Located in the former site of Surry Hills institution Bills (which has moved next door), Bartolo lures punters with wine-lined walls, candlelit tables and a sensational menu of cool cocktails and hearty Italian fare.
Pull up a stool at the bar or nab a marble-top table in the dining area, then kick off the soirée with an inventive concoction. There’s always a list of seasonal cocktails on offer, but the menu’s classic section is just as strong, with the likes of puccinis, negronis and matinis.
On the food front, Teofilo Nobrega (ex Fratelli Paradiso) is at the helm with dishes that hark back to tradition. The meatballs, for instance, are hand-rolled bundles of minced beef, veal and pork, first seared, then drowned in a rich, red sauce. The homemade maltagliati, served with a deeply flavoursome veal ragu, is another case in point.
There’s a mind-boggling list of Italian wines to choose from, along with a few Australian varietals. Pick the Bertarose from Veneto if you’re after a pale Provence-style rosé, or order a glass of Kalema Negroamaro Salento from Puglia if you like a Mornington Peninsula-style pinot noir.
Atmosphere: Relaxed yet refined, with a good dash of glamour
Best for: Intimate dinners, cool cocktails
Standout dish: Nan’s meatballs
Open: Seven days for lunch and dinner
Address: 359 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Phone number: +61455 027 378