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Foodvixen Does Europe (Day 5) – Polignano A Mare

Our last day in Rome we decided that we hadn’t quite had enough of the Burrata and Pesto pizza at Antico Forno Roscioli so we met our friends there that were also staying nearby and yeah, well, let’s just say we had pizza for breakfast. Afterwards we all made our way to the airport to catch an afternoon flight. Not sure if I have mentioned it already but we are all actually in Europe for a good friends wedding. Many of us have flown over from Australia to attend the wedding which is in London next weekend, so obviously we decided to make a bit of a holiday out of it.


More pizza porn

We were meeting more friends in Polignano A Mare, a small seaside town in the city of Bari in Puglia for a bit of pre-wedding drinking, eating and relaxing. Puglia is well known for a few things, most importantly Taralli – a savoury biscuit shaped a bit like mini donut that I nicknamed the Italian Jatz because of their addictive nature. Secondly, Puglia is known for its Burrata. Some of the best Burrata in the world comes from Puglia and in both Rome and Florence I found menus with Burrata from Puglia on it. And thirdly the small little round pasta known as Orecchiette is also famously from Puglia.


Some Orecchiette I had during my time in Polignano that strangely tasted like Spaghetti Oops (or that may have been the 1 Aperol Spritz and 3 Negroni’s I drank beforehand)


When we arrived at Bari airport the five of us collected our  two rental cars with MS and I upgrading from our Toyota Yaris to a Renault Clio. It was cheap to upgrade and the Clio had built in Navman. Funnily enough our friends upgraded from their Alfa Romeo Giuletta to a Ford Mondeo wagon which proved to be an extremely bad idea when we arrived in Polignano to find the narrowest streets in existence. Thankfully both cars got away from the trip unscathed but only because of some absolute standout driving from both MS and the Ford Mondeo driver, PS.


This photo does not do the narrow streets of Polignano justice!

The town of Polignano A Mare is one of the prettiest little places that I have ever had the opportunity to visit. It is a quaint little town with a labyrinth of laneways filled with restaurants, cafes, shops and breathtaking lookouts over the Adriatic Sea. Unbeknown to us before we arrived Polignano was also gearing up for their second ever hosting of the Red Bull Cliff Jumping competition. Had we known that we probably would have stayed a couple more days but we had flights booked to leave the day before the competition began. I don’t want to ramble on too much about Polignano because to be honest, it’s all a bit of a blur of drinking and repetitive pasta and pizza eating so I am going to try and condense it into one (or two posts).


What Polignano A Mare is famous for!

On the first night in Polignano we checked into our Airbnb (La Casetta Nel Vico) and reunited with our friends at their Airbnb which wasn’t far from ours. We made our way to a popular little cocktail bar called La Casa Del Mojito down one of the laneways. There wasn’t much to it… a few metal stools to outside to sit on and some nearby steps but man did they do good, cheap cocktails! 7 Euros for a huge selection of cocktails that were certainly not stingy on the pours. I started on the Aperol Spritz and moved onto the Negroni’s which wasn’t the smartest move since I hadn’t eaten since my breakfast pizza. Over the next four days we visited a couple more times. La Casa Del Mojito was a definite highlight of our time in Polignano.


La Casa Del Mojito

During our stay in Polignano we dined at so many places that it really is just a blur for me now but I do have a few highlights. Fresh seafood is the name of the game in Puglia and there is a tonne of seafood places to eat. Il Pescato was on my radar after it was recommended to me by our Airbnb host Francesco however since much of the group (there was 9 of us) weren’t the biggest seafood eaters so 5 of us made a booking for lunch while the rest fended for themselves. The Grilled Swordfish on the menu was only 9 Euros (an absolute steal) so most of the table ordered that as a starter. It was freshly caught, perfectly grilled and with a squeeze of lemon over the top… Bliss!


Grilled Swordfish

I had the Tagniollini with Clams, Red Prawns, Squid and Fava Bean Puree. Fava bean puree with pasta is a first for me but hopefully not the last!


