Gino’s Spaghetti Bar has been one of those places that I have driven past about a zillion times and always meant to visit. It’s so close to home and despite hearing some really positive things about it I’d never managed to get there. Recently though a friend asked for a few ideas for local Italian restaurants and I suggested Gino’s to her. She’s since been twice and from all accounts really enjoyed both visits – raving about their impressive seafood platters. With this in mind, GG and I found ourselves home on a recent Friday and decided to seize the moment and tried our luck and called to see if Gino’s could fit us in that evening. Thankfully they could and off we set.
It really is quite a small restaurant, could be described as quaint, and would potentially be quite easy to miss if you were driving down Flinders Street. But from the moment we walked inside, the staff were so incredibly welcoming and it had an element of arriving at someone’s house for dinner.
There were already a few folks in attendance when we arrived and as we sat and perused the menu there was a steady stream of punters to pick up their take away orders – pizza boxes and containers full of pasta were walking out the door in droves.
I hadn’t been sure on the BYO front, but as it turns out wine is BYO with no additional fee. We had bought a bottle along with us, but on looking at the very reasonably priced wine list, we decided we’d opt for the Houghton’s Chardonnay – a bargain at $17.95 a bottle!
We were both feeling fairly peckish and hey how hard is it to pass up garlic bread? So we ordered Garlic Bread ($7.00) for starters, along with an Insalada Caprese - Bocconcini cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, pepper and oregano ($14.50) – one of my new favourites, then for mains I went for the Tortellini Alla Panna – Round meat filled pasta with a mushroom and cream sauce ($19.50), while my manly man ordered the Beef ‘n Reef – Grilled steak and prawns served with salad and chips ($34.50). It was actually a longer menu than I had expected – a wide range of pizza and pasta available, along with several larger meat or seafood mains available.
Our starters soon arrived and there were four very generous slices of garlic bread, with ample garlic flavouring. Some may recall I’ve had previous beef with garlic bread for not being garlicky enough, but no such issues at Gino’s. It was piping hot, that right balance of crusty and a little soft in the middle and just delicious. I’d been keen to order a Caprese Salad given I had a creamy pasta dish on the way. It was full of chunky slices of tomato and buffalo mozzarella and well seasoned with basil and a splash of olive oil. Such a refreshing salad and tremendous how such simple ingredients work so well together.
I’ll admit that I had perhaps put somewhat of a more serious dent in my appetite than I had anticipated with the larger starters and I was slightly overwhelmed when my tortellini arrived. It was ample and it looked and smelled pretty amazing.
Across the table, GG seemed pretty chuffed with his meal, a decent piece of steak and a fair few prawns. The chips looked pretty good too, as did the carefully presented salad.
The pasta itself was really lovely and the flavour of the filling along with the sauce was a winner. I knew as soon as I had seen the plate that there was no way I was finishing it, but such is the bonus of taking leftovers with you. Lunch the next day :) GG polished his off and was complimentary of his choice.
The place was full to the brim by the time we left. Clearly Gino’s is a very popular local and quite the little gem, which is a testament to Gino himself who you can see preparing the pizzas behind the counter :) With the friendly service, reasonable prices and very generous servings of tasty, home style food, I know we’ll be back soon – I’m looking forward to it!