When Italians migrated to Australia in the late 19th century, we swiftly embraced their simple and fresh cuisine, from wood fired pizzas, to fettuccini al ragu, which was later appropriated into spaghetti bolognaise.
As deli’s began to pop up around the country, we embraced Italian coffee, good extra virgin olive oil for cooking (not just for medicine), along with lots of garlic. Today, it’s woven so deeply in our culture you almost forget it’s Italian. Take for example, the obligatory addition of an antipasto platter with afternoon drinks, or everyone’s go-to meal when you’re time poor, pesto pasta.
William St, Northbridge
This cool street facing bar on William Street nods to the wine bars in Italy’s south. No Mafia is equal parts a drinking hole as it is a reliable dinner spot. While it’s a laid back venue, they are serious about keeping it authentic. Designed to share, the menu is well-balanced with fresh options like fennel cured salmon and green beans to cut through heartier dishes like the slow braised lamb shoulder. From July 1st, No Mafia collaborate with neighbourhood friends to bring back Tres Amici, a popular food tour starting with antipasto and aperitivos at No Mafia, pasta at Francoforte Spaghetti Bar and gelato at Chi Cho.
St Georges Terrace, CBD
A term of endearment frequently used in Persian poetry, Lalla Roohk is also one of Perth City’s best loved and longest standing Italian restaurants. Combining flavours from the north and south of Italy, head chef Alexandra Hayne’s also shapes his menu with seasonal and coastal influences. With a few different dining options, there’s the romantic wine cellar, ideal for shared plates from their ‘piccolo’ section to pair with one of the wines on display. But if you’re after an up-levelled experience, their restaurant lounge is the spot for their Il Capo or ‘let us feed you’ menu, where they serve up six seasonal specials as a series of shared plates. Make sure not to leave without trying one of their handmade pastas, particularly their squid ink spaghetti with Shark Bay crab.