Citta is the newest venture from restaurant moguls Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth (who together have also launched Patria , Weslodge , NAO ), plus Adam Brown ( Fox and Fiddle ). It's an rustic Italian restaurant located at the base of a Cityplace condo tower.
Come warmer weather, the new restaurant will boast a patio equally as massive to its neighbour Hunters Landing , but for now, the 85-seat restaurant hosts guests in a cozy, chandelier-lit dining room, floored with honeycomb tiles and furnished with warm wood tables set with mismatched tableware.
The hearty, rustic menu from acclaimed chef Ben Heaton (formerly of The Grove ) lists starters, salads, pizzas and pastas along with daily features.
To start, there's half a dozen salumi selections ($6 each) and nearly as many formaggi ($7 each) to snack on. Otherwise, opt for crostini topped with things like brussel sprouts, poached eggs and speck ($8), or piled with imported Italian burrata with caramelized onions and plump, wood-roasted vine tomatoes concasse loaded onto sweet and tangy agro dolce-spread toast.
Light, crispy battered squash fritters ($8) are doused in fiery pepperonicini chili emulsion and served over a base of cooling yogurt.
Blistering wood-fired pizzas boast thin, crusts in Roman style and can be had with red sauce like the signature Napoli ($16) topped fior di latte and white anchovies, or white varieties like the Isabella ($16) with creme fraiche, fontina, speck and onions. Customizing is encouraged so adding premium toppings, like, say, ricotta di buffala ($4), to a margherita base ($15) is an easy way upgrade per preference.
Pastas are made in-house from incredible eggs that yield deep yellow noodles. Expect traditional preparations like spaghetti carbonara ($17), linguine vongole ($19) and tonight's special, a gooey buffala mozzarella stuffed agnolotti ($18) in vibrant arrabbiata sauce dusted with parmesan. Of all the dishes I try tonight, it is the simplest, but also the most delicious - the one I'd come back for again and again (actually, I'd eat the burrata crostini anytime too).
Also among tonight's features are meaty mains and complementary sides like a braised short rib ($26) topped with rich sugo, briny capers, olives and lemon zest, accompanied by chicken-fat roasted fingerling potatoes ($8) dressed in sherry vinegar with sweet, deeply caramelized onions and toasted bread crumbs.
Cocktails developed by mixologist Clayton Cooper ( Byblos ) include the effervescent Veloce! Veloce! ($11) with gin, aperol, white vermouth and ginger beer. The wine list by sommelier Will Predhomme opens with 15 by the glass selections ($9-$15) and then organizes bottles ($40-$150) by region listing vino from northern, central and southern Italy.
Reservations are welcome, which is no surprise for this level of restaurant, but more unique is that online ordering and a delivery service are soon to launch.
CityPlace residents even have a new indulgent weekend brunch destination in this place. The Italian-inspired offerings include a display of pastries like salted Nutella brioche, olive oil cakes, cannoli, and curd-filled bomboloni, as well as savoury breakfast and lunch dishes like duck egg bennies or porchetta and eggs.
Photos by Jesse Milns