North Bondi Italian Food

NBI

With all the fuss about Maurice Terzini’s newest restaurant, Neild Avenue, I realised I had neglected one of his first. North Bondi Italian Food opened in 2006, so yes, I know this post is a little more “noughties” than now. That being said, there’s nothing behind about this place. Located in North Bondi, it has stuck around since long before “the grassy knoll” became a well-used term, and fixies filled every gap a car was not. With an emphasis on produce and traditional Italian cuisine, a glass of prosecco on the deck, looking out over famous Bondi Beach could not really get much better.

Like everywhere in Sydney these days, “NBIF” does not take bookings. Instead, expect to enjoy a campari and ruby red grapefruit or 10 while you shell peanuts and people watch as your table gets seated, served and cleared again, ready for your patronage. There is nothing cheap about the place, but you get what you pay for, and you expect what you get.

NBI Verdure

North Bondi Italian Food is actually pretty low-key, despite its clientele. Staff wear overalls, shorts and sneakers, cutlery can be found accompanied by olive oil and balsamic in troughs at each table and, while decadent, the food is simple. My sister once sent me the “verdure” menu in place of recipes she wanted me to prepare for her for dinner one evening, a very good sign for a vegetarian who is fussy about food.

While entertaining interstate guests, this is the perfect place to come on a Friday afternoon. Arriving at 1pm, we don’t have long to wait before we’re seated, something I’m hugely grateful for (thankfully, running into a friend who happens to be managing at the time) as I’m with my father who is anti-queue. I’m keen to show our guests, family of Italian heritage, a really good time, and breathe a sigh of relief as they seem duly impressed at the spectacular location and menu at hand.

Habit often prevails in these scenarios, especially with the pressure of a looming waiter and the expecting eyes of the recipients as you order for a hungry table. Zucchini, Asparagus, Peas, Beans, Mint, Waxy Potatoes and Air Dried Ricotta is a tried and trusted favourite. And doesn’t let me down. My own version(s) have never quite worked out the same, but it encourages experimentation with quantities and methods which is always good.

NBI Ricotta Basket

Ricotta Basket Made Daily with Mint, Lemon, Salt Flakes, Chilli and Grilled Bruschetta is impeccably presented with charred bread stacked high and condiments on the side to-taste. As a refreshing palate cleanser we try Flat Rocket and Raw Fennel Slaw, before going in for the kill with decadent Arancini – Crumbed Spinach Risotto Balls, which I’m assured are cooked in a vegetable stock. Every dish is literally one that could be made at home, yet each has a “little something” that would be hard to replicate with an untrained technique.

NBI Fennel Salad

The wine list here is extensive and not something I’d like to pretend I know a lot about, yet friendly all the same. Come on a weekday afternoon or evening, as weekends pack out like a Sass & Bide sale, with a similar habitué. I’m still keen to visit Neild Avenue, the latest operation from these guys, also the brains behind other such ventures as Icebergs and Guiseppe Arnaldo & Sons at the Crown in Melbourne. In the meantime, don’t forget to stop by North Bondi Italian Food on the way home from the beach as a last hurrah to summer. It doesn’t look like it has long to last!

NBI Arancini

North Bondi Italian Food
118 Ramsgate Rd, North Bondi
(02) 93004400
http://www.idrb.com/northbondi/ 

North Bondi Italian Food on Urbanspoon

8 Comments

  • Leon says:

    Loved this place. Visting Bondi (live in NYC) and hit this this past Sat night. Compared to the other crazy prices in Sydney I felt the price was on par for cost, but exceeded in value. Wine list is great from a variety type, started with a Kris pinot grigio, then went to a more moderately priced one. As stated the peanuts & people watching were pretty good. I just loved the menu though and as a challenge/learning experience I’m going to practice making the entire menu…well, maybe less the lamb brains. This was easily my favorite restaurant that I visited.

    Good review!

    Leon

    • Kitti says:

      Hey Leon,

      Glad you enjoyed it, it really is the perfect spot for a cocktail, especially if you’re in for a flying visit. Practice making the entire menu!?! Now that’s a challenge! Which other places were your favourites while you were here?

      Thanks for reading.

      Kitti.

  • Leon says:

    My absolute favorite was grabbing fresh Sashimi & Oysters at the fish market for breakfast….just a really cool place. But I also liked Jed’s Foods, Bondi Hardware, Buckler’s had a really good fish taco, La Maccelleria had some amazing Prosciutto & other goods. Raw was fairly decent as well. But again, what struck me about the NBI menu was being simple & complex at the same time.

    Leon

    • Kitti says:

      Wow, sounds like you caught a good variety.

