Here’s a contemporary eatery in the capital of the far north east, the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Mitteleuropean Trieste lies on that narrow strip of Italy that stretches around the top of the Adriatic, hogging coastline that looks like it ought to be in Slovenia. Right on its Canal Grande, the impressive stretch of water that brings the sea right into the stately heart of town, is ZEROQUARANTA aka 040 Social Food, for something less traditional. A tad oddly named, 040 – pronounced Zeroquaranta – is maybe social in a convivial sort of way. It’s a bar and hamburger joint with an upscale metropolitan feel, design interiors of the industrial ilk and plenty of atmosphere. Not a fast food place, mind: indeed you might wait a while for your gourmet burger fashioned from the freshest, select ingredients when – as often happens – 040 is abuzz with a young crowd and live music or an ace DJ.
Not only burgers either. The menu is bursting with them in creative variants galore and brimming with trimmings, but also tempts you with other uncommon morsels in or out of a bun, big healthy salads or soups according to the season, hand-cut fries and onion rings among the sides, and always gluten-free options. The blackboard announces daily or weekly specials. Craft beers, wines, cocktails… take your pick from a proper bar – good for whatever drinks at whatever time of day and whether or not you’re eating. 040 opens at 8.00 am and does big breakfasts, great aperitifs, and Sunday brunches too. Outdoor tables overlook the canal; the indoor space – wood metal, brick, stone – complete with open kitchen sets the tone.