Tony’s in love with his new, true trattoria

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{caption}The pork fennel sausage with braised cannellini beans and baby spinach … sausages specially made by a local butcher to a secret recipe. Photo: Wendy Johnson{/caption}

TONY Lo Terzo is true Italiano. He loves people. He loves food. He loves hospitality. He loves everything Italian (and everything Canberra).

Wendy Johnson{caption}Wendy Johnson.{/caption}

These days Tony has a new love. The Italian Place in Braddon, which he’s recently opened with friend Francesco Petrillo.

A true trattoria, The Italian Place has a yummy menu for dining and an enticing selection of Italian small goods and fresh goods to buy – cheeses, olives, meats, pasta, anchovies, breads, desserts, meals to take home (all made onsite) and more.

“I grew up in a deli and love quality food,” says Tony. “Honest, tasty food. And I believe a good eating establishment makes its food available for sale to customers. We’ll get more items in over time.’

There wasn’t a dish on the relatively tight menu we wouldn’t have indulged in and there wasn’t a dish we were disappointed with. Oh, what a difference simple dishes created with the best ingredients and litres of love make.

We shared the pork fennel sausage with braised cannellini beans and baby spinach (and then, at the end of our meal, promptly all bought sausages – and other goods – from the deli). These sausages are specially made by a local butcher to a secret recipe that has been tested, adapted and then tested again ($16 for small or $25 for main). OMG!

{caption}Pasta and clams… all pasta is made onsite, including the long pasta with clams, mussels, prawns, cherry tomatoes, garlic and a sensational hit of chilli. Photo: Wendy Johnson{/caption}

All pasta is made onsite, including the long pasta with clams, mussels, prawns, cherry tomatoes, garlic and a sensational hit of chilli ($28). The balance of flavours made this dish a 10-out-of-10.

{caption}The pork neck ragout with shaved parmesan… the ragout was rich and the meat melt-in-the-mouth. Photo: Wendy Johnson{/caption}

Rigatoni fans will drool over the pork neck ragout with shaved parmesan ($26). The ragout was rich, the meat melt-in-the-mouth – an explosion of flavours.

The saltimbocca – pan-seared backstrap layered with salty prosciutto and sexy sage – is such a classic and another 10-out-of-10 ($32).

{caption}Simple and respectful radicchio lettuce salad with thinly sliced green pears, walnut and knock-em-dead gorgonzola. Photo: Wendy Johnson{/caption}

We applaud The Italian Place for its salads. We’re often frustrated with kitchen-soup salad, loaded with ingredients that don’t get along or even belong together, but at The Italian Place our grins were as wide as Tony’s with the simple and respectful radicchio lettuce salad with thinly sliced green pears, walnut and knock-em-dead gorgonzola ($9).

You may have seen Tony around the traps, including at Italian and Sons, where he worked for years, or at Pialligo Estate or dipping in and out of other establishments such as Molto.

The décor at The Italian Place has a friendly, rustic vibe – as true trattorias do. It’s open from breakfast through to dinner, which we applaud.

The wine list is impressive, with selections from Italy and our own region, of course, and all reasonably priced. If you’re not familiar with the Italian varieties, just ask Tony.

The Italian Place, 38 Mort Street, Braddon, is open six days, 7am-9pm weekdays (closed Tuesday) and 9am-9pm weekends.

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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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