In Short: Pizza Autentico is an engaging concept, with high quality, delicious Italian fare that makes this a great night out whether you’re on your own, a couple, or group. Skip lunch and head down any night of the week!
You know you’re going to be off to a great start, when the first thing you’re told is ‘…don’t worry about a thing, we’ve got tonight’s selection sorted…’! Now, as food bloggers you can get used to this whole leave-it-up-to-the-restaurant-to-share-their-favourites, but at Pizza Autentico in Surry Hills, this is their whole philosophy! So, if you are a foodie FOMO like me, you won’t be missing out here.
The wonderful and welcoming owner Jonny, leads us to our prime seats at the huge communal table right near the kitchen, so that we can be first to try each of the pizza and pasta varieties on the menu tonight. But first, let me explain the concept. For 90mins the team at Pizza Autentico will bring out an unlimited, crafted selection of some of their 30+ pizza, and 10+ pasta variations all for the price of $20. Yes, I said $20. And yes, I also said Surry Hills. It’s an enticing concept, especially if you’re one of those people that finds it hard to decide what to eat. With novelty Italian red, white and green buttons, you can let the team know whether you can keep going (green), need to pause (white) or you’ve had enough (red).
I think Jonny has read my mind, as he points us to the all-Italian drinks list. And, who could go past a classic Barrel Aged Negroni, especially given it’s #negroniweek! It’s a matter of minutes, and the rust coloured drink is at the table. And, it’s as it should be – beautifully aged and the perfect balance between Campari, Four Pillars gin and Martini Rosso, and while it has elements of it’s signature bitterness, it’s not harshly so, and also leaves a lingering sweetness and zest from the orange. Instantly, I’m transported onto a vintage poster in Portofino, with my Ray Bans and sun hat…ahhh…
While a few more guests arrive and there’s a good little crowd around the table, I can’t help myself as the word ‘burrata’ jumps at me from the salad menu. Even though I know I’m in for a feast, I thoroughly indulge in the fresh, moist and delicious, melt-in-your-mouth dish, and with the Burrata sourced from the south of Italy – you just know it’s the real deal.
As we get set up for the rotating menu ahead, Jonny warns us ahead of time to leave room for dessert just as the first of the pastas hits our plate. Over the course of the evening, here is the sample of the selections we tasted on a cold, winters night in Sydney:
From the pasta selections, the Puttanesca kicks us off with its distinct flavours of olives and capers, freshness from the cherry tomatoes, and spiral pasta for it all to grab on to. When the Penne All’Arrabbiata arrives prepare for your tongue to dance the angry dance – if you love your chilli this dish is true to its name! Absolutely delicious, with rich, robust tomato flavours mixed through perfectly cooked penne. The Spaghetti Alla Bolognese is just like my Nonna used to make. The perfect simplicity of tomato ragu, with pork and beef mince, means you cannot go wrong with this classic. No matter which night you come, make a special request for the Gnocchi Formaggiosi. Superb potato pillows generously blended in gorgonzola, pecorino and parmesan cheeses is an ooey, gooey bowl of awesome deliciousness!
The pizza stands on its own, with its crunchy, light, thin crust which holds any topping from the lightest to the heaviest, without becoming soggy. Paired in between the pasta, it’s a perfect texture change as you make your way through this Italian degustation! The Spinaci e Ricotta enters the line and is light and fresh. I love the softness and taste of the creamed ricotta, that’s butter smooth, on top of a fresh tomato sauce and the tartness of spinach. I see and smell Pepperoni, and instantly I think bada boom, bada bing, NYC pizza, but better! The crunchiness and spice of the salami slices atop mozzarella fior di latte and tomato sauce was delicious. The sweetness of the Di Marcello is a delight with rich, cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and fior di latte, parmesan and basil. The classic Margherita arrives and the fresh aromas of oregano instantly hits the air. This is a classic done incredibly well on the crispy pizza base. Not to be outdone by tradition, the Bud arrives, with a creamy sauce base, sweetness of peas and smoky bacon, this is a welcome deviation.
Zucchini, rocket, cherry tomatoes, and ricotta mark the Delicata, which is a delicious combination with the grilled zucchini and ricotta playing perfectly off each other. A light one that you could eat copious amounts of! A pizza party just isn’t complete without the bold, strong flavours of mozzarella, fior di latte, gorgonzola and parmesan, that makes up the Quattro Formaggi, hitting your palate. Don’t be surprised if you get the urge to run around the table, arms in the air shouting out ‘goooooaaaallllll’ when the Fiessese is unleashed in your mouth. Mara Capone Italian sausage, with a distinct taste of herbs and spice mixed with the truffle oil is a delight and just oozes rich, warm winter flavours. Apparently, it’s not often that this comes out on the rotation – so hopefully you are as lucky as we were, as this was definitely a favourite! With our tummies close to replete (almost!) we make space for one last slice, and it’s the Samitola. The zucchini and potatoes go together like peas and carrots, and with the same creamy base of the Bud, this pizza doesn’t disappoint.
So, about making that room for dessert…after all that food, it was easier said than done. Until, the home-made Tiramisu actually arrived. Now, my mum makes a to-die-for version of this dish and after the first spoonful, I was waiting for her to come out of the kitchen! It had all the hallmarks of traditional and authentic tiramisu like mamma makes – delicious coffee, enough to soak the savoiardi (ladyfinger) biscuits but not make them soggy; buttery smooth cream and mascarpone so delicately light and fluffy and a generous amount of dusted chocolate, makes this worth saving room for!
We had a great night, sharing quality Italian fare and soaking up a very Italian famiglia-style dining experience. Whether you want to head down here on your own, on a date, with a group of friends, or just to enjoy dinner with your long-time loved one, Pizza Autentico is a relaxed and fun night out for everyone. Maybe just skip lunch on that day!
*Coco and Vine dined as guests of Pizza Autentico.