I'm a freelance writer who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. I enjoy finding new things to see and do in the beautiful area that I live in.
Published May 30th 2012
Update August 11th 2015
As of mid-2015, this popular family restaurant was sold. It is now called Brunenzo's Italian Pizzeria, and promises high quality dishes and excellent service. Alfio's Restaurant is now gone, but will live on in the memories of many Geelong residents.
There are plenty of Italian-themed restaurants in Australia- some of the highest quality where you can expect to pay through your nose for gourmet sauces and homemade pastas, while there are other places where the quality may not be quite as good, but there's a fantastic atmosphere.
Settling somewhere mid-range on this ranking system is Alfio's Italian Restaurant, which can be found in the Geelong suburb of Newcomb. Nestled in the corner of a busy little shopping area along the Bellarine Highway, Alfio's may not look like a particularly promising restaurant, with its old and weathered-looking façade, and it's popular takeaway neighbours (Subway and Pizza Hut). However, you will soon see that appearances can be deceiving, for while the outside doesn't look very special, the inside of the restaurant more than appeals.
Not only is the restaurant bright and cheerful, but it's perfect for both families and couples alike. The eating area is well-spaced out, with large tables that can be pushed together to cater for bigger groups, and plenty of room behind chairs so you don't get bumped by passing patrons. Generally, there's nothing worse than booking at a restaurant for a large group, and then having to squish around a table, with only a small 30cm by 30cm section in front of you for your dish, and no elbow room whatsoever. Luckily at Alfio's, this isn't a concern. On this occasion, I went with a group of ten, and we could all fit comfortably around the tables that were assigned to us. Smaller groups and couples who were seated near us also looked quite comfortable.
Aesthetically, the restaurant is also quite pleasing. The warm peach-coloured walls are offset with dark red feature walls, on which black and white prints of Italian cities are displayed. Potted plants are scattered around the place, to add a bit of greenery and a single orchid sits in a plain white vase on each table. The bar in the corner of this fully licensed restaurant is also impressive to see, with a wide variety of wines and spirits available to drink with your meal.
Now to the most important part- the food. My family and I have been visiting Alfio's Italian Restaurant for years, because we have yet to find another Italian restaurant in Geelong that can compete when it comes to making incredible tasting pizza. Sure, there are a few contenders, but Alfio's is definitely up there amongst the best. Luckily they are also incredibly talented in other areas of Italian cuisine. While they have a set menu, they also have an ever-changing specials board, which includes seasonal dishes and other tasty meals, which, while not necessarily Italian, have Italian influences.
The herb and garlic breads come in a style rather unusual for most restaurants- they are basically herb and garlic pizzas, cut into slices and easily able to feed a large group. This is a nice change from the small bread baskets you usually get, which contain one crusty loaf that can barely cover the amount of people on the table. Most of the meals are quite big portion-wise and extremely filling (as you'd expect from an Italian restaurant), and the quality and freshness is second to none. The waiting staff are very attentive, without being annoying, and make sure that everybody is comfortable and happy with their meals.
From the specials board- Black angus with mushroom sauce
Alfio, the owner, can often be seen behind the pizza bar, creating delicious pizzas for his eat-in and takeaway customers. He is assisted by a small group of equally talented staff, who help him create amazing pasta dishes, seafood, antipasto and steaks. He also has an enticing dessert menu, which includes an incredible (and popular) tiramisu.
Open for lunch Thursdays through to Sundays, and dinner every night, Alfio's is well worth putting on your list of places to eat in Geelong. Because it is located in the suburbs, rather than in central Geelong, it is likely that Alfio's Italian Restaurant may have skipped your notice, but on eating there, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality, and that you'll also add it to your favourites list, much as my family and I have.