The aperitivo tradition is popular in Italy, especially in major cities, such as Milan and Venice. The basic idea is similar to happy hour, only it includes a large variety of Italian tapas. Picture cheeses, cured meats, arancini and other regional delicacies. When Giuseppe Zagari visited Italy as a young man, he took on jobs in the hospitality industry there, and he couldn’t believe that the aperitivo tradition wasn’t present here in Australia. What did he do? He brought it back to Sydney, where he opened a restaurant, appropriately named, Aperitivo.
Celebrating its five-year anniversary in 2014, Aperitivo offers a true Italian menu, and it features pastas made in-house, fish and meat mains, certified Neapolitan-style pizza, and lots of stuzzichini, or tapas. Additionally, the restaurant’s risotto dishes have grown so popular that they receive their own section of the menu. Risotto specials are offered weekly and have included the Vialone Nano Risotto, served with Sydney rock oysters, 2006 Jacquart blanc de blanc champagne, and Avruga caviar.
Chef, Christian Colognesi, provides the vision for the menu. “The small plates are designed to be shared and offer our guests a chance to experience a modern Italian cuisine,” said Christian. Choose from a mix of familiar and unfamiliar dishes, such as Sardine e Scamorza, a dish of crumbed sardines filled with smoked provola and served with marinated Spanish onion and orange jam. You’ll also find Fiori Di Zucca, which are zucchini flowers filled with fresh ricotta, smoked provola and basil, and Mozzarella e Salsiccia in Carrozza, which is mozzarella and sausage wrapped in battered bread, deep-fried, and served with rocket mayonnaise.
Certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the pizza at Aperitivo is the real deal, and just three other pizzerias in Sydney share the certification. With 20 years’ experience, Francesco Spataro is the pizzaiolo, or Pizza Chef.
He claimed first prize in the 2004 Campionato Regionale della Pizza Mediterranea, and was recently invited to compete in the 2014 Pizza World Championships in Parma, Italy. You’ll be struck by the wonderful scents wafting from the wood-fired oven, and pizzas range from the classic Margherita to the Tartufo, a white pizza with cream of ricotta, parmesan, pancetta, rocket, and black truffle paste.
No aperitivo would be complete without something to drink, and Aperitivo offers more than 20 wines by the glass. The drink menu also includes aperitivi and digestivi, and don’t be afraid to try these pre and post-dinner Italian liqueurs, which are often hard to find. Additionally, you’ll find craft beers, creative cocktails, and grappa.
Divided into two levels, Aperitivo has a casual and hip atmosphere. The dining room features timber flooring, and the Mario Bellini ‘Ultra Bellini’ chairs induce a modern edge.
“Our bar area is popular for those who want to relax and try a large range of Italian wines,” said Giuseppe, and it features polished concrete and a large illuminated row of green, white, and red wine bottles to represent the Italian flag. Aperitivo offers a fun setting reminiscent of Italy.
Whether you’re looking for an intimate table for two, a celebration in a private dining room or a get together with friends in a lively atmosphere, Aperitivo has you covered.