Tagniollini with Clams, Red Prawns, Squid and Fava Bean Puree

I sampled my fair share of pastas over the week with plenty of memorable ones and some not so memorable ones however the best one for me was at a restaurant called La Locanda Porta Picc. The Spaghetti with Seafood or as they say in Italy ‘Spaghettoni ai Frutti di Mare’, which sounds far better than the English version was a standout for me and the others at the table that ordered it. You can’t beat the simple flavours of top quality olive oil and garlic with freshly made pasta and seafood caught that very day!


Spaghettoni ai Frutti di mare – The best seafood pasta I had in Italy

I did really want to go to the Grotto Palazzese (a restaurant built inside a cave) but after reading some reviews about it and looking at the price of the menu I decided that it wasn’t really worth it at all. It seem you’re really just paying for the view and no doubt it’s amazing but I don’t need to spend 40 Euro per dish just to look at a view like that. I mean I work on a ship so that kind of thing isn’t all that foreign to me. Plus according to many a review the food wasn’t spectacular and the service was woeful so yeah, nah.


This is as close as I got to the Grotto Palazzese

Polignano is a popular spot for Italian’s that want a seaside holiday where they can lie on the beach in the sun and work on their golden tans. The actual beach at Polignano absolutely tiny. There are so many people crammed into one little spot, it’s quite a contrast to what we are used to in Australia. Not to mention that but the beach is also mostly rock. The ones in the know have special plastic slip on shoes that they wear to walk on the beach and swim in the water – kind of like a cross between a Croc and a reef walking boot. We missed the memo on that one so ended up painstakingly making our way in and out of the water. I also found the beach to be quite dirty. The Italians love a good cigarette and there is no shortage of cigarette butts littering the tiny beach. We even found a sanitary napkin right where we decided to lay our towels which just grossed me out and made me wonder what else was hiding amongst the rocks.


Polignano A Mare

Earlier that day we took the car north to find a sandier type beach about 7km away at the town of Monopoli. What we found didn’t really qualify as my idea of a beach and the large red graffiti on the seawall that said ‘Die Bitch’ was also slightly disconcerting so we had lunch and headed back to Polignano. Other friends had also been scouting for a good swimming spot and found somewhere just north of the main beach in Polignano where we spent a bit more time. I think we are pretty spoilt in Australia in terms of beaches and space as it sure is a premium over here.


The beach in Monopoli wasn’t so great

We had a fabulous 4 days in Polignano A Mare.  In fact it makes me kind of sad that it’s all now just a memory – a much treasured one at that. Afternoons on the terrace with Aperol Spritz’s, cheese and white anchovies and good friends is certainly something I could get used to but sadly all good things must come to an end. Next up Florence….


A cute Nonna I took a photo of doing tapestry right near our Airbnb

Foodvixen Does Europe (Rome) – Day 4

We didn’t have anything in particular planned for our fourth day in Rome which just so happened to be a Sunday.  Apparently quite a few restaurants and cafes were closed on Sunday’s.  At least all the ones I wanted to go to were anyway.  But after reading a few reviews and one in particular by Katie Parla (a New Jersey born, Rome based blogger) I had my sights firmly set on De Cesare Al Casaletto, just outside of the main part of Rome.  According to her blog Cesare is the place that she takes journalists that want to write about pasta and also where she takes Roman friends.  Sounds pretty near perfect to me and they were open on a Sunday so I asked reception at our hotel to book a table for four for that very evening.


Some random graffiti near our hotel that I thought was worthy of a photo


Earlier in the day we explored more of the city and I took us on a wild detour to find a gelato shop that had been recommended to me (again thanks Johanna).  Il Come Latte seemed a little off the beaten track as it was out of the main tourist areas and we found ourselves to be the only ones around which made me wonder if we had taken a wrong turn.  Turns out we did find it and my navigating was on point as usual.  Il Come Latte Gelateria was the cutest little gelato shop I think I have ever seen.  Very Pleasantville if you have ever seen that movie with Reece Witherspoon.  The menu was in Italian so we really didn’t know what all the flavours were but I was able to make out a couple of words including Pistachio and Ricotta so that’s what I ordered.  The inside of the handmade waffle cone was also drizzled with white chocolate (you could get milk chocolate if you prefer) with a chocolate dipped wafter chip on top.  Perfecto!  The server was lovely, even gave MS a warm cloth to wipe chocolate sauce off his shorts.


