It is, by definition, a local Italian eatery where food is made by hand.
But Osteria A’ Mano is not in Parma, or Puglia, it’s in Wyong, offering an authentic taste of Italy right here on the Coast.
The charming Italian restaurant is hidden behind a red door on Wyong’s palm-fringed main strip, directly opposite the train station.
The green, white and red stripes of the Italian flag and the vowel-heavy sign, the only hint at what lies inside.
Making the most of the heritage building, owner Alessandro Cigalo brought the pre-war floorboards back to life and added rows of wooden tables and chairs.
It all combines to create a country chic feel in what was originally a drapery.
Retro Cinzano, Vespa and Campari posters pepper the walls, setting the mood for some cheeky Italian fun, and inspiring our aperitif: Campari and soda.
Menus are found hidden inside old record covers. We peek inside Verdi to find the regional delicacies, including some from Alessandro’s hometown Rustigazzo, all made a mano, by hand.
The osteria is also a deli and with prosciutto imported from Italy, we can’t resist some antipasti to start.
The 24-month aged prosciutto and salumi, including a spicy cut dubbed Inferno, is served with plump olives, pickled vegetables and fried bread.
As if we’re visiting nonna in the campagna, we’re served plate after plate of tasty handmade Italian primis including crunchy arancini filled with tomato, pea and smoked mozzarella, and prawns wrapped in prosciutto, served with fregola.
It’s so fitting that Andrea Bocelli starts serenading us as our handmade pasta arrives.
The braised pork ravioli in sage butter with fennel and some sweet amaretti crunch is a culinary symphony.
Our second crescendo arrives when Alessandro serves up a silky squid ink risotto with calamari and bottarga, washed down with a Puglian negroamaro.
He spares no expense when it comes to sourcing quality ingredients to replicate the dishes he grew up with in Emilia-Romagna.
With no room for dolce, we still end on a sweet note with some biscotti and homemade limoncello.
After our afternoon in Little Italy, we walk outside half expecting a troupe of Vespas to whizz by.
Coastal Chic Tip: Get a group together and let Alessandro take you on a culinary journey through regional Italy with four courses from just $68pp