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Cairns’s La Pizza

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on March 23, 2010

During the afternoon on Friday, as we wandered through Cairns, we saw lots of restaurants with outdoor dining; many of them offered essentially early bird specials – 15% to 25% off if seated by 6:30.  My assumption is that by filling up their tables early with the special rates, it makes them look popular, enticing other diners to do the same.  We weren’t hungry in that timeframe, unfortunately, and meandered through the many restaurants.  When we got to La Pizza, the good pizza smells enticed us and after a quick review of the menu, we decided this was where we would have dinner.

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To continue our desire to sample Australian wines and beers, I ordered a glass of the Beresford Beacon Hill Chardonnay.  I’m not sure where this winery is, but I really enjoyed the Chardonnay.  It was fruity and slightly sweet.  The Husband ordered the James Squire Amber Ale.  The James Squire enticed us, after a recommendation from his brother’s friend Marcus.  This Amber Ale was excellent and the first beer we’ve enjoyed in Australia!

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For our meals, we decided to share a pizza and a pasta and to each get a salad.  The waiter suggested bringing out the pizza first and then the salads and pasta at the same time.  To start, we had the  Mare Fantasia pizza.  We could select from a small, medium or large (4, 6, or 8 slices) and chose the Medium.  The pizza was thin crust with tomato, mozzarella, mixed seafood and topped with New Zealand mussel and prawn.  We thought it was funny that there was literally a mussel and a prawn.  Additionally, when we asked the waiter later what was on the pizza (specifically we were wondering what the “mixed seafood” was but didn’t explicitly say that), he said “seafood.”  We laughed and asked him to clarify.  It appeared to have shrimp, mussels, octopus/squid, and possibly scallops.  This pizza was fabulous! We enjoyed every last bite 🙂

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The pasta we selected was the House Made Raviolli filled with lamb ragu and served with truffle  oil.  We enjoyed that the filling really was as described – a lamb ragu – chunks of lamb and not a puree filled with cheese.  This was quite flavorful.  In the center, there was also a rocket and tomato salad (rocket seems to be the lettuce of choice here).

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For our salads, we chose Caesar Salads.  We were particularly drawn to the poached egg and anchovy descriptions on the menu.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much anchovy flavor (and we didn’t see any anchovies in the dish) and like most of the poached eggs we’ve had, the yolk wasn’t runny.  The egg itself went nicely with the salad, but wasn’t quite what we were looking for.  If we were to go back, we wouldn’t have ordered the salads, especially for their price.

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Again, like many of the restaurants, we were unsure how to handle paying.  In general, we are finding that you definitely are supposed to just get up from your table and head to the cashier.  I don’t think it’s something we’ll get used to though – leaving your table without having paid at the table is just a bit unnerving.

But back to the restaurant itself, this meal was quite enjoyable and we recommend it to anyone in Cairns looking for some good pizza and pasta and good atmosphere. 🙂

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2 Responses to “Cairns’s La Pizza”

  1. Ken Griffin said

    The “no pay at the table” thing isn’t supposed to happen. Service standards in CAirns are just lousy. Notice you don’t even get one waiter/waitress but a “gang” approach? It’s absurd, but since the waitresses are getting like $20 hour here it’s apparently just part of the Aussie welfare system.

    • Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers said

      I think we could have paid at the table, but in general, no where in Australia (except for the incredibly nice restaurant in Sydney) did you pay at the table. What you considered to be a “gang” approach, we considered to be teamwork. We had constant attention and didn’t feel like we needed to wait for one specific waiter or waitress to walk by if we needed anything. I think that paying waiters and waitresses decent salaries and essentially including their tips in what the customer is charged for a meal is much better than leaving it to the fate of so many customers who will stiff a server. I think we got better service overall at the Australian restaurants than we do in many places in the U.S.

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