Italian with welcoming ways

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With the pizzas, you can go as basic as you’d like (simple potato, rosemary and olive oil) or as loaded as you’d like. Photo: Holly Treadaway

“La Rustica knows its place in the market, is unpretentious and always focused on making tummies happy,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

I CAN’T remember the first time I went to La Rustica, but it was many moons ago and on Kennedy Street, Kingston, where this heart-warming family business, with its roots in southern Italy, operated for 25 years.

Wendy Johnson.

Much has changed since La Rustica made the major move to a new possie perched on the lake at Kingston Foreshore. It’s a bigger place, with the décor featuring warm woodwork, stonework, high ceilings and a comfy bar for enjoying a drink before dinner. The floor-to-ceiling windows soak in water views.

But much remains the same with La Rustica, which is why so many loyal fans flock back, over and over, for a meal at this laid-back Italian eatery.

Let’s start with the pizzas. There’s a whopping number on the menu and it’s fab that you can order a small (9 inch), medium (13 inch) or large (15 inch). Prices range from $17.90 to $30.90 (gluten free available in medium for an extra $3.50).

To backtrack a little, we began with another fave dish of ours, the veal carpaccio (gluten free and $18.90). The dish wakens the tastebuds with paper-thin slices of melt-in-the-mouth raw veal, perky lemon juice and silky extra virgin olive oil. At La Rustica, the dish is topped with peppery roquette and shaved parmesan – such a sensational mixture of textures and flavours. 

With the pizzas, you can go as basic as you’d like (simple potato, rosemary and olive oil) or as loaded as you’d like. 

We adore a kick of chilli and found ourselves gravitating to the Calabrese, showcasing full simple (but quality) ingredients but a winning combo of tastes. La Rustica’s tomato base always has depth and this pizza is topped off with mild mozzarella, mild salami, capsicum, onion (not too much) and chilli. We’re also loyal to the Salsicce, which features Italian pork sausage instead of the salami. 

In true Italian style, La Rustica also offers pasta, risotto and mains.

We don’t often stray from the pizza line up but have enjoyed the Spaghetti Nero ($23.90), in-house-made black (squid ink) pasta tossed delicately through white wine and served with shallots, chilli, garlic and olive oil. We’ve never gone wrong with the gnocchi gorgonzola ($24.90), either. The fluffy house-made potato dumplings are served in a creamy sauce featuring that famous veined Italian blue cheese made from unskimmed cow’s milk.

The yummy dolce items on the menu guaranteed a soul-satisfying, sweet ending.

Food aside, it’s the family atmosphere and inviting welcome that is attractive about La Rustica. It knows its place in the market, is unpretentious and always focused on making tummies happy. 

La Rustica, corner Eastlake Parade and Trevillian Quay. No split bills.

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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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