Capriccio Osteria & Bar

Tuesday
12:00pm - 11:00pm
159 Norton Street Leichhardt 2040

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Italian

Capriccio is an Italian word open to a long list of interpretations. It can mean “to indulge one’s whim”, while others claim it’s “a quirk of fate”.

Whimsical and fantastical are the two meanings that Matteo Galletto and Michele Rispoli have chosen to go with for this osteria and bar, which they opened in 2016. They serve simple, approachable Italian, with no fusion.

Both owners are third-generation restaurateurs. Galletto is the son of Lucio and Sally Galletto of Lucio’s Italian Restaurant in Paddington, where he learned Italian hospitality and attention to detail.

There’s an open feel thanks to a glass entrance and communal tables leading out to the Tuscan-style courtyard. The bar’s shelving holds bottles of San Pellegrino and vibrant crockery imported from Italy. The bright, patterned plates and carafes add life to the mostly neutral kitchen run by Nicole Bampton (ex-Tetsuya's, Lucio's and Sepia).

The kitchen does its best work with the wood-fired oven. See: spelt panini stuffed with porchetta, fennel and radicchio; and mushroom and truffled mozzarella. Most of the bar food (stuzzichini), focaccias and vegetables go through the wood oven too.

Cotechino sliders on lentil buns, and passatelli with mussels, are just some of the modern alternatives. Classic pasta dishes, such as cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) and spaghetti aglio e olio (garlic and oil), are other staples.

On top of the lesser-known Italian wine list, Capriccio offers bianco or rosso on tap from the robust wine barrels on the bar counter, with plenty of Limoncella to go round as well.