Where: 118-120 Ramsgate Avenue, North Bondi
Opening Hours: Lunch: Fri - Sun, 12–4pm. Dinner: Daily, 6pm-midnight.
Phone: 02 9300 4400
If you think the Campari sippers on the balcony at North Bondi Italian look smug, you’re probably right.
With salt in their hair and sand on their feet, they’ve cracked how to get the best out of Icebergs' more casual cousin.
They got to the far end of the beach, just below the RSL club ten minutes before the doors opened and waited outside (being careful not to sit on the War Memorial).
They scored a plum spot at one of the share tables on the balcony, overlooking the upturned smile of the sand. They’re happy because on the balcony it’s quieter and they’re cosseted from the crush of ironically dressed posers who occasionally bray at the bar.
This is a beachside trattoria. There are plenty of people who will get dressed up to be seen here. Yet, you don’t have to. The placemats double as paper menus. You’ll be fishing your cutlery out of a box on the table. The floorstaff are gadding about in denim aprons.
If you really want to milk the most out of the prime North Bondi location, have a swim or a walk along the beach before hand, and then toss on a beach dress or some shorts and a polo shirt. Then you can get down to the real business of eating, drinking and being merry in comfort.
The menu is split into formaggio, antipasti, salumi, insalate, verdure, pasta, panini, carpaccio, fruitti di mare, offal, carne, dolci and 'roast of the day'.
A cracking way to start is the $16 ricotta basket with mint, lemon, salt flakes, chilli and grilled bread. It’s friendly food, built for sharing. A carafe of pink wine, some of Robert Marchetti’s famed salumi and a salad of baby beetroot, goat’s curd and spring onion and the ladies who lunch will be well served.
Hungrier lads will find comfort in the eggplant parmigiana or spaghetti arrabbiata with shredded crab, which has the added novelty value of being served in a paper bag with a scrunchy cap to seal in the heat.
If the sight of all the pretty young things milling around you isn’t sweet enough then gelato or a heart stoppingly good cold chocolate pot is a good finale. These should leave a pleasant taste in your mouth before you get the bill. As with anything on prime land, you’ll pay for the view. If you want to park right next to the beach, you’re going to pay more for it. Same goes with dining.
This isn’t the cheapest, or the best, Italian in town. But if you get the right spot on the right night, you’ll be hard pressed to feel anything but smug.
Grilled bread with ricotta and mint. Campari and blood orange. Fried calamari, mint and zucchini. Rigatoni with Berkshire pork sausages, sage, tomato, garlic and chilli. Baked chocolate pot with chocolate pearls.
Good For Groups: