2023 has been a wild year! As we count down the days ’til we switch on our out-of-office auto-replies, we’re reflecting on some of the eating and drinking that got us excited over the past 12 months – from old favourites and hidden gems to the latest venue openings, from seasoned operators to charming newbies. Feeling hungry? Ready for a drink? Here are just a few of our favourite new bars and restaurants for 2023!
Wine bar Bertie – helmed by British-born Basso local, veteran bartender James Connolly – has quickly won us over with their British-leaning gastropub fare. A Scotch egg that made our dreams come true, a refined take on steak and onions and a quick jaunt across the Atlantic for a contemporary Waldorf salad: we’re strongly considering a move into the neighbourhood.
77 Old Perth Road, Bassendean
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 and Balthazar, the very buzzy Vin Populi has been one of 2023’s early standouts and catapulted itself straight onto our best restaurants in Perth list. 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 or a late night negroni or luscious bowl of pasta.
11 High Street, Fremantle
Ode to Sirens
Situated within the front bar of the iconic P&O Building on Freo’s High Street, Ode to Sirens is the latest venture from Daniel Goodsell, one of the key figures behind some of Perth’s most beloved diners over the past 15-odd years. Take its cue from the ’70s in both decor and vibe, including an analog hi-fi setup that plays only records, reels to reels and tapes – paired with a Greek-centric grazing menu and an approachable drinks list that satisfies both old-school pub fiends, retro cocktail-lovers and natty wine aficionados.
25 High Street, Fremantle
Rojiura Curry Samurai
These comforting bowls of Hokkaido soup curry have become a salve to gloomy winter days working in the city – and we’re not alone in thinking so! Rojiura Curry Samurai are Perth’s first eatery specialising in the regional curry, and each bowl boasts a mammoth assortment of veggies that’ll keep you nourished through the winter, alongside flavourful karaage, chicken Maryland or succulent pork belly. Not to be missed? The add-ons, which truly take this to the next level: garlicky fried broccoli, deliciously cheesy potato mochi or rice topped with soft-boiled egg and charred cheese.
4A Shafto Lane, Perth
OK, not quite brand new…But considering the vast change from its fine dining past into its newest iteration, it may as well be! Following a brief closure and reset, Nextdoor has emerged with a renewed vigour. Rising culinary star Elliot Sawiras has taken the helm of the fire-powered kitchen as Head Chef, and has created a playful, snack-able, neighbourhood-friendly menu – from retro-classic burgers to hot honey-drizzled stuffed chicken wings inspired by a KFC x sui mai crossover. As playful as the snacks are, proteins are taken seriously here – the restaurant is a family business sprung from the neighbouring Olsen Butches. One bite of the 9+ Wagyu Denver practically had us weeping with joy.
79 Angelo Street, South Perth
Threecoins & Sons
And on the topic of relaunches:
While Threecoins is technically the elder sibling of Testun, its recent relaunch has given us a reinvigorated enthusiasm for the more traditional, ten-year-old trattoria – although more traditional can only be defined in relation to its irreverent sibling down the road. Comforting Italian classics are melded with that signature bold flavour and high voltage approach… Think pinsa topped with mortadella, pineapple salsa and pickled peppers, a linguine served with prawn bisque and lemon-spiked mascarpone or lamb chops with a pistachio and mint agrodolce.
12/776 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Beaconsfield Wine Bar
Beaco locals rejoiced with the opening of the aptly-named Beaconsfield Wine Bar. Bringing snacks and sips to a suburban shopping strip, owner Matt Sharples keeps it simple, pairing his wealth of wine knowledge and his extensive cellar with snacks courtesy of some of Perth’s most delicious producers.
Lefroy Square, corner of Lefroy Road and Gibson Street, Beaconsfield
The closure of Shenton Park’s long-standing, old-world Italian institution Galileo Buona Cucina marked the end of an era for lovers of classic Italian staples and Sicilian-style peasant food. What could possibly match up to the legacy left in its wake? The start of December saw us say “Buongiorno!” to Bacco, a contemporary take on Italian with a distinctively Australian lilt: think dry aged yellowfin crudo with Geraldton wax, risotto with sweet ama ebi prawns, topped with finger lime and delicate spoonfuls of Avruga caviar, or enticingly tender lamb rump with a coffee and wattle seed jus.
