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Goccia Italian Pizzeria

As you’re no doubt aware, authentic Italian food is a gift from the Gods. What you may not know though is that, as of two weeks ago, the heavens have been smiling down upon Mermaid Beach and Goccia Italian Pizzeria is the result.

That’s right folks, an authentic Italian pizzeria, created by two bona fide northern Italians, is open for business and we suggest you jump on board that bandwagon quick smart.

The space has been decked out in an earthy colour palette and a vibe that can only come from passionate restaurant owners who really want to make you feel at home. And passionate is the only way to describe owners Ana and Loris, who quite literally handmade light fixtures and painted tables so Goccia was exactly what they wanted it to be.

The pizza oven is without a doubt the pièce de résistance. It shines proudly from the corner of the kitchen, boasting a six-pizza cooking capacity and a rotating stone shelf that ensures pizza perfection.

The idea was to create a venue with a fine dining touch but with affordable prices and something a little bit different to other Italian restaurants. The name Goccia means drop, Loris’ nickname and a cheeky reference to the traditional method of dropping tomatoes on a pizza base.

The menu is smaller than your average but filled with beautiful, top quality ingredients, many of which are imported from Italy.

Entrée’s and sides range from crispy calamari to Carpaccio di Manzo – raw eye fillet served with rocket and shaved parmesan and the prettiest of bruschetta.

Of course, there are pizzas but not just any old pizzas. Goccia’s are some of the most beautifully presented you’ve ever seen and the flavours, well, belissimo! They appear on the menu in their native dialect so it’s a good time trying to pronounce them. There are over 20 choices so you’ll need to choose wisely (or go back every day for a month).

For dessert, you’ll want to try the Frittelle Di Mela – lightly fried apple pastry served with vanilla gelato. It’s pure perfection.

Let us be clear, Goccia Italian Pizzeria is a must-visit, dining there is akin to visiting the home of your Italian neighbours whose only care in the world is ensuring you eat incredible food and have the MOST enjoyable time.

LOCATION: 2375 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach (opposite Turtle Beach Resort)
HOURS: Monday and Wednesday 5pm to 9pm and Thursday to Sunday 12pm to 3.30pm and 5pm to 9.30pm

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Alfresco Italian Restaurant

Pepè Italia

Authentic Italian food is a rare luxury in Burleigh Heads, or it was, until the arrival of Pepé Italia.

Connor Streets’ latest eatery is owned and operated by three friends (one a chef) all of whom moved to Australia three years ago from northern Italy. Sounds good so far, right?

Using traditional recipes handed down from Nonna, the menu is filled with all the Italian dishes you know from arancini to homemade gnocchi, but there are a few lesser well known dishes that will have you preaching ‘Viva Italia’.

For entrée, don’t go past the house specialty Olive All’ascolanaa – green olives filled with pork, beef and chicken then crumbed a fried. As if the tangy goodness of olives wasn’t enough, now they’re stuffed and fried. Mouthfuls of salty perfection.

Prepare to have your mind blown by Spaghetti Alla Positano in Crosta di Pizza – a mouthful in more ways than one. It’s calzone cooked in the pizza oven filled with spaghetti and Napoli sauce, cherry tomatoes, prawns, calamari, clams, mussels and parsley. Even the biggest eaters will struggle with this one.

Make room for the Pepé, this is the pizza of choice made on a truffle puree base and topped with fior di latte (a soft Italian cheese), porcini mushrooms, sausage, rocket, Parmesan cheese and evo oil. It’s all your truffle dreams come true on a pizza.

An all-Italian beverage menu offers the original red Peroni (who knew) and imported soft drinks all the way from northern Italy to your grateful tastebuds.

Every minute detail has been taken care of to ensure an entirely Italian experience. Open for lunch and dinner, prepare yourself for a feast.

Bellissimo!

HOURS: Daily from 8am to 10pm

LOCATION: 11 Connor Street Burleigh Heads

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

Balboa Italian

Packing punches bigger than Rocky…Balboa Italian, the new kid on the block. Adding to Palm Beach’s already impressive lineup of bucket list eateries. If it’s not the mouth-watering Italian cuisine and the delicious cocktails, it’s at the very least the phenomenal fit-out, the glamorous chandelier or the bright red Vespa that will leave you yelling ADRIANNN…

Firstly, let’s take a minute to appreciate the monumental precision that has gone into creating Balboa’s fit-out. A two storey Italian escape with red brick walls, big open spaces and head turning features. Wrought iron is used as a feature throughout the restaurant and can be seen on the staircase, the custom made shelves (which hold a fine range of liquor)and the exposed beams that seperate the two levels. Traditional Italy meets urban classic, the brick walls, polished concrete floors and big wooden bar framed with wrought iron panelling set the theme.

Balboa’s lower level offers seating both inside and out, and leaves you immersed in the thick of the action. Head upstairs and enjoy a more intimate dining space, with plush velvet lounges, even a private dining area separated by a chained curtain. Then there are the finishing touches, lush greenery, a variety of antique lights, a bright red Vespa that sits on a steel beam above the main entrance and the main head turner, a giant 12 tier chandelier which proudly hangs beside the bar.

If you can manage to keep your gaze focused for a short while, your attention will be drawn to the main event, food!  “insert eye of the tiger here”. They’ve kept the menu simple and embraced the traditional authentic flavours; pizzas, pastas, risottos, antipastos, steak… the essentials. If we’re talking about contenders for the champion belt, it’s going to be a tough fight; Chestnut Gnocchi, black truffle, vegetable essence, sage and Grana Padano VS the Pizza Bianche Pollo, caramelised pears, chicken, fontina, thyme, mozzarella and balsamic. Or the Polpete, house made meatballs, beef, pork, veal, tomato sugo and crostini going head to head with Fiorentina Style T-Bone Steak, Tuscany style potato, confit garlic, rosemary and pan seared tomato.

Rehydrate between rounds with one of Balboa’s delicious cocktails, a glass of local or imported wine or a cold refreshing beer. The attentive wait staff awaiting in the corner with towel in hand ready to make sure you’re well looked after. Finish up the final round, the big K.O, with a homemade dessert… Salted Caramel Panna Cotta anyone?

The gloves are off, Palm Beach home to yet another winner.

Open

Dinner: Wednesday – Monday 6pm – late

Lunch: Friday – Sunday from 12.30pm – 2.30pm


By Amy Merridan

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