After our gelato we found ourselves back at the Colosseum eatery that we had eaten at on our first full day in Rome – Angelino Ai Fori – for a late lunch.  I had the Caprese Salad with some Bruschetta and MS had the Grilled Provola Cheese with Smoked Ham that we’d previously had.


My Bruschetta – would you look at those tomatoes?!



My mediocre Caprese Salad


We both thought the Grilled Cheese was pretty epic but my Caprese Salad was only ok.  For such a big and busy restaurant the waiter remembered us and was super friendly in his own brash Italian way.


Grilled Provola with Smoked Ham


Back to our hotel for a costume change and then off on the no.8 tram to head to De Cesare Al Casetto.  Upon arrival I had a look at the wine menu which seemed ridiculously expensive me.  Even my Google Translate app didn’t offer up any help so I asked the waitress if the prices were for a glass of wine.  She assured me that all the prices were for bottles of wine.  Phew.  15 Euro for a bottle of white Italian wine?  Winning!


One of the dishes Cesare is known for is the Fried Gnocchi with Pecorino and Black Pepper Sauce so that’s exactly what we ordered for our starter.  When it came out it was far bigger than I expected and it turns out the four of us probably could have just shared the one dish.  I could see why it’s a popular dish.  Mmmm it was delicioso!


Fried Gnocchi with Pecorino and Black Pepper


For my main (or as they call it First Course) I had the Tonnarelli All’Amatricana (9 or 10 Euros).  Two of my dining buddies ordered the same and the other ordered the Carbonara.  There was a slight mix up with the type of pasta that we received but that can only be attributed to the small language barrier.

Oh My Goodness… The Cured Pork Cheek was just to die for! This pasta was something special and to date the best pasta I have eaten on my journey so far, in fact the four of us all agree that our pasta dishes are the best we have eaten.


Tonnarelli All’Amatricana


This was also our last night in Rome so dinner at Cesare was a fitting end to what was a fantastic four days in Rome.  I honestly didn’t think I would like Rome, visiting mostly because it has quite a few ‘must see’ places that one needs to visit in their lifetime (i.e. Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Sistine Chapel) however I really enjoyed my time there, despite much of the city smelling like p*ss, and would love to go back again one day.

Fasta Pasta, Cairns

I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple of weeks now… I started it a little while ago and just wasn’t in the mood to finish it plus MS was home from work so I had (ok wanted to more like it) spend some quality time with him, plus it was Christmas. I get very little blogging done when MS is home because I have way too many distractions. I have the attention span of a goldfish (about 3-4 seconds) so when I do my posts I can’t have any distractions – that means silence and no Facebook. So yeah…


What was supposed to be a takeaway night for me on a Saturday including watching the final episodes of Dexter (yeah I still haven’t gotten around to it) on my living room couch turned into a family dinner at Fasta PastaFasta Pasta was the place that I had originally planned to get my takeaway from since I had a craving for pasta and it was just down the road for me.  I hadn’t actually been to Fasta Pasta in years but my ex (not the alcoholic/loser one) and I used to go there quite a bit and take advantage of their AU$9.90 lunch special (I think it’s gone up in price a little since then).  At the time we found it to be quite good but like I said that was years ago.  I have heard good things about Fasta Pasta over the last couple of years plus it’s always packed (but then again so is Sizzler).  I’m pretty sure the Cairns branch of Fasta Pasta received a locally voted award for the ‘best service’ by The Cairns Post at some point.  As you may have already guessed my family loves food, cooking and eating out just as much as I do (where do you think I got it from?) and they all jumped at the chance to go out no matter where it was – so we headed on down for a 7.30pm booking.

We arrived on time and took some seats at our table of 6 (5 of us plus my brothers girlfriend).  The waitress bought us over some menus and a couple of baskets of bread with butter.  As is the norm with me I had already had a good look over the menu on the net so I knew what I wanted.  The rest of the group needed a little bit of time and by the time we went up to order at the counter there was a line of about 10 people waiting although the restaurant was only about 1/3 full.  I guess it was a bit of a peak time for them – for ordering I mean.  Anyway we all ordered our meals (some of us separately) but on the same table number.  I ordered my meal last. The man taking the order whom I am assuming is the owner since he has been there ever since I can remember was super friendly and made some funny comment about my mum looking more like my sister than my mum. Mum’s love that kind of thing.

