We live in the Italian Forum in Leichhardt so we get a bit unexcited about Italian food and local eateries however it was the boy's birthday and we needed somewhere family friendly as he has a 6 year old niece and 2 one year old nephews.
We settled on Caesar's as we've liked them in the past. Being a resident of the Forum you have a few added requirements when eating out in the area - are they respectful, do they have an irritating hawker at the door, is the restaurant full of the kind of drunken idiots that keep you up at 2am. Caesar's is one of the only restaurants that reliably remembers we are residents and doesn't screech at us about coming in for dinner every time we want to go to the post office. We went in early to ask about the family aspect and the manager was extremely helpful. He reserved us a table outside with enough space around it for prams and organised two high chairs for us.
Stupidly I was too taken up with family moments to remember to take pictures of the entrees but I will add that the mozarella they use on their caprese is excellent as is their bruschetta, classical based breads/pizzas and I've yet to work out their brand of olive oil but it's wonderful (for reference I use Carbonell Extra Virgin because... well old habits earnt from my parents).
I had intended to go and get the prices for the restaurant as we'd lost the bill, but it's been a while and I haven't posted enough recently so instead you get it without the prices. Pizzas are all $15-20 and pastas are much the same from my recollection. Fairly reasonable but not a cheap cheap bargain.
This was my dish and excellent, a not heavy sauce mostly oil and chilli pan fried with the sun dried tomatoes and italian sausage. For some reason they added ham in that I could have done without but the rest was filling but not overly so and an excellent autumn lunch dish.
Wiener Schnitzel, Chips and Salad
Good large schnitzel and plenty of chips and salad, it's hard to convince yourself to order restaurant schnitzel with the price of decent pub meals in Sydney but this was a real winner and came with plenty of lemon and enough chips for the kids to steal.
Risotto al funghi
It gets the thumbs up for approval! This was thick and beautiful with wild mushrooms, not my cup of tea but the owner of the dish was fighting off others so I gather it was good.
Gnocchi Napoletana (with added chilli)
The gnocchi are all hand made and shaved or crumbled parmesan is available at request; they were also more than happy to alter the meal on request with this added touch of chili.
This is the real star of this restaurant and I suspect the main reason the boyfriend wanted to come here. It's really best as a meal to share though with another main as the chick creamy cheese sauce is very heavy on the stomach but the kind of luxury really worth going for in cooler weather.
Caesar's Cucina Italiana
The Italian Forum
Shop 30 (At the bottom of the stairs to the Piazza)
23 Norton St
Leichhardt 2040 NSW
Phone: (02) 9569 0444
Booking not necessary but does get busy on weekends so consider reserving