From bringing pasta out west to laying the foundations for Perth’s very own sandwich (if you’ve never had a continental roll, get on that), Italian migrants have been pivotal to helping West Australians eat and drink better. Here are 10 of the city’s best Italian dining spots in which to celebrate la bella vita.
Lulu La Delizia
The bustling, cosy room. Cheery staff. The smartly chosen wine list. All are reasons Lulu La Delizia is Perth’s reigning champion for cucina Italiano. Most important, however, is chef-owner Joel Valvasori’s knack for reinterpreting north-eastern Italian dishes as deft, modern wonders, primarily of the pasta variety. Be adventurous with clams in a sweet, spiced tomato sugo or embrace comfort via the cult-like pork and veal ragu with tagliatelle.
5/97 Rokeby Road (Forrest Walk), Subiaco; (08) 9381 2466
Superb pizza ensures this family-owned suburban corner store is perpetually busy after dark, but Monsterella’s charms go beyond gently pliable, wood-fired pies. Co-owner Tania Nicolo’s mother Maria hand-makes the pasta daily (saucy spaghetti and meatballs, say), while family gardens and gardeners supply the vegetables that go in the seasonal salads.
46 Grantham Street, Wembley; (08) 9287 2949
Il Lido Italian Canteen
This breezy, fresh-faced seaside cantina has long challenged restaurant-with-a-view clichés but under the current management team (owners Lyndon Waples and Dan Wegener; chef Roberto Zampogna), Il Lido is entering the next chapter of its life story. Buttery clams and prosciutto are mandatory orders – as is an extra serve of bread to mop up the sauce – housemade pasta is reliable-as and the mammoth cellar has never looked better.
88 Marine Parade, Cottesloe; (08) 9286 1111
The Re Store
Part cafe, part Mediterranean-lifestyle-goods store, The Re Store has been a pivotal part of the city’s Italian community for generations. It’s also the place to go for a continental roll, Perth’s own Italian cold-cut sandwich and as capable as any muffuletta, bomber or hero of placating lunchtime hunger pangs. A daily changing hot-food menu of soups and home-style pasta is also available.
72 Lake Street, Northbridge; (08) 9328 1877
Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House
An address in Perth’s white-collar heartland ensures evenings at Lalla Rookh are always lively. Chef Alexandra Haynes helps keep the party going by serving guests robust, full-flavoured Italian cooking, from hearty pot-roasted chicken and skewers of grilled ox tongue in the dining room to crisp pizza in the roaring public bar.
77 St Georges Terrace, Perth; (08) 9325 7077
Galileo Buona Cucina
Do not, under any circumstances, miss the “polpetine jotta”. Chef Vincenzo Soresi’s veal meatballs in a white wine sauce went – quote-unquote – viral in local food circles long before the advent of the hashtag. Rock-solid consistency is the name of Galileo’s game and wood-roasted meats and deeply flavoured pastas keep this beloved dining room full.
199 Onslow Road, Shenton Park; (08) 9382 3343
Francoforte Spaghetti Bar
The name of this poky pasta bar – which is Italian for Frankfurt – is a good indication of Francoforte’s sense of mischief. Located down a Northbridge laneway, the wooden décor and furnishings fall on the sparse side of tidy, bookings aren’t taken and guests need to BYO wine, but fun sauces like kale pesto, kangaroo Bolognese and eggplant sugo keep the place buzzing.
4/189 William Street, Northbridge; (08) 9227 9289
Unlike the ubiquitous, malleable Naples-style pizza, Roman-style pizzas are notable for their crisp, thick, cracker-style bases. Head to this sprawling Leederville corner restaurant for an introduction to this regional pizza style along with homely pastas and a well-priced cellar big on Italian bottles.
250 Oxford Street, Leederville; (08) 9444 0889
While newcomers clamber aboard the shared-tables, no-bookings and high-volume bandwagon, Giuseppe and Rosalba Pagliaricci are keeping old-school glamour and elegance alive at their long-lived West Perth restaurant. As the ornate dining room suggests, tradition is the name of the game, from time-honoured, predominantly Umbrian-inspired pastas to the pleasures of the dessert trolley.
77 Outram Street, West Perth; (08) 9321 5420
Once a deep-dive into fine dining, Print Hall’s ground floor dining has been reborn as Gazette, a clubby yet casual osteria of marble, bentwood chairs and wraparound leather banquettes. Chef Giles Bailey’s approach to Italian cooking is broad in focus yet polished in execution, from puffy, featherweight pizze to punchy small plates (white anchovy toasts!) and Josper-grilled meats.
125 St Georges Terrace, Perth; (08) 6282 0088
SEE ALSO: Take a Bite of Perth’s Best Pizza