In Short: At Machiavelli, come for the atmosphere and people-watching, but stay for the impeccable service and equally impeccable, quality Italian food.
I can still recall, with the sweet taste of pasta sauce on my lips, my first visit to a real Italian restaurant. It was in Rome, metres from the infamous Spanish Steps. I was in my early 20’s on my first European adventure; I’d waited for so long to get to Italy, the home country of my family and heritage, and finally I was here…making my way down a staircase and into the alcove of the restaurant. The place had a tangible, palpable atmosphere. The waiters in their sharp attire; black ties, white shirts, black vests and long black aprons, were practically gliding from table to kitchen with a quiet busyness. The familiar smells of tomato, garlic, wine, and bread filled the air, and in the corner a man with a fisarmonica played familiar old Italian tunes. I felt like I was in one of those old Italian movies I’d watched as a little girl with my dad, and I was loving every minute of it!
As I made my way down a similar looking set of stairs, off Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD and into the entryway of the institution that is Machiavelli, I felt like I had instantly stepped back to that night in Rome. We were greeted by sharply dressed waiters, I could even hear some of them chatting in Italian, and we were whisked to a table under the arches and into the centre of the room. It was just before the Friday lunch-time corporate crowd were ready to hit the surrounding tables and we could instantly see why this has been such a main-stay for the ‘suits’ that have graced these tables for decades. And while most people head here to people watch and rub shoulders with the ‘important’ people, we were definitely here for the food.