Inspired by the boisterous trattorias of Italy, Italian & Sons is a smaller, more laid-back sibling to Mezzalira, known for its white tablecloths, refined airs and elegant food. You won’t find any tablecloths here – just sheets of white paper ready to stain with oily focaccia fingers and red flecks of splattered sugo.

On the menu, old-school rules are challenged in subtle ways. It might be a drizzle of fermented chilli oil, or a cured egg yolk atop a carbonara.

To start, you’ll find antipasti (think zucchini flowers served with peach, thinly sliced prosciutto and a creamy dollop of stracciatella) and small dishes such as smoked swordfish crudo sprinkled with pink peppercorn and shaved fennel.

For a main dish, order the pan-seared barramundi fillet with Sicilian eggplant caponata, and the radicchio, pear and goat’s cheese salad – it’s a winning combination. But if you’re chasing handmade pasta, the Sons deal in unique and creative combinations rather than straight-up classics, though a house spin on a bolognaise may appear from time to time.

The substantial wine list has a helpful regional map of Italy to explain the selections, but the waitstaff is particularly knowledgeable on the subject. For a more intimate drinking spot, head right up the back through a dark corridor to Bacaro, the Sons’ tiny wine and pizza bar.

For the best seats in the house, you have a choice. It’s either pull up next to the front window overlooking Lonsdale Street, or perch by the open kitchen beside the retro Italian posters lining the wall.

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Updated: November 18th, 2022

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