      What I wouldn’t give to come back to NYC… I’d ask you what your favourites are back home but by the time I make it there it will likely have gone full-circle!

      Anything I should look into online?

      Kitti.

  • Ben chambers says:

    well kitti i really don’t trust your pallet or your judgment unless your a chef, are you a chef? and since you knew the management i would recommend your view to be a little bias or maybe a lot. The food in those photo’s don’t look high end restaurant standard especially those aroncinni balls which are not hard to come by, either is a slice of lemon some ricotta with chili flakes and burnt charred bread for 10+ dollars, great culinary intricacy i don’t think. Restaurant reviews are meant to be an insight for all food lovers not just people who know management and are then silver spoon fed to write these killer reviews. Have a look at eat ability’s rating which is a calculated average rating given by many foodies who have wined and dined at this joke for an italian restaurant, not to mention the staff who deliver service that would make a person fall to sleep. A place where aristocracy and atmosphere almost kills the women next to you because her hair isn’t flicked the other way is a real buzz kill which could take away the real opinion of dining at this nose up, bland food restaurant. NBIF was good three or four years ago and now its really gone down hill with maurice terzini fleeing for the hills at this now below par establishent. With a sass & bide reference and talk of new york city it’s sounds to me your on the scene ship which merely follows and admires rather than feeling and creating. Have fun eating a marchetti’s guide to administration called “North bondi Italian Food” you think with a spot like that a businessman or restaurateur would prepare for change in order to fulfill the needs of the consumer instead it’s been the same shit for it’s whole existence. I mean if the location didn’t sugar coat this place it would be the restaurant in surry hills that no one gave a fuck about.

    “good restaurants have a time limit but the best restaurants are always changing” (thats why maurice left i reckon)

    (for instance the bondi trattoria with it’s unbelievable flavours and culinary intricacy)

    Don’t delete this instead rebut why I’m wrong.

    • Kitti says:

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your comment. I shall try and address your points…

      To begin, I am not a chef. As mentioned in the post, I have tried many a time to replicate the dishes at North Bondi Italian and have yet to master most of them. I am keen to know, by the way you asked the question, whether that would change your opinion? My blog is about my experiences at the restaurants, and occasionally trying my own hand at cooking. It interests me that you took the time to investigate my name, but not read the FAQs where I detail the fact that I do not accept free meals in return for reviews, hopefully that addresses your “silver-spoon fed” suggestion.

      You’re right, Maurice Terzini has now left North Bondi Italian Food, but you’ll notice this review came just before his announcement. It will be interesting to see what happens to the restaurants in his absence, and I am very keen to see what he’ll do next. According to Terzini himself, Neild Avenue reflects more where he feels his future and passion, and as mentioned in my post, I have not yet made it there. I shall be sure to put it up once I do.

      It sounds to me like you have had a bad experience at North Bondi Italian, and admittedly you’re not alone. Not all of my visits to North Bondi Italian Food have been seamless, but for such an incredible location it’s hard to go wrong once you’re seated, looking out over the beach with a cocktail in hand. In my opinion, the food at North Bondi Italian is consistently good (the same can not always be said of the service but in this case it was great) and I can only write about what I have experienced.

      I’m sorry that you have had such an awful time in such a beautiful part of the world. I agree that in some cases evolution is the way forward, but for others I hope they never change, like No Names (East Sydney) or Abduls, which have been dishing out the same food for decades.

      I never delete comments, although I hope for my mother’s sake that she doesn’t read your obscenities as I cannot censor your words.

      Thanks for reading, I’m always open to constructive criticism.

      Kitti.

  • Ben says:

    By the sounds of things, your a great writer who is definitley open to Constructive criticism. Don’t stop doin what your doing because it’s awesome, I’m a big fan who is always enthusiastic about testing the best. will definitley pass your website along ( your comment gave me a more rounded opinion which I suggest for the real deal article, it would be wise to add a touch of doubt to your review in order for people to become curious, but then again you obviously know what your doing).

    All the best, Ben

    P.s. I got ure name from the comment above, I also wasn’t sure if you were a chef or not.

    • Kitti says:

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks again for your comments. I agree it’s boring reading articles that don’t feel genuine. That’s the last thing I hope to transpire through my writing, and although nobody is forced to read, my purpose isn’t to put out bland material. It’s always good to have feedback, so I hope you keep reading and, when you feel inspired to do so, commenting.

      It’s always nice to have restaurant suggestions, so if you hear of anywhere serving awesome veggie or that generally nods towards ethical, sustainable, seasonal and local food, please feel free to get in touch.

      All the best to you as well,
      Kitti.

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