If you’re a lover of all things pasta, then come and spaghett it (we had to) as new pasta joint, Barbarino’s Spaghetteria lands in Avondale. Get your slurp on and be prepared to tuck into some authentic traditional Italian fare that won’t break the bank.
The brains behind well-known eateries Winona Forever, Major Tom, Fang, and many more, Fran Mazza and Aaron Carson, have done it again but this time they’ve dropped the fusion and created an authentic Italian restaurant that resembles an Italian food hall—relaxed, simple, easy eats in a flash and generally just a no-nonsense type of place.
The food is jam-packed with flavour, while the space has heaps of character—in fact, the name was inspired by John Travolta’s macho Italian American character, Vinnie Barbarino in 70’s sitcom Welcome Back Kotter (If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must-watch)
Fran alongside head chef Lorenzo, has put together a simple yet mouth-wateringly good menu. Being half Italian, we think it’s fair to say that she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to pasta. The menu is home to a range of pasta dishes, from filled, baked, saucy, creamy, cheesy—you name it they’ve got it. They’ve even got an impressively-sized kick-ass schnitzel, that would give the Germans a run for their money.
Simply just choose-your-own pasta, from pappardelle, spaghetti, rigatoni or orecchiette and then decide on a sauce, order and pay at the counter and voila!—Easy as that, your concoction is made and ready for you to dig in. So if you’re thinking of cutting out the carbs right now, then think again as there is a hell of a lot of pasta to indulge in.
A must-try is the boscaiola, a seasonal mushroom dish, served with sausage and parsley—pair this with the pappardelle to mop up that drool-worthy white wine sauce. If you are feeling a little more saucy go for the tomato and goats cheese ravioli with bolognese, the goat’s cheese is very subtle but packs a punch—it’s seriously melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
For all you blue cheese lovers out there, sink your teeth into the gorgonzola, made from Italian blue cheese, cream, walnuts, chives and sprinkled with breadcrumbs to give the perfect crunch. Oh, how we love a good crunch! We opted for the rigatoni, which absorbs all that cheesy-goodness. Get in our bellies.
There is nothing stodgy about the traditional lasagne, in fact, it’s light and crisp and screams everything Italian to us—literally, it’s the same colours as the Italian flag. Coincidental? Perhaps, but it’s still pretty cool.
Our top pick has to be the carbonara, made with guanciale (pork cheek to us), egg, pecorino and a sprinkle of black pepper. It’s crazy to think that a dish this delicious is made from few ingredients and that we’ve actually been making it wrong this whole time. Note: Italians do not use cream.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth then you’re in the right place. The dessert heavens have opened and welcomed us with tiramisu, torto ceprese della nonna (a deliciously dense yet light chocolate walnut tart), affogato and our favourite, the cannoli, filled with a range of different treats depending on the day—we had mascarpone, dark chocolate, fruit and a pretty pistachio outer layer. Yum. If this hasn’t got those tastebuds tingling then there will be plenty of Italian cakes and pastries for you to enjoy.
It really is food for the people. Back to basics dishes that really do work, none of this fancy garnishes, edible flowers, just simple yet delicious grub for the community. They’ve even got a 10% discount for all police, fire, ambulance services, teachers and nurses to say thank you for all that they do.
The drinks list is just as impressive as the food, with a glass of Italian wine for just $7 and a carafe for $13, now that’s a bargain! We know we’d be ordering those bad boys all night long.
So, if you’re after an Italian experience like no other, where cheap eats that don’t sacrifice on flavour are at the forefront, as well as a low-key, chilled out vibe, and a carafe that just keeps on giving then Barbarino’s is the place to be.
You’re guaranteed to leave with a full belly and an even fuller heart. In fact, we think it’s right to say that they are the great dons of Italian fare.
With that said, pasta la vista, baby. (We’ve always wanted to say that)
Image credit: Wono Kim