Indulge in housemade pasta, Italian cocktails and unmissable Tiramisu at this swish new restaurant
Officially swinging its doors open on Wednesday, July 28 after months in the works, this is the newest venture from Geelong local Julian Barbagallo dishing up the kind of devotedly rustic Italian food that you can feel doing you good, body and soul.
The key takeaways
- There’s a new Italian restaurant gracing Geelong
- I Ragazzi is serving fresh, handmade pasta and authentic pizzas
- You’ll find it at 361B Pakington Street in Newtown
Sleek and slim, the intimate space (formally that of the Picadilly General Store) will transport you to the humble shores of Italy from the moment you step onto the polished concrete floors.
Boasting whitewashed brick wall, dark timber seating, and even a brilliant French pasta advertisement ‘Pates Baroni’ print (by Leonetto Cappiello) adorning the wall, the dimly lit interior is cosy and stylish, perfect for a third date or that long-overdue family pasta night. Front to back, it’s all rather swish, with an incredibly eye-catching dark-green tiled bar.
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With a carb-heavy focus on Casalinga style Italian fare, Barbagallo’s perfectly crafted menu is well and truly on its way to being known as one of Geelong’s greats.
To get you started, there are antipasti such as pizzetta garlic; mixed olives; gamberti arrostiti with king prawns, breadcrumbs, chilli, parsley and lemon; charred eggplant, zucchini and peppers; calamari; and that old classic, caprese with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.
If fresh handmade pasta rolled from the best possible ingredients is where your heart lays, you can blissfully make your way through a modest yet flawless selection of dishes. There’s the gnocchi sorrentina with pomodoro, mozzarella and basil; the spaghetti vongole with pippies, chilli and garlic; casarecce with veal pork meatballs in tomato sugo; and of course, the mouth-watering pappardelle with slow-cooked duck ragu.
Alongside the pasta, there’s also a list of pizzas you would expect from a traditional Italian eatery. From the Margherita, the prosciutto and the capricciosa, to the Mr Barbs (tomato, mozzarella, hot salami and pesto), potato pizza, and the gamberi (mozzarella, zucchini, prawns, cherry tomatoes, chilli and mint), you can expect an intensely flavourful journey every time you dine at Il Ragazzi.
Of course, don’t leave without trying the tiramisu, which we’re sure will be a mainstay on the menu for years to come. There’s also indulgent cannoli, either with Nutella custard or ricotta, orange and pistachio filling, alongside classics like lemon tart and affogato. Bellissimo!
Dishing up mouth-watering Italian cuisine in a comfortable and elegant dining space, you can also expect a decent focus on wine, Italian cocktails and the same strong, authentic coffee your Nonna would brew.
With handmade pasta across the menu, you really can’t go wrong. Just be sure to watch out for sauce stains on your shirt.
I Ragazzi operates Wednesday through Thursday 5pm – 10pm, and Friday through Sunday from 12pm to 10pm. It’s located at 361B Pakington Street in Newtown.
Check out the website here and for orders or bookings call or text 0452 609 361