Italian and Estonian flavours combine at Paddington’s Romantica Ristorante Pizzeria
After accumulating a strong following of Paddington locals with Roman-style eatery La Pinsa, David Ruggerio is making a strong claim for the title of pizza king of Brisbane’s west. His new intimate restaurant Romantica Ristorante Pizzeria combines David’s beloved Roman cuisine with his wife Kate’s Estonian roots, adding a further level of depth and difference to a culinary lineage already steeped in rich history.
Much like David Ruggerio’s local pinersia La Pinsa, the concept behind Romantica Ristorante Pizzeria originated through travel. While holidaying in Europe, David and his wife Kate travelled to Kate’s native Estonia, where they immersed themselves in the local culinary delights. Noticing a crossover in tastes and flavours between Estonia and Italy, David and Kate discussed the potential of pairing both cuisines in a singular restaurant menu and introducing Estonian flavours to their adopted home of Brisbane. Upon returning to Australia, David and Kate started experimenting with flavours for their dream venue, cataloguing many recipes on their Instagram account My Messy Chef. After establishing La Pinsa in February, the couple took their time securing a space for their second venture, eventually installing Romantica on Given Terrace in the former home of Winner Winner, with street-side dining and an intimate space downstairs offering your choice of vibe.
David and Kate’s culinary experiment has yielded tasty dividends in the form of a substantial menu that includes antipasti, pasta, pizza, mains, dessert and child-friendly meals. The centrepiece of Romantica’s menu is undoubtedly David’s range of red and white-base pizzas, which are more modern than La Pinsa’s fare, but still made using Roman-style dough of washed-wheat flour, organic mother yeast and filtered cold water. After rising for 48–72 hours, the base is then fired in a brand-new Alfa Opera Italian woodfired oven (using cherry firewood), resulting in a lighter pizza, which is crispier and easier to digest. Romantica’s Estonian touches are most evident in dishes such as the free-range pork belly with fresh herbs and cauliflower puree, slow-cooked wagyu oxtail ragout, rhubarb tiramisu and Vana Tallinn affogato. Estonian liquors share bar space with handmade limoncellos, grappa, Italian craft beers and cider, and organic Italian wine.
Romantica Ristorante Pizzeria is now open. For more details, be sure to check out the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.