Picture a moody dining room, walls thick with graffiti, wax candles burning and Italo beats by Roman artists pumping through the speakers. This is Cicerone, an unpretentious Italian joint serving the kind of food you might find at a postcard-worthy trattoria in Rome.

Opened by co-owners Isabella Daniali and Roman-born head chef Stefano De Caro in the old Maybe Frank space in 2021, Cicerone is named after the old-world Italian term for a city guide who would expose visitors to Rome’s local culture and ancient monuments. The name makes sense: the menu here is De Caro’s way of showcasing to Sydney diners the nostalgic dishes he grew up with.

You might start with some antipasti and pane di casa served with truffle and honey butter. Follow with handmade pastas such as the Roman classic tonnarelli carbonara with guanciale, pecorino, egg yolk, and cracked pepper; and the pasta of the moment, rigatoni alla vodka.

But at the heart of the menu are the light, Roman-style pizzas, blistered in a woodfired oven. Styles include the diavola, with spicy salami, tomato, mozzarella, whole-milk ricotta, and basil; and a margherita. To finish, it's salted caramel and chocolate tiramisu spiked with almond liqueur, and gelato with cream.

The wine list favours mostly Italian drops, with plenty of new-world styles supplied by Giorgio de Maria Fun Wines.

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Updated: October 31st, 2022

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