We sat down at the table and awaited our food happily lathering butter on our pieces of bread and eating them in the meantime. I had ordered a main sized Fettuccine Puttanesca which was fettuccine (der) with a tasty Mediterranean sauce of garlic, basil, capers, olives, anchovies, oregano, chilli and Napoli sauce for AU$13.40. Not exactly bank breaking prices here at Fasta Pasta that’s for sure. Much to my surprise my dish arrived first, before anyone else at the table, despite me ordering my meal dead last out of the 6 of us. I did the right thing and waited for everyone else’s dishes to arrive, because I have good manners (I like to think so anyway). The next meal didn’t arrive for another five minutes and it was a Margherita pizza that mum and dad had ordered to share between themselves. Another five minutes later my sisters Ravioli Milanese arrived and then over the next 10 – 15 minutes the rest of the meals arrived in a scattered mess. So much for bringing everything out in some sort of order or at least in a group so one person’s (namely mine) didn’t go cold whilst waiting for the others to arrive.

So anyway, eventually all of our meals arrived and we were able to eat our dinner, together (after I took photos of everyone’s meals of course). The main thing that attracted me to the Fettuccine Puttanesca was the fact that it was Fettuccine and the anchovies of course. I know you either love them or you hate them but I frigin love those little furry fish. Only just last week I found a huge bottle of anchovies in my mum and dad’s pantry (yes I have posted about eating anchovy’s out of the jar at their place before) and I got a little carried away trying to be sneaky and spilt half the contents of the jar including the oil through their cupboard. It took me a long time to clean up and was totally not worth the 2 or 3 furry fish that I got to eat. Serves me right for being sneaky I guess.  Although I ordered a main serving I managed to gobble down the lot and still be hungry. It was a reasonable sized serve but I thought it should have been a little bigger for a main size. Having said that I really enjoyed my dish – however a little Tabasco sauce on it for a bit more flavour didn’t go astray. The pasta still had a bit of bite to it and tasted like freshly made pasta.

Fettuccine Puttanesca with a tasty Mediterranean sauce of garlic, basil, capers, olives, anchovies, oregano, chilli and Napoli sauce for AU$13.40

Fettuccine Puttanesca with a tasty Mediterranean sauce of garlic, basil, capers, olives, anchovies, oregano, chilli and Napoli sauce for AU$13.40

Across from me my sister had ordered an entrée sized Ravioli Florentina which was meat filled pillows of pasta, tossed with bacon, baby spinach and white wine in a Napoli and cream based sauce for AU$12.40. She reckons that is the same dish that she gets every time she goes to Fasta Pasta (which isn’t very often) and always enjoys it. In contrast to my main sized dish, her entrée was quite large. So much so that even she couldn’t finish it. Never mind – there were plenty of people at the table that were willing to give her a hand, like my dad or as I like to call him ‘Garbage Guts’. He’s a human Labrador that’s for sure.


Ravioli Florentina – meat filled pillows of pasta, tossed with bacon, baby spinach and white wine in a Napoli and cream based sauce for AU$12.40

My brother on the other hand wasn’t quite as happy as my sister and I with his pasta meal. He had ordered the Spirali Calabrese in a main size which was described as spirals of pasta sautéed with pepperoni, olives, chilli, garlic, basil, oregano, mozzarella and Napoli sauce for AU$14.40. I tasted it and it was pretty flavourless with not a whole lot going on. He doused it in parmesan cheese and then only ate half of it. For my brother to not eat all of his dinner then that says a lot to me because as a growing boy (he’s not even 20 yet) he has a massive appetite. He pushed it aside and finished off the remains of his girlfriend’s Canneloni.


