Opened by brothers Pasquale, Dominic, Vince and Joe Trimboli in 1996, Mezzalira has firmly entrenched itself as one of Canberra’s dining institutions. By day, it’s a popular destination for business lunches. And come evening, it’s alive with couples on dates and families celebrating special occasions.

Located in a heritage building in the city centre, Mezzalira’s stately interiors hint towards the space’s former life as the Bank of New South Wales. An imposing vault door that once held vast sums of money now stores the restaurant’s more exceptional bottles of wine, and white linen tablecloths and waitstaff in collared shirts give an air of sophistication to any meal here.

The Trimboli brothers steer for traditional Italian fare; saving modern twists for their Braddon restaurant, Italian & Sons. The menu is deeply rooted in their Italian heritage, and they’ve been importing one particular dried pasta from the same Italian maker for decades. Other pastas are made fresh, such as the signature tortellini di zucca – pumpkin and buffalo milk ricotta parcels tossed with a burnt sage butter and a shower of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The menu isn’t limited to pasta, though. You might also find tender slow-cooked duck leg for a main dish, as well as unexpected sides such as marsala spiked carrots. For dessert, the tiramisu is an obvious choice, epitomising what Mezzalira is all about: tradition done really well.

The wine list features classic Australian varietals, as well as wines from small Italian producers who the brothers have forged relationships with over the years during frequent trips to Italy.

If you’re after something quick and casual, pay a visit to Da Rosario – the small bar that operates from the side door of Mezzalira from early morning until the afternoon. Tables spill out onto the pavement, and a seat out here is perfect for a quick espresso and biscotti. Or maybe a serve of the daily pasta special.

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Updated: June 24th, 2022

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