Salt and pepper calamari.
Salt and pepper calamari. Photo: Melissa Adams

21 Battye St Bruce, ACT 2617

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Opening hours Mon Closed, Tue - Sat 12:00 – 2:00 PM 6:00 – 9:30 PM, Sun Closed
Features Vegetarian friendly, Licensed, BYO, Outdoor seating, Gluten-free options, Accepts bookings, Wheelchair access, Family friendly
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Daniel Perrott
Seats 100 inside and out
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 02 6251 0990

Canberra Times Top 20 for 2012

Ellacure is the kind of mid-range Oz-Italian eatery that you would have to say is ubiquitous, and fast being taken over by the new obsession with spice, smoke and barbecued meat.

Ellacure is about pasta and risotto, duck confit, veal parmigiana. But before you say, nah, done that, it makes the top 20 list because it does this stuff really pretty well and in a fun, buzzy, energetic atmosphere.

Ellacure restaurant, Bruce.
Ellacure restaurant, Bruce. Photo: Melissa Adams

Service is a strong point here, familiar but super-friendly and helpful, accommodating whatever you’re after as though you’re just a part of the gang. The wine is accessible, some good options by the glass at good prices, succinct, nicely chosen and a proper nod to the locals.

The menu is brief, which is welcome, and simple, ditto. Salt and pepper calamari (told you this would be familiar stuff) is salty and fresh, served with rocket and aioli. Gnocchi is a satisfying dish, with a pleasing texture to these gnocchi balls, browned in a pan and served with asparagus and peas. The slowcooked meats, lamb shanks, duck and the like, are always the go for winter – generous serves,  rich sauces, tender meat, this kind of thing is done well at Ellacure. Spaghetti and meatballs, likewise, is great with a clinging, stick tomato sauce and rich flavours.

Ellacure is in a rather unlikely location, in the base of an apartment building in the Australian Institute of Sport precinct near Bruce Stadium. But it’s a testament to the service, the set-up and the just-right pitching of this place that it’s always busy.

How we score: Food and Wine Annual Top 20