Indulge in food nonnas are loved for

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Linguine di mare… Australian banana prawns, mussels, scallops, cherry tomato, garlic, a perfezione hit of chilli and white wine. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“Coffee is locally roasted, gelato locally churned, charcuterie locally cured and Briscola stocks wines and beers from more than 10 Canberra wineries and breweries. Go Briscola!” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

WE started just down the street at Smith’s Alternative for a glass of wine. It was a warm, spring evening and we loved the relaxed boho vibe and watching someone play a quick tune on the outdoor piano, musos setting up for that night’s entertainment and uni students hanging out enjoying beers and toasted sangas. 

Wendy Johnson.

Then it was off to Briscola for dinner. This ristorante Italiano has been around for yonks and has won awards for its authentic, honest cuisine. At Briscola you’ll indulge in the type of food nonnas are loved for (indeed, the ravioli is locally made by nonna) – simple, packed with flavour, honest, charming. 

The service is charming, too. We lucked out with a spot outdoors and were very well taken care of – the Italian way.

Briscola uses local suppliers and imports quality products from Italy. Coffee is locally roasted, gelato locally churned, charcuterie locally cured and Briscola stocks wines and beers from more than 10 Canberra wineries and breweries. Go Briscola!

Calamari… lightly dusted in rice flower, super tender and perky with paprika seasoning. Photo: Wendy Johnson

The calamari we shared at the beginning of our Italian adventure was lightly dusted in rice flower, super tender and perky with paprika seasoning. We dipped each piece into amazing gorgonzola mayo ($13 small/$23 large).

Briscola’s pappardelle… slow-cooked, rich, three-meat ragu featuring shaved grana Padano and basil. Photo: Wendy Johnson

I find it hard to go past a pappardelle, especially one with a ragu. Who doesn’t love a large, broad, flat, egg-ribbon pasta? This dish ($27) was moreish with its slow-cooked, rich, three-meat ragu and it featured shaved Grana Padano and basil. 

Veal scaloppine… tender meat in tangy lemon-butter sauce with seared sea scallops. Photo: Wendy Johnson

The veal scaloppine was a generous serve ($34). Its lemon butter sauce was tangy, the meat tender and the seared sea scallops cooked to perfection. 

It was three “main wins” in a row with the linguine di mare, a wonderful combination of seafood – Australian banana prawns, mussels, scallops, cherry tomato, garlic, a perfezione hit of chilli and white wine ($32). 

Pizza at Briscoli. Photo: Wendy Johnson

We balanced our meals with a rocket salad, with fresh, ripe pear (oh-so-sweet), crunchy caramelised walnuts, shaved parmesan and a sexy fig glaze ($9 for small/$16 large).

The wine list is just right for Briscola’s style and we enjoyed our Italian Soave.

Since 2010, this unpretentious restaurant has been family owned by Italians. In 2016 it gained accreditation from Accademia Italiana della Cucina by the Italian ambassador.

Briscola caters exceptionally well for vegetarians and vegans and offers gluten-free pizza bases and pasta.

Briscola, by the way, is a popular card game played by Italians. It’s not a card game to be played alone, says Briscola. Nor should Italian food be eaten alone.

Briscola, 60 Alinga Street, Civic. Call 6248 5444. Open Tuesday to Friday lunch (noon to 2pm); Tuesday to Sunday dinner (5.30pm to 9pm). Easy disabled access. Plenty of parking around, including some spots for permit holders.

 

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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