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Bar Gusto

This 190-seat Bowen Hills restaurant boasts big Italian Riviera vibes and a terrace perfect for after-work drinks.
By Sarah Ward
October 17, 2023
By Sarah Ward
October 17, 2023

Italian Riviera-loving restaurant Bar Gusto is the latest addition to Rydges Fortitude Valley. The 190-seater gives pizza and pasta pride of place on the menu, and puts one of the King Street precinct's fig trees at the heart of its outdoor space.

Dine outdoors on the terrace here — or drop in for an al fresco drink — and being surrounded by greenery is part of the package. Bar Gusto's deck has been built around the century-old tree, in fact. Indoors, the fitout heroes walnut panelling with antique brass. The vibe that the joint is aiming for: laidback but timeless.

In a place that seats 150 in its main areas, plus 40 in its private dining room, executive Chef Francesco Trucco leads the kitchen — whipping up a menu that goes big on tradition, with family recipes steering his dishes.

Cooked in a Valoriani Vesuvio Igloo pizza oven, the restaurant's slices come in eight varieties, including sausage and taleggio; pancetta atop carbonara paste; a mushroom and ham number made with truffle paste; and a combination of Mooloolaba tiger prawns, caviar and crab meat. If you prefer pasta, black squid linguine is the signature dish, the ravioli comes filled with carbonara sauce and tucking into nonna's meatballs in napoli sauce is an option.

Among the smaller bites, pumpkin and basil arancini, potatoes crocchette with crab and bruschetta sit alongside rosemary olives, fries and those Mooloolaba tiger prawns again, this time in chilli garlic butter. Gusto does grazing boards, too, while panna cotta and tiramisu are the dessert choices.

Whether you're just after a sip or you're pairing your beverage with a meal, the wine list favours Italian and local vino. Prefer a cocktail? They're a big feature. Think: the Gusto Aperitivo (made with Campari, Regal Rogue wild rose, lime juice, grapefruit soda and orange slices), Dolce Colada (Sailor Jerry, banana liqueur, coconut, lemon, pineapple and coconut foam), Bond, Rosemary Bond (Tanqueray, Cinzano Bianco, rosemary syrup, lemon and peach bitters) and Razzmatazz (vodka and Chambord with citrus, vanilla syrup, seat salt and egg whites).

In total, seven types are available for just one person, two more for sharing (including the summery watermelon punch), plus two mocktails as well. And, if you prefer a classic other than Bar Gusto's specials, just ask.

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