Costa Azzurra, Fairy Meadow - Wollongong NSW
|A light summer perfect olive oil drenched salad of rocket with Parmesan and cherry tomatoes.|
The Costa Azzurra has been a long term landmark to the Australian community of mainly Italian background in Fairy Meadow, a suburb several kilometres north of Wollongong CBD, sited beside the narrow Princes Highway. It sits in a interesting and diverse hub with the Leisure Coast markets and nursery as its neighbour and with the Fraternity Club grounds across the main road. The building may look the same as when I first moved to the Wollongong area, but inside the renovated environment is pleasant, is inviting and provides a more spacious dining experience than years before. The menu may have changed gradually over the years, but the food is ever reliable, harking back to traditional recipes, is ever wholesome, good for family groups and still sensitive to more innovative trends. The restaurant emphasises its wood fired gourmet pizzas.
|Rich and yummy, the pork belly sitting on a bed of potato mush accompanied by fresh and crunchy greens.|
The thing that also mass the difference is the gravy!
Geographically, the Costa Azzurra refers to the French Riveria, with all its perceptions, buzz and natural beauty. In Europe, there is a Ristorante Pizzeria Coasta Azzurra in Ventimiglia and I would like to think of both restaurants - in Australia and in the EU - as possibly having a cosmic connection. I must thank Andy for suggesting this place for dinner recently as it is located in my own neighbourhood and yet I have unintentionally forgotten about its unique charms and offerings. I reckon it is a good place to consider for a special occasion, besides the causal dropping in for its pizzas. Service is friendly - and when we got pour servings later than expected, we got a well worded apology for the wait. The dishes served are in large portions and just like what Mama would prefer.
|Lamb shoulder, braised with TLC and comes out top notch.|
Chef and co-owner Chris Stojanovski strives for an elegant dining experience but also provides for a home feel with items like spaghetti meatballs, spinach and ricotta ravioli and pizza flavours like the Ancona (with both veg and salami) and the Calabria (with prosciutto and bocconcini). I have not seen so many Aussie themed pizza toppings like in Philip Island ( with Mexican beef, jalapeños and pepperoni), the Noosa (fresh ham, cheeses and pineapple) and the Port Lincoln (with marinated chicken fillets, mushroom, bacon and fresh tomato). There are both function and ala carte menus available. Costa Azzurra is also BYO. I noticed that tables are not crammed too close together, a refreshing aspect with more than reasonable walking space between tables for the guests. You also have relaxing surrounding window views of the outside and vehicle parking is also relatively easy in their own courtyard.
|The garlic bread gets the palate going on an early summer's evening.|