Perth’s best Italian restaurants: where to carb up on these cold winter nights

Perth’s best Italian restaurants: where to carb up on these cold winter nights

WINTER is here, and with it the urge for some comfort food.

And is there any better comfort than Italian food? Garlic, pasta, pizza, beautiful red wine – Italian food is big on the carbs and massive on the flavour.

Italian migrants flooded into Perth throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and more recently there has been another wave as economic conditions in Europe deteriorated.

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The legacy of these new Australians can be seen (and tasted) in the plethora of wonderful Italian restaurants our city hosts.

These are our takes on the very best Perth has to offer in Italian cuisine.

21. Al Dente Pasta, 2/367 Canning Highway, Palmyra – 9319 2886

Warm staff, great food – Al Dente Pasta does everything a good Italian restaurant should. Our pick? The fettuccine meatballs are hard to beat.

20. Piazza Del Sol/Lucafe, 132 Stoneham Street, Tuart Hill – 9440 1645

Opened in 1987 by owner and chef Lou D’Annunzio, and tucked away in the heart of suburban Tuart Hill, Piazza Del Sol/Lucafe is so good they named it twice. It serves some of the most incredible Italian food the city has to offer. The restaurant’s legion of devotees come from far and wide – and you’ll soon see why.

19. Lago Di Como, 6 Preston Street, Como – 9367 2022

How could a suburb named (reportedly) for the city in northern Italy not make this list? Lago Di Como is a sensation – with a big range of pizzas and pasta. We think the gamberi pizza is superb, and the ravioli – with slow-cooked lamb filling – won’t disappoint.

18. Romany, 105 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge – 9328 8042

Trading for more than 60 years, Romany continues to be one of Perth’s premier Italian food experiences. With a menu full of traditional favourites, we recommend the Saltimbocca alla Romany for a superb meal.

17. Sopranos, 130 Mill Point Road, South Perth – 9367 1231

Starting life as Sopranos in 2001, around the same time as the fictional New Jersey crime family of the same name was rising to power on HBO, this restaurant is a sure-fire winner. Located opposite Perth Zoo on Mill Point Road, every dish is delicious, but the cotoletta – veal crumbed, pan fried and served with salad and lemon – is our favourite.

16. Posto Matto, 2/211 Main Street, Osborne Park – 9344 4748

The name translates to ‘crazy place’ – but Posto Matto mean it in the best possible way. A relatively new addition to Main Street’s growing restaurant scene, Posto Matto features a small but first-class range of mains to complement their broad array of pizzas and pastas. For a treat, try the local octopus – with confit kipfler potatoes, radicchio and capsicum puree.

15. Lalla Rookh, 77 St George’s Terrace, Perth – 9325 7077

Situated underground in the heart of the city, Lalla Rookh – named after a goldmine near Marble Bar, which was named after a Kalgoorlie showgirl, who was named after an 18th-century romance novel – is the perfect place for unobtrusive liaisons. And the food? Absolutely divine.

14. Ciao Italia, 273 Mill Point Road, South Perth – 9368 5500

A South Perth fixture since 1999 when it was opened by chef Spartaco Rotella, Ciao Italia began life as a small Italian takeaway. In 2009 it took over the shop next door, and now seats 90 patrons. Want a recommendation? Try the buongustaia – fresh mushrooms, onions, Italian sausage and peas tossed in a tomato cream-based sauce.

13. La Sosta, 85 Market Street, Fremantle – 9335 9193

Take a welcome break at La Sosta, where you’ll be blown away by both the food and the hospitality. For a taste sensation, it’s hard to go past the lasagnole gamberi e pistachio, with WA prawns and pistachio pesto.

12. iLPasto, 4/885 Beaufort Street, Inglewood – 9271 7870

Tucked just behind Inglewood post office, iLPasto is a wonderfully intimate dining experience. And with a beautifully varied $15 pasta night menu, it won’t break the bank either.

