Etrusco @ Dunedin

Etrusco is a popular Italian restaurant serving pizza and pasta dishes in Dunedin, it is situated at the old Savoy building. The restaurant is beautifully furnished, and the ambience has got to be one of the best in Dunedin.

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It was a very busy night, and we were lucky to get a table by the windows. The staff were very welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. We chose the banquet menu for five of us to try out a range of food, and the food was served in a timely manner.

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We started with the anti pasto, which is a variety of Italian salami, prosciutto (cured ham), olives, artichokes, and crostini. It was a classic Italian plate that we all enjoyed, but we wished for a little more generous serving of meat. Our table of five had to cut up the meat into tiny pieces to try a taste of each kind. I also think even the inclusion of some olive oil on the side would have made the dish greater.

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The garlic bread was really tasty, you cannot go wrong with plenty of garlic butter!

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This is called schiacciata, which is a Tuscan version of focaccia with olive oil and rosemary. The bread itself is very thin, like a cracker. It was crunchy and light, and the slight saltiness went well with the flavours of the oil and the fresh rosemary.

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The pasta plate featured a selection of three different pasta dishes. We had pomorola, verde, and sugo di carne (from left to right) that night, the portions were very generous, and the pasta were cooked to a perfect al dente texture.

Pomorola is a classic Tuscan tomato sauce tossed through farfalle pasta, it had great flavours from the tomato, basil, and various herbs. The sauce was creamy and rich, and more on the sweet side.

Verde is a penne pasta tossed in fresh basil, spinach, toasted pine nuts with a dash of cream, and finished with fresh parmesan. We all loved this pasta. The pesto sauce was vibrant, and gave a mild and herbaceous flavour to the dish. The toasted pine nuts added a pop to the pasta with a nice crunchy texture.

The last pasta dish was the sugo di carne, which is a bolognese style meat sauce with spaghetti. It is a simpler meat sauce that requires less time and preparation compared to the traditional ragu bolognese sauce, however, it is still pretty satisfying. It had strong umami flavours from the beef mince, tomatoes, vegetables and parsley.

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As part of the banquet menu, we had two chef’s choice pizzas. This is the Leonardo, which is a tomato sauce based thin crust pizza topped with cheese, garlic, onion, zucchini, tomato, green olives and oregano. The crust of the pizza was nice, very thin and crisp. However, we found the toppings to be a little underwhelming and lacking some seasoning.

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The other pizza dish was the fiesole, which is a pizza with cheese, pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, and oregano. I enjoyed this pizza more because of the saltiness of the cured meats, and the nutty flavours from the mushroom. Overall, it was more flavourful and had more substance.

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We had a selection of some house made desserts. This is the chocolate ice cream sundae topped with chopped nuts. Although not too exciting, you cannot really go wrong with some ice cream.

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This is the torta al cioccolata, which is a dark chocolate cake filled with blueberries, and smothered in warm house-made fudge sauce. I found the cake a little bit too sweet, however, everyone else loved it.

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The last dessert was the crostata al limone, which is a lemon cheesecake with a sweet and buttery biscuit base. The lemon flavour was clean and light, and executed well.

I really enjoyed going to Etrusco, my favourites of the night were the schiacciata, pomorola farfalle and the verde penne. It is a great place to dine in, especially in larger groups such as with friends and family. You will probably be there for a couple of hours with great food and attentive service.

Their banquet menu definitely allowed us to try a good range of their different offerings at a friendly price. If you consider the exceptional atmosphere, food, and service at Etrusco, it is easy to see why it is one of the most popular joints in town.

Address: 8 Moray Pl, Dunedin, NZ

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