Monday, August 05, 2013

Italian and Sons, Braddon

It never ceases to amaze me how Italian and Sons is fully booked practically every night of the week. Doesn't matter what time of the year or what night of the week... this place is eternally popular and has plenty of good reasons to be so. The reputation as a regular hat winner in the SMH Good Food Awards for the last three years running for a start. Serving the best Italian food in Canberra (in my opinion) also helps.

 Image via

I tested my luck for a mid week last minute booking and we were lucky enough to score a couple of seats at the bar. I'm generally quite opposed to bar seats when you are forking out $100+ for dinner for two; but this is one restaurant I will always make an exception for and settle for the bar seat if that's all that's left.

The vibe at Italian and Sons is quite casual. And loud. It's the kind of place where you could go with the family and be comfortable sharing pizzas or if you manage to nab a window seat or one of the quieter corner tables it would make a good date venue. The semi open kitchen with the big pizza oven and the cured meats on display really give you the old school Italian restaurant feel.

The service is generally at a good standard although the young wait staff can be somewhat absent minded and disorganised at the best of times. For instance, we ordered drinks with the waitress who explained the specials to us and within a minute a young man appeared from no where and attempted to take our drinks order. And this happened again with our mains order AND the dessert order! An obvious lack of communication between staff was evident but the service we got was efficient, eventhough bit too eager at times.  

Despite some very tempting specials and the generally amazing regular menu, I couldn't look past what has been my favourite dish on the menu for several years, maccheroni al ragu; maccheroni pasta served with Yass valley suckling lamb, tomato and red wine ragu with aged reggiano.  

There's pasta and then there's this pasta! I know it might not scream greatness from this photo but don't judge a book by it's cover! This is perfectly cooked pasta served with the most succulent and tender lamb in a beautifully rich and comforting ragu. As always, I had to stop myself from licking the plate clean; such is how delicious this dish is.

My meat loving date went for the Wednesday special which was the salt crusted rangers valley fillet of beef ‘tagliata’ served with pan roast jerusalem artichoke and horseradish. I wish I had tried to take a photo of the look on his face as he took his first bite of this! Lost for words, would be an understatement. I did the taste test myself (of course I did) and I was equally lost for words. The salt crust on the beef was like nothing I had ever tasted. The fillet of beef was a perfect medium rare and the bite of the horseradish and the artichoke made this perfection on a plate.

I had to talk my date into sharing a dessert but boy was he glad that I did! We I decided on the flourless chocolate torte with rhubarb, amarena cherries and pistachio crumb. 

The tort that appeared infront of us resembled a glistening piece of art work. One bite of the rich, moist, gooey deliciousness and we were both in heaven. With the sweetness of the rhubarb, tartness of the amarena cherries and the added crunch of the candied orange cutting through the chocolaty richness of the tort this was the perfect sweet ending to the most perfect meal.

So the verdict: If you know Canberra and if you know food, it's no secret that Italian and Sons is a brilliant Canberra institution. I have never had a bad meal here so this has been in my top three Canberra restaurants for quite some time. I may already be thinking of an excuse to book in another dinner here in the near future!  

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  1. I love the food here, I always get the salami pizza soooooo good! I have had some questionable service, getting in trouble off the manager when one of our guests didnt turn up put a very sour taste in my mouth but the food will keep me going back.

  2. Tried it for the first time today. Wow, amazing food! :) Surprised at how packed it was for a weekday