From fine dining to a casual Italian eatery, renowned  chef Giovanni Pilu serves up classic dishes packed with flavour. His latest venture at Harbord Diggers may be a less formal dining experience than Freshwater’s Pilu but the emphasis is still on quality and great taste.

Tucked in the corner of the main area, this airy Italian has sought-after ocean views and a relaxed feel. Decorated in an understated, modern fashion, it is the sort of place to bring the family and friends for a good day or night out.

The kitchens are open to diners, creating a homely feel and the red tiles decorating the walls came direct from Italy after Giovanni had to personally call in favours to ensure they were delivered in time for the opening.

“We had been looking for premises for a casual Italian and were approached by Harbord Diggers about taking a space in the development. We got to know them really well and spent a lot of time looking at the designs and we had faith in them and what we saw and decided to go for it,” explains Giovanni’s wife and business partner Marilyn.

She says the look of the club and the restaurant has exceeded their expectations and the response has been overwhelming. “It has been really manic and we are having an amazing time,” she adds, saying it is currently Giovanni’s home away from home.

The restaurant is essentially about pizza, pasta and antipasti. Marilyn says the pizza side of things was somewhat new for them and they are importing a wholemeal flour from Sardinia to ensure the very best bases. The dough is organic and requires additional time proofing, a full 48 hours, making efficient preparation key. The kitchen team rolls fresh pasta daily, and bakes their own focaccia and grissini.

The menu includes all your Italian favourites, done well – simple, tasty dishes using, fresh, seasonal ingredients. Marilyn says there is no compromise on quality. It is divided into an extensive antipasti list, pizza, pasta, mains and desserts. There is also a gelato cart that is home to a variety of flavours. Many of the dishes are shared style plates, the true Italian way to eat with family and friends.

Along with a range of Italian and local wines, there are a number of cocktails on the menu to enjoy as an aperitif or with your meal, including spritzes, Bellinis and your choice of a classic or Pilu Negroni, plus local and artisan beers.

Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, AcquaFresca is suitable for groups large and small.

AcquaFresca by Pilu open for lunch and dinner, 7 days | 02 9071 8681