Spirali Calabrese – Spirals of pasta sautéed with pepperoni, olives, chilli, garlic, basil, oregano, mozzarella and Napoli sauce for AU$14.40

I’m not a big fan of Cannelloni. Not because of anything to do with Fasta Pasta but more so because of the cannelloni that my ex’s mother (JC) used to make when we came over for dinner on occasion.  Yes, I am talking about my ex again (the same one that I used to go to Fasta Pasta with).  I am still very good friends with his parents, particularly his mum JC.  You might remember that I wanted to take MS there for dinner but he thought it was a little weird to go to his girlfriend’s ex boyfriends parent’s place for dinner but he has since gotten over that as he has gotten to know them better. It’s only weird if you make it weird hey? So anyway JC used to make this cannelloni with heaps of onion and capsicum which just so happen to be two of my most hated foods at the time, only now to be overtaken by celery. Being the polite and well mannered individual that I am I always thanked her for dinner and told her how delicious it was. It was a vicious cycle because I was trying to do the right thing and show my gratitude for her cooking dinner while nearly gagging on this cannelloni and here JC is thinking ‘wow she must really love this cannelloni, I must cook it again next time’.  It took about three years until I finally came clean that I really didn’t like JC’s cannelloni and it turns out that JC thought that the Pumpkin Risotto that I had cooked for her and her husband one night was equally disgusting.  This was about seven years ago and I like to think that my risotto making skills have significantly improved.  There you go – an insight into the impact that cannelloni has had in my life and something that JC and I still joke about. She reckons she will give me the recipe one day so I can cook it myself.  Yay.

GH (my brothers girlfriend) thought her cannelloni was delicious, although she may have been being polite also.  From closer inspection by me it looked like there was no onion or capsicum lurking in her dinner. The Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni was fresh pasta tubes filled with ricotta and spinach, oven baked in a Napoli sauce and served with basil, garlic and cream sauce for AU$15.40 for a main. It was a large serve and she couldn’t finish it all, hence why I said my brother finished it off when he didn’t want to eat his.


Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni – Fresh pasta tubes filled with ricotta and spinach, oven baked in a Napoli sauce and served with basil, garlic and cream sauce for AU$15.40

Next up was my mum and dad’s pizza was a Margherita Pizza – large size with fresh tomato slices on a tomato and mozzarella base topped with shaved parmesan and baked in the oven for AU$13.90. Hmmm, well, it was probably the worst pizza I have ever had whilst dining out. Except for a Hawaiian Pizza that I had in Phuket. You don’t order Western food in Asia IMO. Always stick to the local cuisine whatever that may be. This pizza that mum and dad had ordered tasted like a McCain’s pizza and a crappy one at that. The base was thick and hard like cardboard, the cheese tasted like plastic and the other toppings were so flavourless that only half of the pizza actually got eaten and that was more out of curiosity by the people at the rest of the table than anything else.  It was truly horrible and how you could stuff a pizza up this bad was beyond me – even the human Labrador didn’t want it.  I suspect it had been pulled straight from a box in the freezer.


Margherita Pizza – large size with fresh tomato slices on a tomato and mozzarella base topped with shaved parmesan and baked in the oven for AU$13.90

Mum and dad also ordered a Puttanesca – the same as me – but mum changed the Fettuccine to normal pasta.  She thought that the pasta was undercooked and didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.  I wouldn’t exactly give them any points for presentation either.   It just looked like all the meals had been slopped into their respective dish with no care really taken, not even a sprinkling of parsley around the edge (that’s a joke).

Fettuccine Puttanesca

Fettuccine Puttanesca

So there you go – our family dinner at Fasta Pasta wasn’t exactly a memorable one, not that we really expected it to be.  I was hoping for a quick, tasty meal to cap off my week so I could go home and sit on the couch in my undies.  I know that Fasta Pasta is a family restaurant and it is busy because of the fact that you can feed your whole family for between AU$50 and AU$100 – not to mention the friendly service from guy taking your orders at the counter.  Another thing is that it’s also nice and loud in there so the kids can scream and do what they do and I doubt anyone would batt and eyelid.  But… that doesn’t excuse the way our meals were staggered to arrive at our table over about a 20 minute period. I must admit it put a sour taste in our mouth pretty much from the get go.  And that pizza!  WTF?!  The food at Fasta Pasta definitely represents good value for money however it’s not difficult to bring all the meals out at once so everyone can eat together! It might be good value but it certainly ain’t fast.

