Hobart is the home of the new Roman Empire. Here’s where to find its best edible Italian moves.
The blackboard menu at this small (just 20 seats!) but perfectly formed North Hobart hotspot is an ever-changing testament to the vagaries of local produce and the Italian-leaning affections of chef Matt Breen. The pasta is perfection – gnochetti and pesto with crunchy pine nuts; the Piemontese classic of agnolotti del plin, filled with a sweet farce of rabbit and veal – but you won’t want to miss the slow-braised brisket brightened with mustard fruits and salsa verde. Actually, you won’t want to miss anything. Do the smart thing, place your trust in Templo and ordering the six-course tasting menu with wine matches.
98 Patrick Street, Hobart; (03) 6234 7659
Fico is what happens when two chefs intend to open in Italy but wind up in Hobart instead. Purveyors of smart modern Italian that occasionally travels outside its geographical remit, Oskar Rossi and Federica Andrisani stick to no-one’s formula but their own. That might translate to grilled sardines buried under a sweet-sour rubble of pine nuts, raisins, fried shallots and parsley, or saffron spaghetti with albacore tuna, marjoram and green olives, or a simple green garlic and chive risotto, covered in translucent strips of lardo, that’s almost too beautiful to eat.
151 Macquarie Street, Hobart; (03) 6245 3391
Stefano Lubiana Osteria
The Stefano Lubiana winery is just 20 minutes’ drive from Hobart’s CBD, and its rustic osteria ought to be on every vinophile’s Tassie to-do list. The menu revolves around the impressive biodynamic kitchen garden and the best of Tasmanian produce translates into dishes such as Huon ocean trout and an agrodolce eggplant relish served bejewelled with pomegranate seeds and snipped chives, or chestnut pasta drenched in a spicy duck ragu.
Rowbottoms Road, Granton; (03) 6263 7457
Ettie’s Bar & Bottle Shop
There are few more alluring spaces to dine in Hobart than Ettie’s, where the wine-lined walls, soaring ceilings and Old World charm are comfort personified. The theme continues on the menu, where the greatest hits of the Mediterranean could include a simple spaghetti Napoli topped with fresh ricotta or a pork cotoletta with a zesty little parsley and shallot salad – and the Old- and New-World wine list matches it blow for delicious blow.
100 Elizabeth Street, Hobart; (03) 6231 1165
Cultura Espresso Bar & Restaurant
It does a mean pizza, but there are more strings to Cultura’s bow. For the perfect lunch on the go, try the house-baked, herb-strewn schiacciata bread, filled with salumi and buffalo mozzarella. Or during aperitivo hour, their list of punchy bar snacks – arancini, crumbed sardines – are a must.
123 Liverpool Street, Hobart; (03) 6234 7111
The Italian Pantry
It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need to whip up Italian cuisine at home, from balsamic vinegar to imported cheese and olive oil and house-made pasta fresca – including pillowy potato gnocchi and local goats’ cheese ravioli – but grab a seat in the trattoria and let them do the cooking for you.
131-133 Murray Street, Hobart; (03) 6231 2788
Top image: Ettie’s Bar & Bottle Shop