Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian in Canberra.
Jamie's Italian in Canberra. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

125 Bunda Street Canberra, ACT 2601

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02 6268 0400
Opening hours Lunch and dinner seven days from 11am
Features Licensed, Vegetarian friendly, Wheelchair access, Outdoor seating
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Nick Haszard
Seats 128 inside, 60 outside
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard

The Canberra Times Top 20 for 2013: No. 17

Jamie's Italian has exploded on to the Canberra eating scene just as The Naked Chef did on TV in the early 1990s. Brash and confident but accessible, just like the man himself, the crowds have been flocking since the place opened in late October.

The colourful, airy space under the Dendy in town is boisterous, with the kitchen and bar a major feature.

Food is good value and quality, with kids' meals $9.50 including decent spaghetti bolognese, real fish fingers, sliders and chicken skewer lollipops. All come with a ''shake me'' jar of salad and cordial.

Adults can choose from a range of starters, ''planks'' with cured meats, or fish or veg, pastas and risottos, flash veal, steak or the famous Jamie's burger. The meat plank is a great way to start, with superior quality cured meats and buffalo bocconcini starring on this shared board of nibbles.

A crab bruschetta is attracting much attention, and the mild seafood flavours with creamy avocado are pleasant and easy to share. The Jamie's burger itself is a little underwhelming, with slightly dry meat and mushy onion. Homemade pea and ricotta ravioli is better, with broad beans and asparagus all in a lovely green sauce.

Wine is mostly Italian and well priced, lots by the glass and a wide range of well-made cocktails.

Dessert is a triumph, and at $10, sensational value. A tangy lemon meringue pie is topped with a huge wave of wonderfully soft, sweet meringue, all contained in crisp pastry.

It's a good-looking room, extended from the rather smaller Kingsley's which used to be here, with billiard green and brown banquettes, pink metal chairs and some bar seats all with an open, breezy feel. Best-looking loos in town, also.

Jamie's Italian is a fun pace to eat, with authentic food and clear flavours, very good prices and a special nod to kids.