199 Onslow Road, Shenton Park
2023 was a bumper year for pizza-lovers in Perth, with a whole raft of excellent spots opening up. One of the most hyped was Lola’s – and given it’s from the same team as beloved sandwich mecca Peggy’s, we can understand why. With a similar approach to the one that made Peggy’s such a must-visit (namely a succinct, curated menu and devotion to high-quality ingredients), we’ve found ourselves daydreaming about those crispy-edged deep-dishes.
41 Market Street, Fremantle
Pizza-lovers may consider a move into Mount Hawthorn – the options for primo pies have expanded even more with the addition of no fuss, relaxed pizzeria Il Falco, headed up by hospo guru Jye Glaskin (Little Creatures, Quarter Acre, Ruinbar, Pretty Good Pizza). Expect to find Neapolitan crusts as light as air, and toppings that will please both minimalist traditionalists and mid-week family meals.
214 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn
Casa Pizza Wine
We weren’t lying when we said 2023 was a bumper year – and that Mount Hawthorn may be Perth’s burgeoning pizza paradise! This year saw much-loved neighbourhood wine bar and restaurant Casa expand next door with a takeaway pizza joint – aptly named Casa Pizza Wine. Combining top-tier technique, these fluffy-crusted pies take an unconventional approach to classic flavours – think marinara drizzled with kombu oil, roasted mushrooms topped with verdant persillade or an appropriately Casa-tinged take on a Hawaiian with a piquant habanero and pineapple salsa. (Make sure you get the side of Casa focaccia, doused in green garlic butter and parm!)
399 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn
Qin’s Lanzhou Beef Noodle
Qin’s Lanzhou Beef Noodle have opened their doors in Vic Park, bringing the north-central Chinese specialty to Perth. The noodle soup is known for its clear beef broth, with Qin’s expertly hand-pulling noodles to order – at your desired thickness and width – for each bowl! There’s good reason this new spot has been drawing big crowds.
873 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park
Edward & Ida’s
From the same brains as Freo’s Nieuw Ruin and well-loved CBD cocktail haunt Foxtrot Unicorn, their latest venture Edward & Ida’s is reviving the old-school corner pub for a new-wave audience. As owner Dimitri Rtshiladze describes: “Somewhere you can get a pint of Guinness, but also get some sick wine, and some sick food.”
That aforementioned “sick food” is thanks to culinary rising star Blaze Young, who is putting her signature stamp on pub classics – think curried scotch eggs, deliciously flakey sausage rolls, smoked fish pie or a beef and Guinness pie with a rather impressive bone marrow chimney.
269 William Street, Northbridge
Since opening back in 2019, Willing Coffee’s Mount Lawley outpost has become a favourite for locals to swing by for a coffee and a croissant. But as of this year, the evening hours sees the bustling café transform into a somewhat more sultry proposition – one with an expansive, Italian-leaning wine list and similarly Italian-leaning menu, whether you’re nibbling on cacio e pepe flatbread and salumi, or diving into a sumptuous bowl of pasta.
181 Central Avenue, Mount Lawley
Continuing the Greek legacy of George’s Meze, Yiamas is from the same crew as Community Coffee Co and Swanbourne wine bar Vinotto. Bringing old-world Greek and Levantine flavours to Subiaco – with a contemporary sensibility and rather aesthetic fit-out, to boot.
26 Denis Street, Subiaco
Up the leafy end of William Street, royalty has arrived! Baozi King opened on William Street in the second half of the year, in an itty-bitty butter-yellow shopfront. Swing past for fluffy bao filled with juicy pork, chive cakes, soy sauce with fried dough sticks and more Fujian street food specialities.
413 William Street, Perth
Leederville is going from strength to strength lately, and Lima Cantina is adding to the now practically countless dining options along Oxford Street. In typical fashion, Lima Cantina’s focus is on ceviche (including a vegan option, made with tofu) plus a selection of street food favourites: think empanadas, chicharron, skewers of beef anticucho, fried chicken or cassava chips – alongside plenty of Pisco Sours, no doubt.
130-132 Oxford Street, Leederville
Paris-meets-New York-meets Perth. A little but Euro, unmistakably West Australian: Subi Continental has arrived in its namesake suburb with a bang. Approachable, delicious, all-day, any day. Delve into a decadent bowl of pasta, but don’t underestimate the simple pleasure of a seasonal plate of crudité, or the enduring appeal of the tapas OG gildas.
Corner of Rokeby and Roberts Road, Subiaco
Cover image: Ode to Sirens