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 Cucina Romana, a cool Surry Hills Italian joint serving up the best of the eternal city.

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 menu here is De Caro’s way of showcasing 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 blistered slabs of Roman-style pizzas from the woodfired oven. De Caro’s pies are so legit, they’ve been recognised by Gambero Rosso, an Italian magazine regarded as that country's authority on food and wine. Speaking of wine, Cicerone's list favours mostly Italian drops, with plenty of new-world styles in the mix.

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Updated: May 17th, 2024

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