Tucked away in the strip of shops up in Fitzroy North, you’ll find a delicious little Italian restaurant called Pinotta. It has a very sophistocated atmosphere, extremely good taste in food and wine, and exceptional service. They probably wondered what hit them when I showed up, late and thoroughly dishevelled.

Luckily I hadn’t missed much, just some general catching up with the family brood, warm bread and a glass of something hearty. Although the lights are low and the tablecloths are brilliantly white, there isn’t anything stuffy or too formal about the dining experience here, I felt at home as soon as we got to ordering (not ‘moccasin-level at home’… apparently I only reserve the right to wear my moccies to and from takeaway places).

First served up was the Calamari (with lemon and roquette) $21.50. It was fresh and absolutely deliciously rolled in a light battering of herbs; perfect for a cleansing of the palette before the onslaught of the mains.

In keeping with our love of all things fig (see Jorj and also Lupino) we went for the prosciutto and fig entree, with fior di latte $20. Certainly nothing exceptional, the combination is a time-honoured classic, but the prosciutto was the perfect kind of meaty-salty that blends deliciously with the cool crispness of fig. Another palette cleanser and an excellent, light, traditional southern Italian dish that people tend to forget.

The mains we ordered were the perfect size and full of incredible flavour. See pictures below for my Duck confit ($31) with some cabbage (somewhere, hiding under that fat duck) and the Rabbit ($31) with soft polenta and carrots.

Now, before I came, I had read such glowing reviews of this Gnocci Gorgonzola, but alas – the only gnocci on the menu was with a lamb shoulder ragu. I’m thinking that needs to be poached next time from the list.

You’d think that for $50-$60 each so far we would’ve had our fill (not including wine, but does include a couple of sides) but alas, no. Luckily for the restaurant I was in a ‘to hell with the cost!’ kind of mood and ordered us up some desserts. The short (but sweet) menu reads like this: Baked chocolate fondant  ($15), Strawberry semifredo ($12), Affogato ($15) and Vanilla bean panna cotta ($14). And you really don’t know me at all if you think I’m going to pass up the chance to eat that panna cotta.

Let me say, it was mighty creamy and drizzled in the sauce of the stone fruits that it was swimming in. I get extremely excited when you can actually see the vanilla bean – bravo. So brilliantly simple and extremely well-executed. Pretty much how this restaurant rolls. However, a warning – it is a little on the pricey side. You are definitely paying for the incredible service and the well-thought out menu.

Pinotta on Urbanspoon

Ambience: 9/10
Service: 10/10
Food: 8.5/10 (nothing too inventive, but still exceptionally good quality)
Value for money: 6/10
Score (food is weighted double): 84%

I am so glad this place is only a short walk from my place. I inadvertently left my phone at the table – when I raced back (and by god, did I RACE back) the waitress cheerfully handed it over and apologised to me (though I have absolutely no idea what for).


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