Wander down the alleyway by Eurobar on the café precinct Beaumont Street and you will find El Nonno, a cosy little Italian restaurant, walls lined with photos of beachy Newcastle. Watch out for the kids drawings on the wall, as well... combined with the soft chairs and red wine coloured carpet it's very much a homey atmosphere to dine in. I'm always greeted warmly by the swift staff, all who have appeared to perfect the balance of small talk and efficiency.
The menu is in two 'parts' per say. One is a set menu with elaborate dishes (yes, I include lasagna as an elaborate dish). The second menu is like a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book (remember them?). You pick your pasta (with the delightfully additional choices of gluten free and ravioli), your size and your flavour: a range of cream, tomato and vegetarian based sauces and indulge in a short wait before the arrival your food. The food is accompanied by cracked pepper and extra parmesan - what more could a girl want?
I am a thrifty eater, so I've become accustomed to finding the best ways to eat out on the cheap (for example sharing a meal when you know the place has large servings) so believe me when I say you want to come here if you want a big bang for your buck. Three days of the week, the already cheap pasta menu comes down to $8 for a small (enough to feed a small giant) and $10 for a large.
If you are looking for a new regular lunch joint I highly recommend El Nonno. Alternatively take a hot date there and let the chatty atmosphere charm your comrade for you. You will leave the place happy with your full belly and your full wallet.