Casa Nostra Ristorante is where rustic regional Italy meets inner city sophistication in Fortitude Valley’s M&A laneway.
From savvy owners who have been a long time in the Italian restaurant industry (ex-Biagio Red Hill and Marina Paradiso, Cairns), Casa Nostra (meaning ‘our house’) is the go-to for authentic yet refined Italian food that has been handcrafted from scratch and made to order, accompanied by the world’s first wine that dates from the time of Julius Caesar.
Diners can take a seat al fresco in the laneway or the cosy and chic ambient interior, which is split level, with bifold windows that open to catch the breeze in summer, an open kitchen and bar and with walls featuring stunning Italian landscapes.
On the menu you’ll find plenty of regional dishes, including Sicilian, that you won’t find elsewhere, and seafood-based dishes using the best local and sustainable catches.
Highly recommended as an entrée is the Antipasto Sfiziozo, featuring scampi, prawns vongole and mussels in a light seafood bisque sauce and the must try Vitello Agnodolce – rare chilled sliced veal served with Sicilian Agnodolce (caramelized onion sauce), green Sicilian olives, pinenuts and balsamic reduction.
Pastas are all hand-made on site, with choices including Spaghetti Casa Nostra (pancetta, olives, artichokes, red onion, leeks, carbonara sauce and shaved truffle egg or Fusilli al Pistachio – fusilli served with creamy pistachio pesto and prosciutto parma, while hard to go past is the heavenly Agnolotti d’Arogosta – agnolotti filled with lobster and béchamel, served with crustacean bisque sauce and cherry tomatoes.
For risotto fans, there’s a Risotto del Giorno (risotto of the day) and Casa Nostra also offers traditional Italian pizzas such as the rosse Norma – Sicilian style, topped with fresh tomato sauce and basil, sliced eggplant and ricotta salata – or the bianche Pollo – Fior di latte, chicken, potatoes, onion and rosemary.
For the Mains/Secondi, diners can choose from the likes of Scallopine Al Ragu di Funghi Porcini – tender veal medallions with slow-cooked ragu of Porcini and butter mushrooms with mixed veges, Barramundi alla Griglia – Cone Bay barramundi served with Salmoriglio – a Sicilian sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs, or the recommended Petto di Pollo Ripeno – chicken breast filled with cheese, pancetta, mushrooms and olives in a Cacciatore sauce made on premise-crushed tomatoes.
Save room for dessert at Casa Nostra, where one of the chefs is a Sicilian pastry chef who whips up delights such as Cannoli Crème Pasticceria (cannoli shells with traditional Sicilian vanilla custard) the refreshing Fragole Casa Nostra (fresh strawberries marinated in Italian liqueur with cream and ice-cream) or the must try Semifreddo al Pistachio.
The comprehensive carefully curated drinks menu at Casa Nostra is a perfect accompaniment to the food. Start with an Aperitivo such as Apero, Campari or Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur; an Italian cocktail like a Bellini, Affogato or Sdroppino (lemon sorbet with vodka and prosecco or a Birra Motretti on tap ; some bubbles such as Louis Roederer Rose, Veuve Clicquot Brut, Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco or indulge in some Dom Perignon Vintage.
The wine list features Australian varietals as well as an extensive range of Italian wines from across the wine-making regions of Italy, including the oldest recorded wine in history – Mamertino Reserve Sicily, which dates from Julius Caesar times. A nice touch is a glossary at the back which explains a bit about each of the wines and their flavours, for those unfamiliar with Italian wines.
And to finish, there’s a small selection of Digestivo including Grappa Aged in Barrique or Pallini Organic Limoncello and a well-brewed cup of Di-Bella coffee.
Need to know - No need to worry about parking when dining at Casa Nostra - customers have access to 3 and a half hours of free undercover parking in the car park off Mclachlan St - simply bring the parking ticket to be validated at the end of the meal.
Casa Nostra is a valued sponsor of Must Do Brisbane.com