Top 5 Italian

By now you know I love all things Italian – and we are more spoilt for choice than ever before, with so many places serving authentic Italian food, lots of it regional. Sydney’s Italian offering covers the full spectrum, from cutting-edge-modern to Nonna-style-traditional, from big-night-out to grab-a-bite-on-the-way-home. We have great pizze, pasta, gelati and so much more – and I love it all – but these are the tried and tested ones I find myself going back to again and again.


Lucio’s Italian Restaurant, Paddington
It’s hard to beat a long lunch at Lucio’s … the people watching and art collection alone make it irresistible. Then there’s the black handkerchief pasta, whole fish baked in a salt crust served tableside by the charming Lucio Galletto himself and a killer affogato – la dolce vita at its finest.


Pilu at Freshwater, Freshwater
Sipping a sbagliato negroni, nibbling carta di musica with house-made ricotta and watching the sunset colours over the ocean here is my favourite way to end the week. Add that pecorino brodo, Giovanni Pilu’s roast suckling pig, deep-fried-cheese-filled-honey-drizzled seadas and a list full of little-known Sardinian wines and beers … ahhhh!


Balla, Pyrmont
Stefano Manfredi and Gabriele Taddeucci’s express menu has become my go-to for lunch meetings – I find the likes of strozzapretti with snapper, tomato, chilli and garlic, or char-grilled octopus with potatoes, olives, capers and celery, irresistible. I’m also partial to an after work Aperol spritz and plate of superb salumi at the bar.


Buon Ricordo, Paddington
When I want a good old-fashioned big night out, I head here for pork & veal fagottini bound with parmesan and truffled egg, that spectacular timballo Napoletano and highly addictive crostoli served in a beautiful dining room overseen by larger-than-life chef-padrone Armando Percuocco.


Ormeggio at The Spit, Mosman
In Milan, it’s Carlo Cracco, and in Sydney it’s Alessandro Pavoni who provides my mod-Italian fix.  The Middle Harbour views, creative cicchetti (I want more kipfler, smoked paprika aioli and chives), a degustation of artful dishes (including superb risotto) and a wine list that covers the length and breadth of Italy – what’s not to love?