11. Three Coins Italian Trattoria, 2/776 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley – 9271 6033

Just a little further south down Beaufort Street lies Three Coins, and it’s a joy. All the boxes are checked – we recommend the polenta-crusted squid as an entree, and whatever you do make sure you leave some room for the Nutella calzone afterwards.

10. Casa del Amici, cnr Warton and Amherst Roads, Canning Vale – 9256 2387

Since taking over ownership of Casa del Amici in May last year, Chris and Rosa Catalano have put their own distinct stamp on the restaurant. Chef Chris’s menu is extensive and of the utmost quality, while Rosa’s warm and professional hospitality hits all the right notes.

9. Christina’s, 891 Albany Highway, St James – 9361 9877

Established in 1994 by Christine Harding, Christina’s has carved a formidable reputation in the southern suburbs and scooped multiple awards. The entrees and mains are delectable, but be sure to save space for some of Christina’s own rocky road ice cream – it may not be Italian, but boy is it good.

8. Capri, 21 South Terrace, Fremantle –  9335 1399

Not many restaurants are steeped in as much history as Capri. Run by four generations of the Pizzale family, Capri began life in the 1950s cooking steak and eggs for working men before evolving into the den of Italian delights it is today. The prices are very reasonable, and the atmosphere is warm.

7. Cafe Sannio, 386 Wanneroo Road, Westminster – 9349 0144 

Home-style Italian with giant portions and a family atmosphere. We can’t go past the Cesarina pizza, topped with prosciutto, rock and shaved parmesan, which we believe is named after the matriarch. They also do a simple and classic spaghetti puttanesca which you rarely see on Italian menus in Perth.

6. Ruocco’s, 217 South Terrace, South Fremantle – 9335 6939

A fixture since 1978, Ruocco’s – established by Matteo Ruocco – has carved a considerable legacy based on its beautiful food and warm service. Ruocco’s, legend has it, had the first ever wood-fired pizza oven in WA, and it is still used to great effect, churning out delicious pizzas like the quattro stagioni – cacciatore sausage, roast capsicum, marinated prawns, mushrooms and mozzarella – night after night.

5. Nunzio’s, 20 Essex Street, Fremantle – 6219 5441

Just a hop and a skip away from the cappuccino strip, Nunzio’s is the brainchild of Nunzio Gumina – regarded as the father of alfresco dining in Fremantle – and has inspired plenty of acolytes who come from all over to taste its delightful food. For our money, it’s hard to go past the chicken involtino – wrapped in pancetta, with almonds and snow pea sauce.

4. Lulu La Delizia, 5/97 Rokeby Road, Subiaco – 9381 2466

Paying homage to the culinary traditions of Luigia Valvasori, Lulu La Delizia aims to make the pasta – rather than the sauce – the art form. One taste of their tagliatelle, gnocchi or bigoli and you’ll know they’ve got it just right.

3. Galileo Buona Cucina, 199-203 Onslow Road, Shenton Park –  9382 3343

Galileo was opened in 2004 and has earned itself a formidable reputation in foodie circles. Head chef Vincenzo Soresi’s food is first rate and the surrounds are simply beautiful – it’s actually like being transported back to the old country for an evening.

2. Modo Mio, Crown Perth, Burswood – 1800 940 448 

The Italian offering at Crown Perth really is a joy to behold. Modo Mio’s chef, Perth-born Alasdair Thompson, was mentored by Andrea Tranchero and Alain Fabregues. His menu is one of those rare delights where every single item sounds appealing. We can’t wait to go back.

1. Maurizio, 235 Fitzgerald Street, Perth – 9228 1646

Choosing a winner in this field was harder than backing the winner in the Melbourne Cup. But when all was said and done, we couldn’t go past the sheer deliciousness and vibe of Maurizio’s. “We try to educate people in the real culture of Italian food,” owner Maurizio Di Ciano once said, and he has succeeded in doing what only the best restaurants can – deliver a dining experience, rather than just a meal. The clientele is a who’s who of influential locals, and as soon as you walk in the door you’ll know you’re in the presence of people who will go the extra mile to give you an unforgettable evening. Maurizio – take a bow.