Fasta Pasta

68-72 Shields Street, Cairns QLD 4870

Ph: (07) 4041 0388

Opening Hours: 7 days 11.30am – 3pm, Sun – Thurs 5pm – 10pm, Sat & Sun 5pm – 11pm


Little Ricardo’s, Cairns


After our massive binge in Sydney the last thing that MS and I wanted to do was come home and continue on our downward spiral… NOT!  We started out with the best of intentions but at some point in time on our flight home we decided that we would re-start our healthy eating the next day and not that afternoon as originally planned.  (Disclaimer:  I’m not going to be one of those people that harp on about healthy eating and me being on a diet and other boring sh*t like that because when it comes down to it I normally eat what I want, within reason, but like I said I have a particular goal in mind – no it’s not just to lose weight – and all this is part of the story, ok?)

Then the conversation of just where we were going to eat that night began.  MS, true to form, wanted to go to Bel Paese since he had quite a penchant for large creamy bowls of pasta and cheesy garlic bread.  I was a little reluctant to go to Bel Paese, firstly because our last dining experience there wasn’t anything to write home about and because, well, I have already written about that place.  If I was only allowed one cheat meal a week then in theory it needed to be somewhere that we hadn’t already been so I could post about it on foodvixen later.  So, we decided on the pasta theme but couldn’t think of where to go.  I suggested Fasta Pasta, La Fettuccina and Villa Romana but neither of us were really excited by any of those suggestions.  Last time I went to Villa Romana, which was years ago, my dining buddy found a giant moth in her salad and last time MS and I went to Fasta Pasta we ordered two completely different dishes to find they both tasted exactly the same.  As for La Fettuccina, well, I am saving that one for a special occasion.  Then I remembered a little place that we had walked past on Sheridan Street about six months ago.  Hell, we drive past it nearly every day.  So off to Little Ricardo’s we went.

Little Ricardo’s is located on the strip of cheap motels directly across the road from Cairns High.  Everyone has driven past and seen it there, as have I.  It’s just inside, near the pool area of the Adobe Motel.  I don’t know how long it’s been there but at the very least it’s been there since 2008 because an outdated sign out the front claims that Little Ricardo’s was voted Best Pizza in 2008 by Cairns locals.  We went inside and found ourselves in a quaint little restaurant with dim lighting, a stocked wooden bar over to the left and the air conditioner turned up full bull.  We were greeted by a friendly waitress whose name was Julie Ann and since there was no one else in the restaurant at the time she let us choose our table.  With a bit of a shiver from the aircon MS and I chose one-off to the side out of the direct breeze.  Julie Ann asked if we would like her to turn the fan above us off to make us a little more comfortable to which we happily obliged.  She then brought us over a couple of menu’s and a jug of water with some glasses and left us for a few minutes returning to take our drinks order.  I was happy to stick to water but MS asked if he could have a glass of Coke to be brought out with dinner.  The menu had the usual Italian fare and although the pizza’s were voted the ‘Best in Town’ in 2008 we were both there for the pasta.


There was no dilly dallying in deciding what we wanted at Little Ricardo’s, even MS made up his mind quickly for once.  We chose the Garlic Bread (AU$5.90) as our entrée but asked if we could have cheese on it as well.  Julie Ann happily obliged and assured us it wouldn’t be a problem.  Then for his main meal MS chose a large Boscaola with Tasty Cheese, Mushroom and Parmesan for AU$23.90 with Fettucine.  He also added bacon, chicken and a hint of chilli to his dish (we’re not difficult customers I swear!), which Julie Ann said was also not a problem at all.  After tossing up between the Amatriciana and the Marinara pasta I ended up going with the Marinara which was described on the menu as Fresh Local Seafood Combination with the choice of Cream or Tomato Base for AU$25.90.  The Fresh Local Seafood Combination sold me pretty much straight away.  I also chose the fettuccine and opted for the tomato base as opposed to the heavy cream base.  Ok, ok I have a confession to make… I ordered a large serve too.  Don’t judge me.


While we were waiting for our meals to arrive a couple more tables filled up and then a couple more until there was about 5 more occupied tables in the restaurant.  I was pretty impressed considering that it was a Monday night.  Many restaurants in the city would struggle to get that amount of people in on a Monday.  Julie Ann brought over a big bowl of ‘stinky cheese’ as MS calls it whereas I just call it powdered Parmesan Cheese and some little plates and cutlery followed closely by our entrée of Cheesy Garlic Bread.  We got three pieces each and after fighting over who got the three biggest pieces we dug in.  The Garlic Bread was simple, yet tasty and with just the right amount of cheese melted over the top.  It was really yummy and not as yellow as it looks in the picture below.  We even managed to save a couple of pieces to mop up our pasta sauce with.  I have a massive weakness for Garlic Bread and if I were religious I would ask god “Why, oh why did you invent Garlic Bread?”  Just when I think I am going good and eating well.  BAM!  Someone brings out a loaf of Garlic Bread (or I order it) aaaaaaand I’m screwed.


