2375 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach Ph: 07 5572 3008
There’s nothing more perfect than an Italian lunch – a little antipasti to start, a light pizza to share, washed down with a glass of chianti and maybe something sweet to finish. What could be better on a glorious spring day?
That’s exactly what we find at Goccia in Mermaid Waters.
We’ve met Anna Gazzola and her partner Loris Perobello before at Salt Meats Cheese, so it’s a nice surprise to see them in their own light airy restaurant.
We’re soon chatting about the food and what the couple hope to bring to diners. Hailing from Veneto in Northern Italy, the couple fell in love with the Gold Coast while visiting friends.
After deciding to branch out on their own, they found the corner position in a busy Mermaid Beach food precinct, opening in August 2017 after a four month build. With two sides open to catch the breeze, the seating spills outside along one shady wall. It’s a bright modern space lit with hand-finished tables and colourful accents, made even more welcoming by Anna’s infectious smile and greeting.
Everyone in their region has a nickname, ‘Stella’ (Anna) tells us, and the restaurant is named after Loris’s nickname, Goccia (pronounced ‘Gotcha’), referring to his tendency as a teenager to spill a drop of tomato sauce when making pizza.
Loris can be seen in the open kitchen, working in tandem with his pride and joy, a glistening Marana Forni oven imported from his home town of Verona. Boasting a base that can lift closer to the ceiling of the oven to maximise heat, ‘Marana’ (as Goccia has named her) can cook up to six pizzas at once.
Popular from opening, it’s easy to see why, as the smells of pizza drift out into the street along with the strains of Italian music. The couple are passionate about food, making everything from scratch, and eager to bring their Northern Italian tradition to the coast, while listening to feedback and making a few adjustments for the Gold Coast palate.
As expected, pizza forms the core of Goccia’s menu, an extensive list of twenty pizza choices with either a tomato or white base. They’re traditional pizzas with authentic Italian toppings, light and airy with a crispy crust.
More so than many Italian restaurants, there’s a flexibility with dining here – to share plates or have a single meal, with gluten-free pizzas on offer and many vegetarian options clearly marked.
Price point is keen as well, with main courses priced from $18 – $25.
A special lunch menu from Thursday to Sunday offers diners a great deal: a choice of four pizzas and two pastas with beer or wine for $17 – $22 per person. It’s the route we take on our first visit, sharing a Hot salami and olive pizza and Pappardelle ragu between us, backed up with a Menabrea beer and Italian wine.
It’s meal envy drives us back for a second visit; to delve into the many other dishes that flank the pizza menu. Entrées, pasta, sides and desserts include some interesting dishes, well-chosen to suit our lifestyle
We could make a meal from the entrées alone. A bright Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes forms a light, fresh accompaniment to pizza and pasta. Thinly sliced Beef carpaccio topped with a rocket salad and parmesan cheese is delicious and could make a light meal, accompanied by traditional polenta chips with blue cheese dipping sauce.
The prettiest dish is the Octopus carpaccio, its intricate presentation a work of art, dressed simply with parsley and lemon. We team up a couple of entrées with an artichoke, prawn and brie pizza to share. Delicious!
Homemade Tiramisu or Chocolate Salami make a simple but indulgent end to the meal, a cappuccino adding a finishing touch.
“Pizza+antipasti+pasta+dessert+wine+beer=half way through HAPPINESS!” Anna tells us, and we have to agree. There’s a lot of joy in this bright little eatery, with its casual vibe and huge Italian welcome. We’ll be back!
Note: Goccia is fully licensed.
Read more of Marj’s reviews on Good Food Gold Coast