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Gold Coast Favourite Gemelli Has Opened a Restaurant and Italian Street Bar on James Street

Brisbanites can now grab a meal at Gemelli's Italian, or drop by Bar Tano for cocktails and small bites.
By Sarah Ward
September 17, 2021
By Sarah Ward
September 17, 2021

It's been a busy few weeks for new eateries on and around James Street, with both Essa and The Green opening their doors. And, they aren't the only new kids on the block. The bustling Fortitude Valley precinct has also welcomed in Gemelli Italian and Bar Tano — with the former setting up its first Brisbane location, and also launching the latter as a neighbouring watering hole.

You might've eaten at Gemelli's Gold Coast spots, which include a restaurant in Broadbeach and a trattoria in Nobby Beach; however, now it has made the trip up north. Settling into the McLachlan and James street corner site that was previously home to Bucci, it's serving up pizza, pasta, antipasti and sweet dishes such as deep-fried dessert gnocchi and Nutella calzones, all inside a three-level dining space.

Here, you can start with the cherry tomato, buffalo mozzarella and parmesan-topped bruschetta, then move on to a black olive and black anchovy pizza or the carbonara, or opt for bistecca or saltimbocca. The drinks list favours Italian beers and wines, too, and you can sip classic Italian cocktails — negronis, bellinis, rossinis and the like — or try house concoctions such as the Sicilian margarita.

Those pizzas? They're cooked in a bespoke oven from Naples. Those tipples? They hail from the bar at the back. Fancy some salumi? There's a display fridge filled with it.

Decked out with timber arches to break up the space, and featuring large windows as well, Gemelli's James Street eatery has a light and airy feel. That vibe particularly stands out compared to Bar Tano, which marks the Gemelli Group's first bar — and pairs snacks, drinks and people-watching over James Street.

At this 55-seater, owners James and Alec Carney have gone dark and moody; think green marble, polished concrete and plenty of mirrors. They've designed the street bar-style hangout as an aperitivo spot — not just for a happy hour, though, but for catching up with friends over a beverage.

"Italy has such a rich culture and we're incredibly passionate about bringing that to Australia in a way that respects our heritage and the customs we love," explains James. "Bar Tano is inspired by Milan which is the birthplace of aperitivo and we wanted it to be a destination where you meet friends to reconnect over a refreshing aperitif and complimentary small bites."

Drinks-wise, more Italian wines and cocktails feature, as well as bespoke house tipples — like the Drive Me Nuts, which blends the negroni and the old fashioned; and the Better Than Butter, which gives whisky sours a buttery spin. For something to eat, there's ricotta dip, burrata, gnocco fritto and polpettini, plus a rotating selection of salumi and cheeses.

Find Gemelli Italian and Bar Tano at 15 James Street, Fortitude Valley. Gemelli Italian is open Wednesday–Sunday 12–3pm for lunch and Tuesday–Sunday 5pm–late for dinner. Bar Tano operates from 3pm–late Wednesday–Thursday and from 12–late Friday–Sunday.

Published on September 17, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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