Agostinis at East Hotel Canberra dishes up old school Italian glitz.
Agostinis at East Hotel Canberra will transport you to Italy for a moment in time and your little bambinos will love it just as much as you.
You could say my love affair with Italian food started early. I married an Italian, travelled extensively throughout Italy and lived a good portion of my life on Norton Street, Leichhardt (Sydney’s hub for all things Italian).
So, it was surprising for me that Agostinis in Canberra instantly became one of my favourites. With its old school Italian glitz and family-friendly vibes, I was transported to Italy for a moment in time. Family-owned, just like the East Hotel it sits under, the opulence of Agostinis is an experience in itself.
Head Chef Francesco Balestrier’s menu at Agostinis
The aroma that proudly wafts from the lavish authentic Italian kitchen plays just a subtle part in its charm. The dusty pink glamour and gold brass finishes complement the cane woven comfortable chairs. Old and new designs interweave as the expansive timber and tiled floors sprawl out forever. A cocktail bar with elegance to envy whisks up a stunning list, but for me, it’s the local and imported curated wine list that begs attention. The leopard print soft plush booths and the creative art around the room is so much fun. Families and groups enjoy a humming atmosphere, as well as having space for intimate chats. Canberra’s weather can be tricky but Agostinis have nailed a large fresh outdoor area, complete with stylish plants draping from the ceiling.
The hospitality is truly special and it is a key ingredient I am sure in the recipe for Agostini’s success. Lots of “the family” are employed here and the colourful characters leave a warm impression as we get their help on the menu. The very moment I hear that an Italian lady comes in to make the pasta from scratch, daily at 7 am, I hand the selection over to the waitress! Originating from Rome, Head Chef Francesco Balestrieri changes the menu every season. His inspiration is Northern Italian family food which is the area the Agostinis family came from – Udine region.
The flavour in the food that arrives truly takes your breath away. Figs wrapped in prosciutto and oozing with cheese linger in my mind for days to come! The lamb ragu with fresh olive sauce sitting on a polenta mash melts in your mouth. King peppered prawns sit on a fresh thinly sliced cabbage salad bursting with mandarin tones…. Exquisite cuts of fine steaks are cooked to perfection. Traditional desserts are as beautiful as you’d expect from a place of this calibre, although the Panna cotta with a caramel crunch is quite simply to die for.
Innovative cocktails at Joe’s bar
Joe’s bar that sits opposite from Agostinis is also one of Canberra’s institutions with a cult following for all things stylish. Delicate mixes of imported antipasto hang in a glass fridge. The cocktail list is creative and fresh. This stylish bar is a must-do prior to or after your Agostinis experience. One sip of the delicious signature Negroni reminds you these guys aren’t mucking around.
East Hotel, 69 Canberra Ave, Griffith ACT 2603
For more information and bookings visit: easthotel.com.au