Same cuisine, different experience
I’ve got to be honest, Crinitis was not my favourite restaurant on the Northern Beaches. So, the thought of another Italian eatery taking its place did nothing to stir my excitement.
As a result, I must’ve walked past Fratelli Fresh a dozen times in search of a new dining experience in Manly. Of course, one of the major advantages of a pizza and pasta venue are the irresistible aromas that permeate the street outside.
So, there was only so long I could ignore Rockpool Dining Group’s addition to the local food scene, which opened its doors in July last year.
It’s a Friday evening when my partner and I meet out the front – opposite the Bavarian at Manly Wharf. There is a sting in the winter chill, so we opt for a cosy table inside.
There’s already a buzz at 6pm, with plenty of conversation and laughter between the larger groups and couples.
The vino is flowing and Aperol spritzes (there’s an extensive selection of spritzes on the menu) are adding a bright orange glow to several tables.
I opt for the Fratelli Fresh sav blanc, and my partner goes with the cabernet merlot – both lovely drops.
We then order fried zucchini flowers and tomato bruschetta to start – and the lemon ricotta and goats cheese filling of the flowers is nothing short of a flavour explosion. The bruschetta tempers this wonderfully with its freshness.
For mains we share a diavola pizza and penne boscaiola, and we quickly realise this is comfort food at its finest.
The spicy salami, which we enhance with chili oil, complements the traditional ingredients of tomato, olives, capsicum and mozzarella, and it is all elevated by the thick woodfire-charred crust.
The boscaiola, with its famous parmesan, cream and mushroom sauce, and cotto ham, was also a delight.
Finally, whenever there’s affogato on the dessert menu we can’t help ourselves. Yes, that means with the extra shot of Frangelico.
The night cap is a perfect way to end a lovely evening, and we beat ourselves up that we’d ignored it for so long.
Fratelli Fresh, 54 West Esplanade Manly, fratellifresh.com.au