Filicudi, Five Dock
Sorry to reveal your neighbourhood secret Five Dock, but this one is too good to keep hidden!
Filicudi, for those of you who are geographically inclined, will know that this is one of the eight islands that make up Italy's Aeolian archipelago, and for those of you from Sydney, you may also know it as one of the best hidden Italian dining gems this city has.
It's unassuming and located on a busy suburban street that is constructed with grand houses belonging to hard-working migrant families and filled with well-established rose bushes that dance aginst the picket fence.
Slide the door open and be welcomed with a warm-smile and Italian rich accent that politely askes if you had a booking? Why do you need a booking on a weeknight at a suburban restaurant in the middle of Five Dock you might ask? Because you will be hard pressed to find a spare seat in the house.
There's a mixed crowd of local diners devouring platters of pizza, the resident nonna's who still don a pair of heels and their finest suits, and the ooh's and ahh's of out of towners who cannot believe they didn't discover this place much sooner.
Dangling from the roof is hundreds of cane fiasco's, once lovingly hugging full bottles of Chianti, not a signature decorative and talking piece of Filicudi's homage to Italy inspired decor.
Peruse through the blackboard specials that capture seasonality and classic Italian cooking styles. The Fiori di zucchini is a vibrant dish of delicate zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and lightly fried in a tempura batter. No starter is complete without a traditional brushetta, where juicy red tomatoes soak crusty pieces of pane di casa.
Usually, baby octopus comes grilled, fried and marinated, but the Polpi Al Sugo takes it to a whole new level, with the baby octopus slow cooked in a spicy sugo sauce. It is one of the most tender and flavoursome ways to enjoy baby octopus and the side serve of fresh bread is perfect for scraping up all the leftover sauce and it's only fitting to order a bottle of chianti, with a good mix of Italian, Australian and international wines on the list.
Mains are a collective mix of robust pasta, gourmet pizzas and dishes of meats, seafood and vegetables. Black board specials also feature steaks and fish of the day so make sure you check these out as well. The veal caprese features as one of these specials and comes out as a generous size smothered in sauce with a bowl of vegetables to the side and had all the comforts of a home-cooked meal.
Penne Granchio isn't your everyday penne; it is served with freshly flaked pieces of sweet blue swimmer crab mixed with a creamy brandy and tomato sauce. A really elegant dish where all the elements complete each other without being overly rich or overindulgent.
Desserts are all the classics you could wish for, with gelatos and homemade delights, as well as freshly brewed espressos or even a cheeky shot of homemade limoncello.
Filicudi is one of those places that isn't just a Italian neighbourhood gem, it is an experience that really transports you back to a family dining table in Italy. Book a table today and experience it for yourself.
11 Ramsay Rd, Five Dock, NSW 2046
(02) 9713 8733