Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto: eat well, laugh often, love much. That’s the Italian way and the motto of the Italo-Australian team behind new Italian eatery, Besser. Eugenio Maiale, Ennio Di Marcos, Sandro di Marino and Luke Randall are going back to their roots.

In the suburbs of South Australia, the boys enjoyed the Italian ways of their immigrant parents; summer evenings full of food and finished off with mum’s sponge cream cake. They’ve even sourced Polyprop chairs reminiscent of their childhood for the fit-out, along with the bar made from 96 besser blocks (an iconic building material popular with Italian-Australians in the 1960s and ’70s). “It’s organised chaos,” explains Maiale, just like you would find at any Italian family gathering.

Chef Sandro di Marino offers a humble menu split into five sections. Small bar plates of fresh bread, olives and meatballs to start, a raw section with dishes such as raw carpaccio, and crudities paired with bagna cauda, a hot-butter dip infused with garlic and anchovy. Dishes are designed to be shared.

Traditional pastas such as gnocchi with turkey and tagliatelle with mushroom will reflect what’s in season, and mains of fish or chicken are served whole and divided at the table. “We want to create a place that Surry Hills locals can make a weekly tradition,” di Marcos, the man behind the bar, says. A daily batch of risotto will be prepared and all orders will be fulfilled 30 minutes later, so you’ll have to get in quick if you want a bowl.

At the moment the perception of tap wine in Australia is less than favourable, but the concept has been around for years in Italy and is now catching on in America. The team is determined to provide choice drops to set the record straight, ranging from Trebbiano to Granache to Montepulciano and Sangiovese.

Shop 2/355 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Opening Hours
Mon to Wed 6pm–midnight
Thu to Sun 12pm–midnight