Cicio Cacio (167 Riddiford Street, Newtown)
One of my new favourite places Cicio Cacio is so beautiful, so intimate and so delicious. We had to check with the waiter how it was pronounced, and I can confirm that it is “Chichio, Ca-chio” and that, in fact, it translates to “Chubby Cheeks” after the cheeks of one of the owners’ daughter’s when she was a toddler. Tucked behind Moon Bar in Newtown, it is actually quite easy to miss (especially because when I went the main entrance was closed, meaning we had to walk down Wilson Street and through a side entrance). Once inside though, the place transforms into the centre of Italy. It is bustling full, delicious aromas wafting, and decorated in a way that is so Italian, yet also unique. It is two storied and mezzanine style with the kitchen downstairs, and the ability to look over the centre balcony onto the restaurant below. Full marks have to be given for service – our waiter improved the experience ten-fold. He gave us endless attention (but not in annoying way, although how could someone so beautifully European with an accent like his EVER get annoying?!) and walked us through the menu – which was predominantly in Italian with only a small glossary at the bottom. We ended up opting for the full three courses; despite being full to the brim come dessert time, it was just too hard to say no to the tiramisu (and yeah, we also ordered a panacotta – peppercorn and fig, how could we not!? :)). For my main course I had pasta; a traditional ragu, which I would highly recommend to anyone who loves a fancy spag-bol. My experience here was sensational; I would recommend it in a heartbeat. It is also VERY reasonably priced, especially for a fine-dining Italian restaurant.