David Francis is a freelance writer based in Adelaide.
Published February 14th 2012
Located just south of Victoria Square in the city, La Trattoria has been satisfying the hunger of locals and tourists since it was established in 1975.
Its Italian flavour – anyone who has travelled to that country will recognise the apparent chaos, as waiters dodge each other between tables and patrons are shown through when a table becomes available – is evident from the moment you enter. It's a bit like the inverse of the proverbial duck floating serenely while paddling furiously beneath the surface – in this case the operation is smooth while appearing chaotic. The noise levels are high, as people enjoying themselves chatter at their tables, but this is the character of the place.
The frantic activity is all part of the experience
[ADVERT]La Trattoria caters for different eating styles: those who want to sit around all night, socialising over their food and wine; those who want a quick bite, or a casual coffee, after being out or on their way somewhere; has indoor or outdoor seating; and takeaway for the rest. All of these options are available until late at night all week, and lunch is available Monday to Friday.
The menu has a large range of pizza – the owners' father had founded Adelaide's first registered pizza bar Marcellina in Hindley Street in the 1960s – and pasta, but is also well-served with seafood, steak, veal, oysters, and chicken choices.
Sauces and pasta can be mixed-and-matched. I chose fettuccine pasta with Alla Panna sauce (ham, cream and mushroom). For some reason the mushrooms are listed as optional with this sauce, so I made sure I asked for them. The pasta was fresh, cooked al dente, and served hot. The sauce was delicious – I added parmesan cheese from the dispenser that was brought to the table – and was tempted to lick the plate clean.
While you are waiting for the food – and it doesn't take long to come – people-watching is a great pastime, as there is always movement throughout. The restaurant consists of several rooms, so sometimes people can look a little lost, momentarily, while trying to find their way back to a table. I saw one party get called through to their table but, by the time they had come past the bar area, the waiter had disappeared around the next corner and they didn't know which direction he'd taken. These things have a way of working themselves out in the end and it is all part of the dining experience.