eggplant, capers and onions in this sauce is full of hearty flavours.
Towards the end of our meal, we have the pleasure of meeting nonna, who wanders out from the kitchen to have a glass of wine with us. She tells us about her philosophy of only the freshest ingredients being allowed into her cooking pot.
A delightful lady who truly enjoys being in the kitchen to create beautiful meals for her customers, she also loves to cook these home-style recipes for family.
Our tiramisu dessert is one of the best I have experienced. Soft and moist as it should be, the flavours of the coffee and liqueur are subtle and elegant.
To top off our delightful meal, our host and restaurant owner George pours us a couple of chilled homemade limoncello shots from a frozen bottle where even the alcohol has been home-brewed.
The zesty lemon flavour with a good alcohol kick became the perfect ending to a hearty Italian meal.
I would love to see more of these home-style, neighbourhood Italian restaurants in Sydney.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite Italian restaurant in your city?
Note: ChopinandMysaucepan dined as guests of Chiswick Pizzeria Ristorante
Chiswick Pizzeria Ristorante
3b, 45 Blackwall Point road, Chiswick
Sydney, New South Wales
Tel: + 61 2 9712 1274
Peter Lehmann of the Barossa
Para road, Tanunda
South Australia 5352
Cellar door (08) 8565 9555
Winery (08) 8565 9500
Cellar Door wine tasting and sales:
Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5.00pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 10.30am – 4.30pm
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day
See Location Map
Oh, delicious! I lived in Sicily for 3 years and I still dream of the amazing food! One thing I learned to make was homemade limoncello….there is nothing like it! Everything looks delicious and I’m glad you enjoyed your meal!
Nonna is too cute all of the dishes look amazing! Those meatballs……YUM!
Those meatballs look so plump and moist. I could surely eat half a dozen without blinking an eye. 😉
I have to admit that I rarely visit an Italian restaurant bc it seems “boring.” I have to be reminded that Italian food isn’t just pizza and pasta…and even if the restaurant sells only pizza and pasta, true Italian pizza and pasta is freaking good!! I love, love, love a good gnocchi…too bad the one you had was a tad firm. But of course the sausages just make it all worth it.
Ohhh I love everything shown here. Octopus is always my favorite and I must try this (well if I can visit this restaurant heehee) and homemade meatball… yum…Your zoom in shots are too painful to look at. 😉 Have a wonderful weekend!
I have to admit that I never go to eat out at an Italian restaurant… I have yet to find a REAL Italian restaurant outside Italy. Many places, even though run by Italians, are so adapted to the local clientèle that the food is not traditional (or “truly Italian”) anymore. It is quite sad as I am sure that Australians would LOVE (and deserve) to eat original Italian food… also, I find Australians very open minded, so I am not sure why Italian restaurants adapted so much. SIGH. I also find that the majority of the dishes offered are “old” and often not served in Italy anymore…. sorry, enough blabbering… LOL
Hope you have a great weekend!
Dry rieslings have recently become the love of my life (although I have never tasted the Australian ones: German and French is all I know). Your limoncello glasses make me think it’s been ages I haven’t had a Sambuca cocktail (I used to love it). Time to go shopping! Thanks for the wonderful review.
We enjoy thin crust pizza, too, for the very reason you stated — to taste the toppings! Sounded like a delightful evening. I’m trying very hard not to think about Tiramisu…
The food looks really good there! I love the sense of comfort you get from Italian food.
god the food here looks so homely and full of substance..
the pennee yum!
Yay, another beautiful “fork with food above a plate of yumminess” pic! 😀 I must admit that I’ve never been too fond of Italian cuisine, I always liked Asian food better. I also have the problem that there are many things often used in Italian food I can’t eat (wheat, dairy) or don’t like (olives, olive oil, capers, eggplants, etc). I cook with olive oil meanwhile, but the amounts that are used in restaurants often give me the creeps. 😉
Then, however, I made some wonderful experience with Italian food. I think it was on a trip to Venice that I learned that “real” Italian food always comes in several courses, and the second one is mostly about meat or fish. So when I order a salad instead of pasta and then a second course, I’ll get wonderful food! 😀 I also like the hearbs and flavors, as long as the food isn’t drowned in oil (you see, I really have a problem with that and can’t eat that). Not far away from where my parents live, there is a nice Italian restaurant my dad goes to with his friends regularly. Last time we were there, I ate grilled squid rings in a spicy tomato sauce with roasted broccoli by the side (I asked for veggies instead of bread). We also shared a plate of antipasti. This was very, very good, and I’m looking forward to eating there again.
I went to a really disappointing Italian restaurant in Parramatta the other day, I should have come here instead! My favourite Italian restaurant is Angelo’s On The Bay at Cabarita, but that’s more seafood-centric than this pizzeria-style restaurant. Great post!
Oh! So lucky! Limoncello shots? – I’ll take one.
My fav. local Italian restaurant is Chesterfields on Bleeker St. in Utica NY. In fact, if anyone comes to town, you hear almost anyone recommending Chesterfields when asked where to eat for good Italian.
Those meatballs look so succulent. It looks like you had a wonderful experience here. I love that Nonna sat down for a drink with you.
This all looks so yummy! I tend to steer away from Italian places, as I often find it difficult to get decent gluten free options. This restaurant seems to have a great selection that I could choose from though, especially that octopus.
love it all!! I adore limoncello. I adore all Italian food. This place looks like a real gem. Especially Nonna
Hey, Great post. The food looks really good. I dont think Ive been to Chiswick, but its not far from me, I should give it a try.
Ohhh that meatballs, its looks so juicy, tender and flavourful. Yum
well, well – that chefs a bit easy on the old apple pies! and the food looks scrumptch. I have some baby octopii in my fridge – might do a little italian number on it.