The aroma draws you in and the moment you’re seated, it’s authentic Italian – classical music, a woodfired pizza operation, a tantalising display of salads, frittatas and sweets inside and an impressive gelato bar facing outside near the front.
It’s all so sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming.
It was a quick stop on a busy day in the city. I’d ticked off half my list of chores and wanted to settle in for a lovely lunch. This was my first visit to Dolce & Salato and, although a sunny day, I chose to experience the atmosphere inside.The floors are beautifully tiled, the tables solid marble and the giant silver and copper wire coffee cups hanging from the ceiling all added to the pleasure.
On the menu? Home-made pasta, including a crab and Moreton Bay bug lasagne ($24), a traditional lasagne ($17 and it’s huge), a slow-roasted butternut pumpkin, fresh ricotta and parmesan cannelloni in a light Napoli and béchamel sauce ($15), a traditional Italian-style salami with hot chilli and black olives ($19) and a Margherita ($15). While all very tempting, my taste buds demanded a wood-fired, thin-crust pizza.
I wouldn’t have hesitated to order any of the seven types of pizza on the menu, including the chilli and lime prawns ($23), pancetta and radicchio ($19) and the pork belly ($19). In the end, it was the pear and prosciutto ($23) and, trust me, there were no regrets.
There is something so special about an artisan pizza. This one featured caramelised pears, strong gorgonzola cheese, a generous amount of top-notch San Daniele prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella, and fresh, peppery rocket leaves ($23). With a glass of crisp Italian white wine, it was the perfect break in a busy day.I didn’t indulge in dessert but delighted in watching several children from a French family and a German family, do just that. Their eyes nearly popped out of their heads when served chocolate mousse, tiramisu, eclairs and dishes of colourful and refreshing gelato. And then there was a milkshake, made with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato.
Other treats in the display cabinet include some pretty decadent looking cakes and slices and you can order special occasion cakes from the pastry chef.
There isn’t a wine list, but a decent pino grigio ($10 glass and $40 a bottle) and a Sangiovese (same price range).
Dolce & Salato is a stand-out in my mind. Something refreshingly different in the city. I’ll pop by again… this time for coffee and dessert.
Dolce & Salato,108 Bunda Street, Canberra, call 6278 8660.