Cheesy Garlic Bread for AU$5.90

Right before our meals arrived and without prompting Julie Ann brought MS over a glass of coke and placed it on the table in front of us.  Again I was impressed. I hadn’t had service this pleasing in Cairns for a long time (with the exception of Waterbar and Grill).  The owner of the restaurant Richard brought us out our main meals which were placed steaming hot in front of us.  He saw me whip my iPhone out to take a couple of pictures of the food and politely offered to take a picture of the two of us.  Errr, yeah sure!  Richard was lovely and friendly and we had a bit of a laugh with him about him covering half of the photo with his thumb.  Never mind, nothing a little photo cropping won’t fix and I have sh*t tins of photos of MS and I at dinner anyway.  The large serve really was a large serve.  Each of our bowls were overflowing with large mounds of pasta.  There was plenty of extra bacon and chicken mixed through MS’ Boscaola and he was beside himself as he twirled his first mouthful of fettuccine around his fork.  After a few mouthfuls the only sentence that escaped his mouth was ‘Oh god this is good’ as he twirled more fettuccine around his fork.  It was that good that he ate till he couldn’t fit another mouthful in, leaving only a couple of strands of pasta in the bottom of his bowl and announced that Little Ricardo’s was his new favourite restaurant.


Boscaola with Tasty Cheese, Mushroom, Parmesan and extra Bacon, Chicken and a hint of Chilli (AU$23.90)

Looking down at my pasta I could see two big fat juicy scallops with the bright orange roe on them (as it should be!) and my mouth began to salivate.  There was also prawns, fish and super tender pieces of squid mixed in as well.  My Marinara was absolutely to die for and I was glad that I had chosen that over the Amatriciana (even though I hadn’t had the Amatriciana yet).  The pasta was cooked ‘al dente’ and the bountiful bits of seafood throughout my dish were all full of flavour and cooked to perfection.  My mouth is seriously drooling thinking about this dish.  There was just the right amount of sauce, not too little, not too much and with a bit of ‘stinky cheese’ sprinkled over the top I too ate nearly the entire bowl and mopped up the remaining sauce with my ‘smaller’ pieces of Garlic Bread.  The only thing that I think it needed was a little hint of chilli but that was my own fault for not asking for it.  Where’s my bottle of Tabasco sauce when I need it?

Marinara with Fresh Local Seafood Combination and the choice of a Cream or Tomato base (I chose Tomato) for AU$25.90

Marinara with Fresh Local Seafood Combination and the choice of a Cream or Tomato base (I chose Tomato obviously) for AU$25.90

MS and I joked that we had just traveled to a foodie lovers paradise (AKA Sydney) and then flown back to Cairns and had the best meal and service of the entire weekend.  Even though the restaurant picked up with more arrivals after our own Julie Ann didn’t miss a beat and delivered fantastic, efficient and friendly service from the moment we arrived to the moment we left.  The atmosphere and dining setting isn’t fantastic  and to be honest it’s pretty dated but you know what?  I think it works.  On doing a little bit of online research it appears that Little Ricardo’s is ranked 5th in Cairns out of over 200 restaurants on Trip Advisor, which doesn’t mean a whole lot since I am still trying to figure out why an ice cream shop is number one, but it definitely pays homage to the wonderful things Richard and his team are doing down there at the Adobe Motel.  (No offence to the ice cream shop.)  The only problem with going to Little Ricardo’s for the first time is that now MS and I want to go there all the time and have already been back again (this time for more Cheesy Garlic Bread and to try the Amatriciana).  Little Ricardo’s where have you been all my life?


Little Ricardo’s

191 Sheridan Street, Cairns QLD 4870 (Adobe Motel)

Ph: (07) 4051 5266

Opening Hours: 6 days Mon – Sat 5pm till late