Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
SOMETIMES I crave authentic and comforting pizza. Not pizza loaded with pineapple or other ingredients that would have Italians screaming “mamma mia” at the top of their lungs. Rather, pizza made with traditional ingredients and in the traditional way.
So what did I get when I wandered into Briscola Pizzeria in the city with two friends I hadn’t seen in yonks? Just what I wanted.
Twenty-three pizzas are on offer, but it took only a nanosecond for me to choose the funghi with bocconcini, mushrooms and truffle oil.
I applaud Briscola for offering three pizza sizes – small (9” from $13.50), medium (11” from $18) or large (15” from $25). You can also build on your pizza by adding additional ingredients for an extra cost (chilli sauce is free).
My pizza had plenty on top and the combo of flavours was heavenly. The crust wasn’t thin, but not overly thick. I ordered the small so I could “think green” and enjoy a side salad. It was a generous serve for a side dish, but I found the dressing a bit heavy on the balsamic for my liking.
The house-made egg pappardelle featured a rich, three-meat ragu ($24) spiced up with chianti, fresh basil and grana Padano ($24). The meat was tender and the dish went down a treat.
The star dish of the evening was the roast pumpkin and ricotta ravioli with a beautiful burnt sage butter (how can you beat that decadent addition?). It was stunning and the ravioli made all the more special with crunchy bits of amaretti biscuits. The amaretto liqueur flavour came through but wasn’t overpowering. The best part, and one that makes my heart pitter patter, is that the owner’s nonna makes the ravioli fresh, with love. No wonder it’s amazing and I’d return for it time and again.
Briscola is proud of its local suppliers. Gelato is locally churned (check out the gelato bar), coffee locally roasted, meat sourced from a local butcher, and some beers and many wines are sourced regionally, including from our top wineries.
The décor at Briscola is basic and you can dine indoors or outdoors. Staff are knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. While we appreciated the attention, we felt slightly over serviced (not that I get to say that in every review!).
With takeaway you can create your own calzone ($10) or pizza ($12) or grab a bit of pasta to fuel you through the afternoon (from $13).
It’s no wonder Briscola has won Best Italian Restaurant, ACT Restaurant and Catering Awards.
Briscola, 60 Alinga Street, Civic. Call 6248 5444. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch (noon to 2pm) and dinner (5.30pm to 9pm).