1 November 2023

L'Aperitivo at The Italian Place brings continental conviviality to Mort Street

| Lucy Ridge
Tony smiles and holds a bottle of Sapling Yard wine

Tony Lo Terzo is a hospitality industry legend in Canberra. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

After-work drinks just got a whole lot more sophisticated with the introduction of L’Aperitivo at The Italian Place Providore and Bottega.

Owner Tony Lo Terzo explained that the Italian tradition of l’aperitivo is a networking and social event.

“You finish work, get dressed up and you meet your friends. You order a drink and you immediately get a plate of food; usually, it’s whatever the house specialises in. If it’s a trattoria, maybe they would cut up some porchetta with some bread or a piece of focaccia,” Tony explains.

“The food is complimentary because it is part of Italian tradition to have food with your drinks.”

L’Aperitivo is also an affordable treat: $15 gets you a drink and the plate of cichetti, or snacks.

A place of little snacks like salami, smoked salmon on bread, olives and cheese

Italian bars traditionally offer free snacks, or cichetti, with evening drinks. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Dining culture in Italy is much later than in Australia. Tony explains that in Italy, it’s not unusual to start your dinner at nine, whereas Australians are usually finished by then. L’Aperitivo at The Italian Place will run from 4 pm until 7 pm to allow people to still have dinner at a reasonable hour.

But there’s also the option to linger and order a larger antipasto, salumi, or cheese plate and enjoy cured meats and the absolutely delicious olives. The terrine or pate of the week is served with cornichons, onion jam and is always delicious.

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The Italian Place is well known for its comprehensive wine list focussing on Italian and local wines. The wines will change month by month, and Tony hopes to continue to showcase the wines that feature in the monthly Canberra district wine dinners.

“We’ll always be serving Italian wines and local district wines: l’aperitivo reflects what we do at The Italian Place.”

A table laid with multiple platters of cured meats, antipasto, cheese and nibbles

Other larger antipasto plates are available to purchase during l’aperitivo (the terrine is highly recommended). Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Tony and the team will also be serving up beer, prosecco and spritzes, which he explained are the popular drink of choice for l’aperitivo in the north of Italy.

The cichetti, or snacks, will also change over time.

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“We are famous for our antipasto, so at the moment, we are doing some little arancino, cantaloupe and prosciutto, a little Caprese skewer. Just little things people will enjoy.”

These little menu tasters might change as Chef Francesco Petrillo makes new menu items, as ingredients come into season, or to give people a small taste of a special dish.

tin of ortiz anchovies on grocery shelf

The Italian Place Providore & Bottega sells European specialty items. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

The Italian Place is a favourite dining spot for Canberrans who enjoy Chef Francesco’s authentic Italian meals and Tony’s famous hospitality. The menu usually has a monthly focus on the different culinary traditions found around the regions of Italy.

While l’aperitivo might be a new concept for Canberrans, there’s plenty to love about this thoroughly civilised way to enjoy the company of friends at the end of the day.

L’Aperitivo at 55/40 Mort Street, Braddon, is available from Wednesday to Saturday at The Italian Place Providore and Bottega, from 4 pm to 7 pm. No bookings necessary. Find out more on The Italian Place’s Facebook, Instagram or website.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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