With overseas trips and exciting foreign lands becoming a vague, distant memory, we could all use a bit of escapism – and a visit to an authentic, European-style restaurant may be the answer. Sip an Aperol Spritz at a cute Italian bistro and pretend you’re sitting in a sun-filled square in Verona, or hunker down for a night of hearty pies and frothy pints just like they do at cosy pubs in Britain.
Relaxed Italian Escapes:
Francoforte Spaghetti Bar
Hidden away down Williams Lane in Northbridge, Francoforte specialises in one thing, and does it well – spaghetti. Dimly lit, and decorated with stacks of Annalisa canned tomatoes, it’s a modern, up-beat venue that maintains an authentic Italian feel. You can indulge in large, perfectly-presented bowls of squid in vino or eggplant sugo spaghetti, and pair this with little jugs of red wine – just like the ones served at hole-in-the-wall spots in Italy.
4/189 William St, Northbridge
Named after the island of Ischia in the Gulf Of Naples, you can’t find better traditional Italian cuisine than this restaurant in Highgate. It’s a welcoming spot, with those iconic red and white checked tablecloths, sunny outdoor seating, and vibrant, wall-sized pictures of seaside Italian landscapes. They’re famous for gourmet wood-fired pizzas, but have other specialties from the Ischia region as well, like paccheri with swordfish, and risotto with king prawns – they also do a killer Aperol Spritz!
500 Beaufort St, Highgate
British Pub Experiences:
Mayfair Lane Pub & Dining Room
Mayfair Lane is an English-inspired gastropub, serving up hearty classics with a high-end twist, in a venue with traditional decor like bentwood chairs and sleek booths. It’s like someone uprooted one of the classy restaurants from the pub’s namesake in London and transported it to West Perth! Dig into timeless favourites like pork cutlet with duck fat roasted potatoes, or the chef’s pie of the day with garlic mash and onion gravy, and top it off with a sticky toffee pudding. Make sure you try something from the wine list as well – it’s curated by an expert WA sommelier!
72 Outram St, West Perth
Last Drop Elizabethan
This spot in the Perth hills is the classic British country tavern, designed in the old Tudor style with exposed timber frames and a steeply pitched roof. The interior is cosy and casual, with a fireplace to huddle up to on winter evenings, and roof beams decorated with colourful coasters from years gone by. It’s a friendly place, with tasty, generously portioned pub grub and a large outdoor area amusingly called the ‘village green’. Like any good English pub, they’re proud of their specialty beers, which are brewed on-site, and perfect for pairing with sausages and mash, or their deconstructed beef wellington.
25 Canns Rd, Bedfordale
Fancy French Evening:
It’s an intimate French bistro, full of timber and dark leather decor, with an old-world feel that’s straight out of the back-streets of Paris. Le Rebelle describe themselves as a ‘neighbourhood haunt’, this little restaurant and wine bar is exactly as advertised, a spot to escape the everyday and get a taste of the luxuries of French living. Settle in for a night of fun, unique wines, and delicacies like steak tartare and escargot – or if you’re a bit less adventurous, their cured kingfish or ricotta gnocchetti are tasty options too.
676 Beaufort St, Mt Lawley
P’tite Ardoise Bistro
This lovely restaurant is the place to go for the full traditional experience, it’s like you’ve been welcomed into a family home in the French countryside. The striped red awning outside is your first clue that you’ve left Perth behind, as you enter into a romantic space complete with white tablecloths and reprints of classic Monet’s on the wall. Feel nice and fancy with a variety of fine wines shipped over from France, along with plates of boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, and cheese soufflé.
283 Beaufort St, Perth
Perhaps a little less celebrated than some of the more well-publicised options above, quite often it’s the ones you don’t always hear about that you gotta seek out. And Leo’s Pizza in Maylands is one of those – serving up delicious, wholesome, homestyle Italian meals that might even make nona blush. Big family-friendly vibes, the servings are huge, pizzas are cooked to perfection… There’s a reason Leo’s has been holding it down in Maylands for so long – so do yourself a favour next time you’re craving some hearty Italian fare.
89 Eighth Ave, Maylands
Header image: Ischia Restaurant