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Get Amongst It At Gelbison

By Vicki Heath on July 10, 2012 in Food

Photo: Grant Brooks

The atmosphere at Gelbison Pizzeria Ristorante Italiano is certainly born of the man who has been running it for 26 years, Nicola. He is a cheeky, energetic, infectious Italian and the business is family through and through, with two of his four sons, Leon and Luca, working behind the counter. Nicola jokes that they both have pizza-making degrees. Additional staff call the coveted restaurant home and the twinkle in everyone’s eye suggests this is a place where fun is to be had!

Gelbison gets its name from a mountain in Italy, near the Amalfi Coast, where Nicola learnt his cooking craft from his family. Thankfully he brought those skills to Australia.

Sitting at the south end of Bondi Beach, just off Campbell Parade on Lamrock Avenue, this unpretentious eatery boasts ocean views but manages to have one foot in the action and the other foot out. The plastic awning encasing its outdoor street space plays its part in cooler times, with outdoor heaters adding to the cosy winter feel. Did somebody say BYO vino rosso?

Open seven days for dinner and packed out every night of the week, you can reserve a table if you’re on a schedule, however, half the fun is the waiting and milling about around the entrance.

Diners at Gelbison are a mix of kids in Crocs, glamourous girls, trackie wearing couples, old faithfuls drinking cans of coke, hipsters looking hip, and fit young men fuelling their appetite for pizza and BYO beer.

The menu is big, as are the servings, with mussels among the star dishes. The bresaola salad is an abundance of rocket, grana padano (cheese, cheese and more cheese!) and salty cured beef and it comes recommended. The pizza options leave no crust unturned, and include the popular Calabrese – a mix of capers, salami, kalamata olives and huge fresh basil leaves – and the pasta choices are as diverse as they are delicious. The Fusili Divelia with crab meat is to die for, with a touch of cream and crisp, peppery rocket on top.

The homemade desserts are a must if you enjoy heading down sweet street. The sticky date pudding is a combination of spongy, chewy, sticky, crunchy goodness with butterscotch sauce, cream and ice cream – need I go on? Battling for post-secondi selection is tiramisu, baked ricotta cheesecake and panna cotta.

As closing time nears, Nicola receives constant handshakes and backslaps from his customers, and good moods might as well be on the menu. Get amongst it at Gelbison – it’s blood type is that of old school Bondi, it has the pulse of a true dining institution, and its heartbeat is its authentic Italian cuisine.

Gelbison Pizzaeria Ristorante Italiano
Address: 10 Lamrock Avenue, Bondi
Phone: (02) 9130 4042
Seats: 65 (20 outside)
Price: $5-$28
Open: 7 days for dinner, 5pm–10.30pm
Cards: Cash only
Licensed/BYO: BYO only