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This charming little osteria is run by friends Mario and Franco, and feels like one of those family run establishments serving good hearty classic Italian fare in a friendly and festive environment. From the moment you are greeted at the front door until the time you are personally escorted back out with a bowl of mints and a warm smile, you are made to feel welcome and part of the family.
I had the pleasure of dining there for the first time this weekend with 3 friends. We started with 2 entrees shared between the 4 of us – the calamari alla franco for $21 and the gnocchi di patate for $26. The gnocchi was just as gnocchi should be – like little soft pillows and neither doughy nor rubbery. It was the calamari that really got my appetite going though. Again, the texture was perfect, with the squid pieces having just the right amount of chewiness without being tough. The combination of nuts, raisins, herbs, chilli and tomato sauce was an explosion of salty, sweet, slightly spicy and tangy flavours that had me mopping up every last drop with the bread provided.
For my main course, I opted for the pesce in guazzeto for $35, a delicious stew of snapper with prawns, clams, mussels, scallops, tomato and chilli. This is a great option if you’re wanting something with good traditional Italian flavours minus the heaviness of pasta.
One of my dining partners had the salmone ripieno for $33, an aesthetically pleasing dish consisting of a rocket and pistachio pesto stuffed piece of salmon. Another friend ordered one of the specials of the day, beef cheeks. I’m not sure how much the beef cheek special cost, nor do I know how each of these dishes tasted, but both friends seemed satisfied with their choices, and they certainly looked good on the plates.
For dessert, I just couldn’t pass on the tiramisu for $9. This is probably the most value for money dessert as they’re all the same price but the tiramisu is served as a rather hefty slab. This is not to say that the dessert itself is hefty though. Far from it. It’s light both texturally and in taste, like a delicately mocha flavoured cloud. I had no difficulty finishing it all.
Another stand out for me dessert wise was the panna cotta, which was also light and at the same time smooth and creamy.
The semifreddo was slightly too frozen for my liking personally.
And here’s the 4th dessert served at our table, the creme brûlée, which I did not get to taste. It’s accompanied by a serve of vanilla gelato topped with the same forest berry sauce that comes with the panna cotta and semifreddo.
You don’t just get service with a smile here. If you’re lucky and there’s a celebration going on like when we were there, you’ll get singing and dancing too! I loved the warm Italian hospitality that was immediately evident the moment I arrived, and in watching the staff interactions with some of the other patrons, I got the impression that it’s one of those places that boasts a loyal gathering who return time and time again, eventually becoming good friends with the team. The timing between courses was perfect, and we were never made to feel like we had to rush out of the premises at the end of our meal. They were simply happy to let us chat, bringing new bottles of water each time we ran out. Indeed, I am told by one of my friends that, at a recent family celebration there, they ended up partying until past 1am, and similarly were never made to feel like they had to leave.
If you’re after a quiet and low key evening, this is probably not the place for you. But if it’s fun and entertainment you’re after, then look no further! Be warned – it does get loud and you may be dragged out of your seats. There was a wedding when we were there, and towards the end of the evening, the music came on and furniture was cleared to make way for dancing. The waiters invited us so earnestly to join in the fun, and really, who could refuse? The groom even thanked us for coming to his wedding, though I’m sure next week he’ll be looking at photos wondering who we are!
I think the prices as quoted above are fairly standard for Perth. Individual glasses of wine range from $8-10.
Tues-Fri 12-3pm and 6-10pm
Closed Sun and Mon
151 Broadway, Nedlands
There is a small carpark behind the restaurant which you enter via a gate towards the right side of the restaurant itself
There is also street parking in front of and around the restaurant
Good traditional Italian food served with Italian hospitality and a big dose of FUN. I had a great time and I’m sure you will too!
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