Pair the words spaghetti and western together and the result is a popular '60s film genre featuring salons, spurs, and shoot outs. It certainly doesn't invoke images of delicious cuisine (unless you have a hankering for sawdust-laced lasagne). However, in Australia's own beloved Wild West frontier town, Perth, these two words translate to a pasta-lovers paradise of Italian delights packed with fantastic locally sourced flavours. No spittoons in sight. The hunt for the best 5 Italians in town ends here:
1. Il Lido Italian Canteen, illido.com.au
A handsome Italian by beautiful Cottesloe Beach - does life get any better than this? Il Lido's light-filled open kitchen and long communal tables lend this Italian canteen an easy-breezy, relaxed beach vibe. But don't be fooled by the informal feel, Il Lido takes coffee and cucina seriously. This continental eatery roasts up a bespoke blend of coffee, Mano A Mano, and serves 'Cucina povera' (Italian peasant food) ranging from handcrafted pastries, to curated antipasti, to homespun pasta. Open from 8am until late, Il Lido covers all crowds, from the beachcombing breakfaster to the sunset drinks and dinner set.
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2. Lalla Rookh, lallarookh.com.au
This chic inner city Italian eating house is so good city types jostle for seats with suburbanites in town specifically to chow down on chef Joel Valvasori's inventive Italian. Hailing from sturdy Northern Italian stock Valvasori combines traditional Italian cooking with local WA inputs, a gastro-style he calls 'La Cucina Westraliana'. The advantageous access to WA's fantastic produce, flavours and wine shows on the menu: the ice cold beverage options read like a love letter to craft brewers, as for the wine list? It has serious legs packed full of hometown drops. The food? Mouth-watering. A panoply of imaginative Italian dishes make tricky work of picking just one standout. But... we would be hard pressed to go past a plate of blue swimmer crag taglioini, followed by melt-in-your-mouth goats cheese and fennel seed tiramisu.
Related story: La dolce vita: the 5 best Italian restaurants in Melbourne
3. La Lola, lalola.com.au
In the old days (think: 2009) the well-heeled residents of pretty Perth suburb Nedlands were caught in a dining drought, enter La Lola. This pizzeria/trattoria opened in 2010 filling a gaping hole in the dining scene and also hungry locals stomachs. Here in this buzzy neighbourhood joint, the business of bolognaise is dispensed with a light-floured hand; wood fired rounds of pizza anchor a menu of hot and cold entrees, fresh made pastas (we like the rigatoni with lamb shoulder ragu), hearty mains (the Bistecca is a meat-lovers go-to) and gelato sold by the scoop. La Lola keeps the locals coming back not just because they're hungry but for La Lola's light-hearted I Love Lucy sense of humour. Case in point, the very firm NO BYO signage, followed by a small 'except on Wednesdays'.
Related story: When in Rome: Italian street food coming to the north shore
4. Galileo Buona Cucina, galileorestaurantperth.com
In the green-lit streets of Shenton Park resides authentic award-winning Italian, Galileo Buona Cucina. Paying homage to wholesome rustic flavours and service with style and a beaming smile, this melanzane mecca is back-to-basics Italian. Sicilian-born head chef Vincenzo Soresi presides over an ever-evolving, on point menu, powered by a pursuit of perfectly seasonal produce. Currently on the must-have list? Polpentine jotta (veal meatballs), a side of piselli con pancetta (peas with pancetta), and a finisher of semi freddo al torrone (nougat parfait with homemade ice cream).
5. Perugino (West Perth), perugino.com.au
Swanky Perugino in West Perth is best-in-the-west upscale Italian dining. It holds coveted culinary Italian government official quality seal, Ospitalita Italiana, and serious celebrity cred; Beyoncé has been known to drop in when touring Perth. The restaurant is picture-perfect on the outside - all manicured planter boxes, big windows, and subtle low-rise façade and on the inside - sparkling glassware, precision white-cloths, and waistcoated waiters as far as the eye can see. The aroma of Italy (garlic frying, tomatoes roasting, parmesan being grated) issues forth from the kitchen where head chef Giuseppe Pagliaricci plates up portions of gourmet highlights like caramello di mozzarella e tartufo nero (puff pastry filled with mozzarella and black truffle) and gamberi aglio (fresh tiger prawns with pan-fried garlic).