By S Davey
The Italian (formerly known as The Italian at the Pacific) adjoins the Beach Hotel and is directly opposite Main Beach. The natural motif of Byron extends into the restaurant with a driftwood fence entrance meandering to a pandanus-and-umbrella-framed al fresco eating area.
Inside the restaurant, there are generous openings to the exterior and an elegant design that showcases beautiful natural materials. Early in the evening the atmosphere starts as a relaxed swing then buzzes later as it fills.
The service keeps up with the change of pace and is willing, courteous and timely. The breezy feel and beach air is a great atmosphere in which to enjoy a beverage; there is a good selection of well-made cocktails, worthy Italian or Antipodean wine selections as well as a nice whiskey menu and, of course, an Italian restaurant has great coffee.
Modern Italian is the food theme and includes interesting dishes such as Beetroot and Goat Cheese Arancini; or the Kingfish Crudo with pickled fennel, herbs and lemongrass.
Italian classics are also on the menu such as brushcetta; lasagne made with slow-cooked lamb; or Penne All’Amatriciana made with a rich tomato sauce, peppered pancetta, confit onion, herbs and generously topped with shaved parmesan.
Some Italian dishes are given a bit more of a retrofit – the Spaghetti Bianco has shredded pumpkin, pea, pistachio, sunflower seeds and parmesan, or the Spaghetti Kingfish has confit fennel, white wine, chili, orange, basil and cherry tomato.
There is a selection of time-honoured desserts and a cheese and accompaniments plate. You can also try their dessert cocktails: the Affogato is vanilla ice-cream, coffee and a choice of liquor (we chose amaretto – wonderful!) all served in separate glasses lined up in an artful row on a board; or you can sample the Lemon Meringue Pie as a dessert cocktail too.
The Italian Byron Bay has a stellar location, attractive inside or courtyard dining, great cocktails and wines, as well as offering inviting and gratifying modern Italian menu options.
The Italian, Bay St, Byron Bay. Ph 6680 7055