I love it everyday, spa-ghetti bolo-gnese! We certainly haven’t moved past Peter Combe levels of enthusiasm for pasta, so here’s our favourite restaurants in Perth to get the stuff.
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
Lulu La Delizia
How long does it take to become an institution? Although it only opened in 2016, Lulu La Delizia has quickly become synonymous with quality Italian fare – and we’re not alone in noticing. Adeptly toeing the line between a high-brow, cheffy approach and simple northern Italian classics, this refined and restrained menu is hard to look past. We’d tell you to get the chef’s special, but then again, everything else is so good, too.
Shop 5/97 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
How good does the pasta have to be for you to get it at a pizza place? Really good, it turns out. Especially when the pizza’s as top-notch as it is at Monsterella. It took months of FOMO, (and plenty of sneaky tastes from our friend’s plates) before we could tear ourselves away from our favourite pizzas (Milliano and Bufalina, if you must know) and acknowledge that yes, actually, it’s worth coming here just for the carbonara. Head down a few doors to sister venue Mummucc (favourite haunt of Perth’s off-duty chefs) if you’re feeling a bit fancy.
46 Grantham Street, Wembley
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? When it comes to that beloved duck ragù, we think not.
252 William Street, Northbridge
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 above!) 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 tremendously luscious bowl of pasta.
11 High Street, Fremantle
Shadow Wine Bar
The intimate lighting, the vaulted ceiling, the drapery that seems to almost, maybe, allude to bed linen… the dining room at Shadow is one of Perth’s – dare we say it – sexiest restaurants. The menu manages to keep pace with the enticing interior, from pillowy gnocchi, Shark Bay crab spaghettini, pork and fennel cavatelli, or the picturesque prawn tortelli with vermouth and fennel. It’s enough to get you a little hot under the collar.
214 William Street, Northbridge
What better place to share a plate of pasta, Lady and the Tramp style, than down a Northbridge laneway? Francoforte has been capturing hearts with their super-simple pasta, and their continued expansion into neighbouring shops is a testament to how beloved they are. Carbonara, roo bolognese, kale pesto, polpetti… It’s hard to point out a shining star with a menu this tight.
4/189 William Street, Northbridge
Inglewood (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
Speaking of old world – you didn’t think we’d overlook Capri, did you? Stepping into this family-run restaurant feels like stepping back in time, to bustling 50s Fremantle and all of its Italian glory. Prices are, suitably in line with this old-school approach: incredibly reasonable, if not unbelievably low at times. Now with four generations of Pizzales involved in the restaurant, Capri is as good as ever. In fact, its determination to stand strong against any changing whims of fashions might be its greatest strength.
21 South Terrace, Fremantle
If you ever need to convince someone why Perth is great (or uh, OK!), just take them to il Lido. Beachside relaxation (and views), with an uncompromising approach to quality has made it a stalwart for Perth foodies – even though its touristy location means it could get away with being a lot worse. Each pasta dish is a loving ode to its produce, whether it’s spaghetti with nduja, white anchovy, mascarpone and lemons, crowd-pleasing blue swimmer crab linguine, or cavatelli with broccoli and sausage.
88 Marine Parade, Cottesloe
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
While family-owned La Sosta is in the middle of the Freo action on bustling Market Street, ascending the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it staircase entrance (and the chatter of Italian) will make you feel like you’ve been transported across the globe. Their homemade pasta selection unites Italian classics with WA produce: think cavatelli with local seafood in a white wine sauce, lasagnole with prawns and pesto or sumptuous spaghetti alla chitarra with sea urchin.
1/85 Market Street, 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: spaghetti marinara, linguine alle vongole, pappardelle and lasagne ragù, linguine puttanesca. A stalwart of the Highgate dining scene for years, it’s been tried, tested and most importantly, beloved by all.
500 Beaufort Street, Highgate
Tommasino’s is one of the eateries making Beaux Lane the bustling hub in the heart of Mount Lawley. The Italian restaurant specialises in both the Roman specialty of pinsa (a more easily digested pizza) and strangozzi, an Umbrian pasta modelled after traditional Roman sandal laces. But what you’ll probably know them for is their dramatically decadent cacio e pepe – served tableside in a giant wheel of cheese!
Beaux Lane, 609 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley
Cover image: No Mafia