Perched on the edge of North Bondi, overlooking the esplanade and iconic Bondi Beach, North Bondi Italian is the brainchild of restaurateurs’ Maurice Terzini and Robert Marchetti. While the duo may have gone their separate ways in business, this Eastern Suburbs institution continues as a favourite in the Sydney dining scene.
Arriving just before 8pm, our party of four expected to wait for a table. With a no-bookings policy, guests are encouraged to arrive early and be ready to enjoy a drink at the bar before their meal. But, as we walked in the restaurant’s entrance, a few of the tables were actually empty. Enquiring as to why this might be the case (or perhaps noticing the look , the maître d quickly informed us: “It’s fashion week – it’s literally the only week in the year when we aren’t crazy busy”. Despite not asking for a window seat, the convivial maître d suggested we perch at the bar until a window seat became available. After a Campari cocktail and a handful of shelled peanuts, we were taken to one of the most beautiful tables in the room.
The interior at North Bondi Italian is anything but minimalistic. Exuding with character and life, the roof is scribbled with jumbled phrases and words and the bare timber tables contain help-yourself sunken cutlery tins. Energetic waiters bounce around wearing denim Tsubi overalls and white t-shirts and the music is lively and hip. But despite the fun and jovial atmosphere, the menu screams: “I’m Serious About Food.” Divided into classic Italian categories such as verdure and dolci, there is also one section of the menu titled, “for those in training” – listing a handful of low GI, low carb and gluten-free options. North Bondi Italian clearly knows its target audience. In saying that, the “no variations to the menu” policy might cause a few hiccups.
Even with high expectations, the food doesn’t disappoint. The spinach arancini balls reinforce why Italian food can be so superior while the parmesan-crumbed lamb brains don’t have that chewy, stringy texture that could turn you off offal for life. The white fish carpaccio with roasted fennel seeds and dried chilli is a contrast of flavours and textures and simple sides such as garlic steamed broccoli and rosemary crispy potatoes refuse to play second fiddle, becoming standouts in the dish.
It’s the view, the rustic home-style menu and the contemporary design – North Bondi Italian embraces everything we know and love about Sydney dining.
Read more about North Bondi Italian here