If you’re looking for a new HOT SPOT for Italian dining, Zona Azzurri is the one. The 140 seater restaurant is the latest addition to the ever changing restaurant scene in the inner-city suburb of Alexandria. This suburb was once the epitome of industrial Sydney, but now it’s switching gears to becoming a mix of high-rise residential areas, upscale offices, and home to trendy restaurants, cafes and shops.
Zona Azzurri is headed up by manager Riccardo Bianchini and pizza master Leonardo Alfieri, the award wining team from Cucina & Co in Melbourne. Recently the duo won the 2017 Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Awards for Best Pizza Restaurant in Victoria/Tasmania.
The restaurant is nestled inside the new Ultra Football Store, one of the biggest football stores in the world, shop till you drop with the latest jerseys and apparel by all the top brands or you can even kick a goal on the indoor soccer pitch. Striking steel fit-outs throughout add visual interest including the imposing industrial door. Opposite the open kitchen where all the magic happens is the main dining area, it has ample space with uniformed chairs and tables including an alfresco space. A two tonne pizza oven flown in from Naples along with a huge wine wall will guarantee you an unforgettable Italian dining experience.
In true Italian flair, the menu brings the everyday home cooking style to your table and these include the classic favourites; antipasti, pasta, insalate, focaccia, pizze, dolci and daily specials. The wine list includes selections from footballers Andrea Pirlo and Andrea Barzagli’s wineries, how good is that!
Last week, media guests were treated to some of the dishes at the tasting launch and upon arrival a choice of Prosecco or a cocktail were offered to kick off the event. After the welcome speech by Riccardo Bianchini, food and wine tasting followed simultaneously.
The tasting stages started with Zona Salumi Board, a selection of freshly cut gluten free cured meat served with bread then followed by tender, crispy and golden Fried Calamari with rocket and homemade balsamic mayonnaise sauce. A selection of crisp white and aromatic red wines were served to go along with the repast for the night.
Pasta fresca is their thing, Gluten free homemade Gnocchi Datterino hits all the right spots with a rich, sweet and aromatic datterino cherry tomato sauce specially imported from Siracusa, Sicily.
Served with extra virgin olive oil, we tasted two types of pizza, the first one to arrived was Margherita – with simple delicious toppings of tomato sauce, fior di latte and basil then followed by Zuccotta – smashed pumpkin, buffalo mozzarella and sausage. With thicker crust, these pizzas were flavoursome, moist with smokey flavour and even the sauce sticking to my fingertips begged to be licked.
A medley of organic tomatoes topped with imported mozzarella, fresh basil, oregano and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, the Caprese is not to be missed. Another salad we tasted was the Insalata Di Rucola, a vegetarian dish and gluten free. You’ll look forward to eating these greens with pears, shaved parmesan cheese, walnuts and balsamic vinegar reduction.
Before the Dolci hits our tastebuds, a short tour of the premises including a group photo took place. The concept is truly amazing, it’s connecting people with two passions: a love of football and authentic Italian food. There’s a designated EA sports FIFA gaming area, barber shop, coffee counter and the soccer pitch area can be hired for functions too.
A room for dessert?, definitely, 2 luscious desserts were served to finish off the night on a sweet note. Nutellino, calzone filled with Nutella served with coffee ice cream and Sweet Pizza, topped with Belgian white chocolate, fresh strawberries and ice cream. These desserts will have you melting with delight.
“We are passionate about creating Italian food using seasonal produce, hosting people in a space where they always feel welcome, and where they could eat at and experience it every day just like I did at my mamma’s house, and being in surrounds where appreciating football is a daily ritual,” says Bianchini. Yes, the wait is over from Melbourne to Sydney, now it’s our turn, Zona Azzurri is definitely a must added to your restaurant list to check out.
160 Bourke Rd, Alexandria
Open 7 days a week Tel 02 9669 4741
E_deliciou_S attended the event as guests.