The O’Connell Street restaurant, which opened last April, nails all aspects of the good food, good wine and good times brief and is a happy celebration of all things Italian.
This site was previously home to the Spaghetti Crab and Spaghetti Meatballs popups but L’italy has a more permanent feel and it seems is here to stay.
I hadn’t eaten here before, so didn’t know what to expect, but knew I liked it when the doors opened to a warm greeting and Sinatra’s New York New York played at a decent volume. Five seconds in the door and it felt like fun – there’s a lot to be said for first impressions.
I was, as always, a little bit early and my friend, typically, a little bit late, but this is the kind of place where you don’t feel self-conscious sitting alone.
The interior is nicely done: stylish but unpretentious with dark green walls and whitewashed bricks, round timber tables and a tan-coloured leather banquette along one wall. There’s a gorgeous tile-fronted and marbletopped bar where you can sit and enjoy some salumi and a cocktail while a leafy courtyard at the back is perfect for warmer nights.
The gloriously nostalgic-but-cool playlist, loud enough to create a vibrant mood but not too overbearing, really hit the right tone. I was loving Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s duet of Lady Is A Tramp when fresh bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt arrived at the table – gratis – a nice touch.
I also went a bit ga-ga, ogling the impressive collection of (mainly) Italian wine bottles lining the walls. The drinks list is a punchy, well-curated selection of Italian and Italo-inspired Aussie vino, and there’s a fun bunch of cocktails, too. Adelaide has a long-held love affair with Italian food. Our city is not starved of the good stuff, but L’italy brings its own worthy interpretation of this much-loved cuisine. Dishes show off traditional techniques, great local ingredients, comforting flavours and simple but effective plating – prepare to Instagram your food!
The menu works well as a shared experience so, once my companion arrived, we selected a trio of small plates including salame finocchiona, (Tuscan-style fennel salami, cured for three months) from a list of housemade smallgoods. The salami, with its subtle sweet anise flavour, was served with crunchy pickled vegetables, good olives and toasted bread.