Matteo Downtown – the Double Bay outpost’s cosmopolitan city cousin – offers the informality of a cafe but has the polish of a fine diner. In 2021 Matteo Downtown reopened after a one-year Covid-related closure. There's a renewed focus and energy here that separates it from other CBD restaurants in a similar vein.
This second instalment of the Matteo brand looks to the legacy of the great metropolitan restaurants of Rome and Milan for inspiration.
It feels sunny in the 600-square-metre restaurant despite the grey backdrop of high rises. A mural of 44 playful artworks by Sydney artist Daimon Downey is part of the reason. An open terrace with street-facing tables salutes Rome’s great piazzas.
Whether you're here for lunch or dinner, there's a really broad range of pastas to try. Though the menu changes often, you might try lamb Genovese or a bowl of calamarata topped with cherry tomatoes and calamari. Plus, there's salumi, larger protein-heavy mains, and a range of antipasti and contorni.
Chef Orazio D’Elia’s Naples-style pizzas are in the doppio lievitazione style; they’re made with dough proved twice so there’s no yeast, which makes them light and elastic.
And then there’s the marble mozzarella bar. D’Elia grew up in the Campania region of Italy – which is known for its buffalo – and he’s worked with Australian cheese company La Stella Latticini (in Auburn, in Sydney’s western suburbs) to deliver fresh batches each morning. D’Elia keeps the cheese at room temperature.
The drinks list is, of course, Italian-focused. Choose from a lengthy selection of fun red or white Italo vinos. For cocktails, it's hard to look past a classic Negroni.