Maranello's, Concord

Friday, August 15, 2014

There are a lot of choices to make when you eat out at an Italian restaurant. Should you order pizza, or pasta? A salad to cut through the carbs, or perhaps some entrees to start? Do you like your pizza with a thin or thick crust? Pineapple on top?

I'd say Italian it always best eaten with a crowd. Not necessarily a big crowd, but enough for you to share lots of different dishes, to get a taste of both the pizza and pasta, with enough room for Gelato afterwards. 

Maranello's sits on the main shopping strip of Majors Bay Road in Concord, a restaurant that seems to be busy at night and is also open for lunch during the day. As well as the outdoor alfresco dining, protected by heat-insulating, clear plastic blinds and flanked by standing gas heaters, the interior of the restaurant spans the floor space of two shopfronts. The interior is themed with deep red and dark mahogany furnishings; the bar on one side concealing a wood-fired pizza oven that dishes out blistered, puffed pizzas.
The day we visit is a Friday lunchtime, right on the dot of 12pm so it isn't busy at all. As time progresses towards 1pm, the outdoor dining area quickly fills up. Along with the dinner/lunch menu, specials are scrawled freestyle on a thin, wide blackboard and detail scrumptious sounding-bites like Arancini and Minestrone upon our visit. 

So, on with the dilemma of what to order. Pizzas and pastas to share, please! 

Woodfired Garlic Pizza Crust ($15)

Although there's garlic bread and a garlic cheese pizza on the menu, we opt for the garlic pizza crust instead to get the best of both worlds. This is the same size as a normal pizza, with a liberal smattering of garlic and a sparse sprinkling of parsley that lends more an aesthetic than a flavour. The crust has a lovely chewy texture.

Pescatore Woodfired Pizza ($27.50)

The Pescatore Pizza is topped with calamari rings, king and baby prawns and pieces of curly wurly octopus. The menu lists black mussels as well but we couldn't find much of it. A squeeze of lemon, essential to any slice seafood pizza, cuts through the heaviness. Pizza serves are generous, no skimping on the toppings here and the pieces are cut to just the right size. Maranello's style of pizza is a moderate to thin base, wrapped by a thick, darkened and slightly taller crust that isn't soft or light but not heavy or hard either. A little bit in between, slightly charred.

A glimpse of the Renaissance pizza (bottom above), one of the gourmet pizzas, at the other end of the table shows a pizza that looks like the Pescatore, with a tomato base but topped with a mixture of ham, chicken, king prawns, garlic and a sweet chilli sauce instead.

Gnocchi Sorrento ($21.90)

Striking-red painted, plump potato dumplings arrives as one big tumble piled onto a shallow bowl. Gnocchi is not particularly one of my favourites, as I find them to be a little too stodgy and heavy for my liking (hmm...maybe that's just how they're meant to be). They are coated in a tomato-rich, cheesy Napoletana sauce that leaves a bitter, slightly burnt flavour on the palate.

Tortellini Boscaiola ($23.90)

Boscaiola is one of those pasta dishes that is in constant rotation for dinner in our household. Maranello's version is served with tortellini, a bountiful pile of cute, cream coated, ring-shaped pasta. The cream sauce is thick and scattered with pieces of ham, chunky mushroom and shallots.

While dishes at Maranello's may be a little at the higher end compared to other eateries in the area - $18-$29 for pizzas, $20-$30 for pastas - the restaurant is a popular dining option for a local night out or leisurely lunch. Pizzas are authentic, and the atmosphere is chatty at night on the weekends, though service can vary, coming off a little bit cold at times. Also on the menu are salads, risotto and traditional home-style dishes like Vitelio alla Parmagiana and Pollo Limone


Maranellos Woodfired Pizza Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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  1. Love a good woodfired pizza. And a good garlic pizza is always a winning start!

  2. Dear Maddie,

    I love the flavours of woodfire pizzas and these look really delicious.