With our love of espresso, pizza, pasta and vino, Australia could be Italy’s 21st region. Italian immigrants were among the first to broaden the Anglo-Celtic Aussie palate and we also have them to thank for one of the world’s best coffee cultures. Now more than ever, it’s easy to get delicious, authentic, great value Italian food in Sydney – all served up with that typical Italian charm and hospitality. Here are five of Sydney’s best casual Italian restaurants.
Enoteca Ponti, Potts Point
The team from neighbouring Bistro Rex has slid seamlessly into the old Monopole site to create the Italian local we all need. Filled with happy couples, solo-diners and groups of friends, this buzzing winebar/trattoria serves classics (sometimes with a little twist – the lasagne spring rolls may sound wrong, but taste so right!) and great wines by the glass. Ox tongue tonnato and a classic tartare are must-trys too.
Chiosco by Ormeggio, Mosman
You might come for the views at this casual sibling to one of Australia’s finest Italian restaurants, but you’ll stay for the superb food and great-value chef’s sharing feast! Antipasti, house-made pasta, grilled prawns with chilli oil, pecorino-and-paprika-sprinkled corn, and more – all finger licking good!
Fratelli Paradiso, Potts Point
The brothers Paradiso feed lucky Potts Point locals breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Staples like Calamari Sant’ Andrea and classic lasagne are legend, while the addition of zucchini takes rigatoni carbonara to a delicious new level. Plenty to keep lovers of Italian and natural wines happy too.
It’s all about the house-made and traditional at this simple Stanley Street osteria – cheese, salumi, pasta and bread are all made in-house. The menu changes daily, but I’m delighted when the lasagne of nettles, walnut and tallegio makes an appearance, and love their deep-fried zucchini flowers!
This subterranean cellar serves just one dish: bistecca Fiorentina, Tuscany’s famous t-bone steak. Chef cuts the requested weight off a huge slab of meat on a marble block in the open kitchen, grills it over hot coals and serves with a choice of sides, including a stunningly simple dish of white beans.
Updated 1 Sep 2022