Primo, pasta, pizza… we can’t get enough of Perth’s best Italian restaurants.
Perth’s latest culinary enfant terrible, we can’t get enough of Testun’s irreverent attitude and big flavours. Combining Italian nostalgia with a new-wave Australasian approach, the neighbourhood osteria is quickly making its (neon green) mark. Bold, brash and bloody delicious.
12/760 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
There are certain openings that fly under the radar, and others that become the talk of not just the Perth Is OK! office, but the whole darn town. From the same team as the also excellent No Mafia (see below!) and Balthazar, Vin Populi has been one of 2023’s early standouts – and the pumping dining room is a testament to the good word travelling like wildfire. Nestled into Freo’s historic West End, pop by for afternoon antipasti, a late night negroni or luscious bowl of pasta.
11 High Street, Fremantle
La Madonna Nera
Offering a delightfully intimate dining experience, La Madonna Nera is pairing some truly delectable libations with a snack game that’s hard to beat. Nuovo-Italian vibes abound, both on the plate and in the glass – and if you hit them up between 4 and 6pm on Friday and Saturday arvos, and you’ll be able to get your hands on some seriously good bites for their aperitivo hour.
1/155 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn
It would be easy to over-complicate things, but put quite simply: Monsterella gets a lot of things just right. Those bases? Naturally risen for 48 hours, light as air, crispy, chewy, perfetto. That sauce? San Marzano tomatoes, ovviamente. A selection of pasta that will tempt even the most fanatic pizza fiend? Buon appetito!
46 Grantham Street, Wembley
Acqua e Sale
With a distinctly Sardinian influence, Acqua e Sale’s menu is both exciting and comforting: the familiar sight of salt and pepper calamari, paired with spicy squid ink aioli. House-made gnocchetti with saffron, sausage, and D.O.P pecorino, or culurgiones stuffed with potato, pecorino and mint… we haven’t even got started with the pizzas, or the desserts, with include traditional seadas – house made Sardinian fried pastry, topped with sheep’s ricotta, orange zest, honey and walnuts. Who needs a trip to Italy when you’ve got Acqua e Sale?
391 Fitzgerald Street, North Perth
Now run by the fourth generation of Pizzales, Capri is standing strong against the changing whims of fashions. Harking back to the hustle and bustle of 50s Freo, with an unpretentious, low-key menu, interior and service punctuated by old-school touches like complimentary soup and bread.
21 South Terrace, Fremantle
This list would hardly be complete without at least one wall-to-wall mural, right? Luckily, Ischia’s dining room features its island namesake, complete with azure water and volcanic cliffs. Their menu traverses both land and sea, with plenty of crowd-pleasers: grilled octopus served atop a tomato salad, homemade lasagne with slow-cooked ragu, scaloppine and cotoletta, and of course, wood fired pizzas. A stalwart of the Highgate dining scene for years, it’s been tried, tested and most importantly, beloved by all.
500 Beaufort Street, Highgate
Lulu La Delizia
Simple but luxurious. Comforting but refined. Lulu La Delizia strikes the perfect balance between the high-brow, cheffy approach that sets a restaurant apart, and the comfort factor that keeps everyone coming back. Their restrained, single page menu is accentuated with hard-to-pass up specials that showcase local and seasonal produce.
Forrest Walk, 5/97 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
Inglewood (OK, now technically Bedford) neighbourhood spot Cecchi’s has fast become a favourite amongst locals for their share-friendly Italian plates and charming vibes. While the small plates are worth a trip by themselves, the pasta can sure hold its own – from bucatini with Shark Bay cuttlefish to zaffron paccheri with porcini and duck sausage.
1000 Beaufort Street, Bedford
It could be said that No Mafia’s specialty is “Stuff That Goes Really Well With a Glass of Wine”. Which, for the record, is a category we’re well and truly on board for. With its initial, compact location it had all the drop-on-by, buzzy vibes and share plates of a small bar, but the move up the road to larger premises has allowed for an expanded menu that includes house-made pasta. And is more pasta ever a bad thing? We think not.
252 William Street, Northbridge
Nestled in between Leederville and Mount Hawthorn, Pappagallo has become one of our favourite go-tos over the years. Whether its their crispy-based pizzas or luscious pastas, we keep coming back. If you’re feeling extravagant, add on a burrata to your pizza… but whatever you do, leave room for a cannoli.
250 Oxford Street, Leederville
With a flair for showing off WA’s best produce, Post’s menu delicately balances between Old-World-Italian and Perth-right-now – while reflecting the restrained refinement of the State Buildings, of course. Stop by for mouth-watering after-work antipasti (buffalo mozzarella with grilled figs, or a rosy plate of beef carpaccio?), or delve into their pasta offerings – think rigatoni with guanciale, chilli and tomato, or casarecce with zucchini, lemon and basil.
State Builings, 1 Cathedral Avenue, Perth
Posto Matto may not be reinventing the wheel, but they sure make their wheel look tasty. Classic pasta (and pizza!) with a twist is their MO, so you can look forward to dishes like garganelli with octopus sugo, or maltagliati with confit duck, mushroom, kale and duck egg. Hopefully you’ve left enough room after the stuzzichini of lamb ribs, mussels and prosciutto, though…
211 Main Street, Osborne Park
All hotel dining is not created equal, and the proof is in the proverbial pudding when it comes to Santini. The menu manages to balance its accessibility with a focus and attention to detail that ensures any less-favourable hotel dining cliches are satisfyingly avoided, while its stylish fit-out transitions effortlessly from business-friendly long lunch to dimly-lit dinner service.
QT, 133 Murray Street, Perth
Shadow Wine Bar
As seductive and intriguing as an Italian film star, Shadow Wine Bar’s dimly-lit dining room is the perfect setting for your next date night. Share a plate of veal carpaccio, oysters with lemon myrtle or arancini with smoked leek aioli before diving into a plate of veal cotoletta with cabbage, leek and brown butter, or resisting the urge to Lady and the Tramp a bowl of prawn spaghettini. Is it us, or is it getting a bit warm in here?!
214 William Street, Northbridge
Highgate’s party paradise has had a coming of age in recent times, and with its reinvigorated menu, we reckon the dance floor has some pretty strong competition. Don’t worry, you can still get your mitts on those Neapolitan-style pizzas, but you’ll also find it hard to resist the next-level share plates. Showing more than a nod to our enviable coast, you can expect to find plenty of seafood, with dishes like monk fish “porchetta”, or tuna tartare cannoli.
446 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Is there any greater shrine to Perth’s favourite cocktail than the glowing, orange monument that is Spritz Spizzicheria? Their menu takes you from a long afternoon of cocktails and nibbles to more substantial pasta, pizza and mains – or take advantage of their aperativo time: two hours of drinking and snacking specials (Italy’s best recent export?). We’re starting to think Mount Hawthorn is punching above its weight in culinary options.
148 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn
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Header Image: Cecchi’s