Vanessa: Nestled in the quiet inner west suburb of Abbotsford, Bistecca certainly knows how to draw in the crowds any night of the week. I have been several times before and have been consistently impressed by the food. For this reason, I was not at all surprised to see the restaurant was packed even on a “school night”.
Bianca, Alex and I were welcomed by Bistecca’s owner, Frank Angllietta, who explained that we were going to be sampling a range of dishes for their current menu. We settled in and enjoyed some crispy, piping hot pizza crust topped with garlic and served with mix dips ($16)
One of Bistecca’s specialities is their carpaccio of the day ($22) which changes frequently. Previously I had an octopus carpaccio which was delicious and on this occasion, we had a salmon carpaccio that was sliced practically paper-thin. It was beautifully presented with beetroot, garden vegetables and passionfruit. A vibrant and light dish, that had a good balance of citrus and sweet flavours. The salmon practically melted in your mouth!
The Southern Italian style octopus salad ($25) was a stand out for me, particularly as it had the perfect balance of salt and acidity! Very reminiscent of a giardinera mixed with tender, juicy pieced of fresh octopus.
The slow cooked sticky beef short ribs ($28) were a substantial serve and had been finished off over charcoals. I felt the dish took on more of an Asian vibe in terms of its flavour than something you would typically find in an Italian restaurant. The meat was so tender it practically fell off the bone!
I have had Bistecca’s pasta before and have always been impressed, particularly as the pasta is made fresh in-house. As we have said in the past, we are slightly jaded when it comes to eating pasta at Italian restaurants as everything is judged against out nonno’s pasta which is placed very high on our estimation. So when we are really wowed by a pasta dish, you know it’s a good one!
The pappardelle pasta in bistecca’s signature beef ragu ($27) had the wow factor! This rich, robust ragu made with shreds of eye fillet off cuts is perfectly bold in its flavor and dense in texture. The pappardelle was cooked to a perfect al dente with just the right amount of salt. I’d definitely recommend giving this a go.
We also tried the smoked salmon ravioli cooked with cream and Pernod. Although the salmon flavours were subtle, this dish didn’t sit so well with me, perhaps because I could taste the alcohol from the Pernod which I felt overpowered the pasta slightly.
Although we were seriously reaching a level, we were not going to be leaving without trying the restaurant’s namesake dish – The bistecca fiorentina($95). This mammoth 1kg serve of Black Angus rib eye is served up rare, with just a sprinkle of salt that allows you to really appreciate the taste of the meat. Being pregnant, I found it to be a little too rare and without being asked Frank considerately asked if I would like to have a few pieces cooked a little longer, which was a thoughtful gesture. This is a generous serve that is perfect for sharing between 4 people, particularly when accompanied by steak chips and a garden salad.
Perhaps the greatest travesty of the evening was that we had ingested so much hearty food we were physically unable to digest anything else, meaning we skipped out on dessert. A tragedy given how delicious the Nutella donut they are well-known for is!
It’s not hard to see why Bistecca is a favourite amongst locals and non-locals alike, given the quality of the food, the cosy interior and the dedication to creating mouth-watering Italian dishes. It certainly one that I will keep coming back to and recommend for its consistently good food!
Photos by Alex
*ForFoodsSake dined as guests of Bistecca, all opinions, however, are our own.