La Svolta feels like local family restaurant in Naples – staff chatter away in rapid-fire Italian and it's not uncommon to be greeted with ciao bella. And that’s exactly what owners and native Italians Valerio Calabro and Giuesepe “Pino” Russo aim for.
The space is open and warm, with timber furniture and exposed brick walls that retain the ambient heat and the appetising smells of garlic and tomato that carry from the kitchen.
The menu consists of the Italian fare that you'd expect, with the requisite emphasis on authenticity and quality of ingredients. There’s a variety of antipasti to share; heart-warming pastas such as pappardelle with slow-cooked lamb ragu and woodfire-baked gnocchi with tomato and mozzarella; desserts; and of course, pizzas.
The hero of this menu, the smoky, thin and crisp-based pizza, seems to be in endless supply. Winner of the 2012 Best Pizzeria at the Melbourne Pizza Festival, La Svolta knows pizza. With your choice of pizza rosso (tomato based) or pizza bianca (olive oil and garlic base), there’s a combination for everyone.
At the heart of the La Svolta experience is the food philosophy mangiare e felicita (eating is happiness). With full bellies and empty plates, we have to agree.