When the cravings for pasta, pizza, ragu or melt-in-your-mouth tiramisu hit, consider yourself lucky to live in Sydney. We’re not only spoiled with Italian restaurants, but the ones we have are excellent. There’s a spot to suit every mood, whether you want to eat by the water or by candelight.
From old-school Italian to modern mash-ups, here’s where to go for a meal that’s molto bene. All you need to do is choose the vino.
Neil Perry’s sophisticated Rosetta is an ode to regional Italian dining, with an ample seafood offering to sate even the most particular of connoisseurs. The emerald green and sapphire blue highlights of the tasteful interior hark back to luxurious Amalfi sojourns, while the comprehensive wine list and exquisite antipasti and pasta selection will lull you into a state of carbohydrate filled bliss.
118 Harrington Street, The Rocks
Over the bridge in Mosman, this fine dining venue will take you on a trip through the regions of Italy. Helmed by Alessandro Pavoni, the restaurant scored two coveted chef’s hats in the SMH Good Food Guide 2019. Choose from à la carte and seven- or nine-course degustation menus are on offer – it's hard to go past the Charcoal Moreton Bay bug and the Risotto granchio – aged Carnaroli risotto with spanner crab and lemon.
D’Albora Marinas, Spit Road, Mosman
Looking for authentic Sardinian fare north of the bridge? Freshwater’s Pilu consistently delivers innovative menus based on local and seasonal produce. Depending on the occasion, dine from their degustation or à la carte menus. The Malloreddus venison ragu with pancetta, Fiore Sardo and parsley is simply, delizioso!
Moore Road, Freshwater
In Italian, ‘A Tavola!’ means ‘to the table’, and you’ll want to rush straight to this restaurant’s Darlinghurst or Bondi location. The menu is made up of fresh, handmade pastas, simple entrees and daily specials scrawled across the blackboard. Head chef Eugenio Maiale is foodie-famous for his pappardelle con ragu, which could be anything from duck to beef or rabbit when you’re in. For dessert, get the cremino. Prego!
Darlinghurst and Bondi
From the harbour to Woolloomooloo Wharf – this waterside spot is high on our list of Sydney’s best restaurants. The menu changes seasonally, but you can always count on a blend of modern Italian flavours with fresh, local produce. Call ahead to ask for a table on the outdoor terrace, and if you have the time, linger over the six-course degustation menu and matching wines.
8/6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo
In true Bondi style, the relaxed restaurant is the perfect beach-side spot to enjoy a beautiful Italian meal. The menu is designed to share and all pasta and pizza is made in-house daily. Needing dinner inspiration? Try the Angel hair pasta, barely touched tuna, zucchini, rocket, chilli, lemon and capers. They also accept BYO for $15 a bottle, so if you're on a budget, you can bring your favourite bottle of Chianti without breaking the bank.
34 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
A proud member of the AVPN, the highest pizza honour, Lucio's Pizzeria is a local favourite for pizza and pasta lovers alike. Lucio’s is helmed by only the most accomplished Pizzaioli, flipping fresh pizza from the woodfire oven and serving up rustic dishes like crab pasta, veal saltimbocca and polpette al sugo.
248 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
To treat yourself to one of the most delectable degustations in Sydney, it’s hard to go past LuMi. Sitting pretty on the waterfront at Pyrmont, the food is Italian-Japanese fusion at its best. Settle in, because you’ll be here a while: chef Federico Zanellato has created an eight-course dinner that both tickles and surprises the tastebuds. The food is just as good as the view, which overlooks the harbour.
56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
Glitz, glamour, and two glass rooms where the antipasto and pasta-making magic happens: Bar M is a bonafide hotspot. When you pry your eyes away from the black-and-white photos projected on the walls and the people-watching, you’ll discover a mouthwatering menu featuring the likes of creamy burrata with figs and peppery rocket salad, poached Patagonian toothfish and fettuccini with slow-cooked duck ragu.
10 Nield Avenue, Rushcutters Bay
To dine with the cool crowd in a buzzing, bright and lofty space, book a table at Da Orazio. It’s the stuff of Neopolitan dreams. The chefs set the pizza dough to rise over 48 hours and woodfires it to perfection, with a slightly-charred crust and pillow-soft base. The restaurant’s second speciality is pork, so try the prosciutto pizza with fior de latte, cherry tomatoes, rocket and plenty of parmigiano.
Shop 9, 75-79 Hall Street, Bondi
Tucked away in a Paddington terrace, this chic wine bar-slash-restaurant is perfect for date nights and catch-ups with friends. Run by the Fratelli Paradiso brothers (more on them later), it gives its chefs room to experiment. The result is an ever-evolving menu that’s Italian, with an Australian and/or Asian twist. Order the gnocchi and a glass of red – ask the staff to find your perfect pair – and finish with the fluffy tiramisu.
10 William Street, Paddington
Located in a leafy Paddington side street, Lucio's Italian restaurant has been a staple on Sydney’s Italian dining scene since the 80s. Specialising in Northern Italian cuisine using traditional techniques with modern touches, it’s no wonder the locals keep coming back for more. While you’re waiting on your food, feast on the art collection – it’s seriously impressive.
47 Windsor Street, Paddington
When a menu is written only in Italian, you know the restaurant means business. That’s the case at Fratelli Paradiso, a local institution that’s all about authentic food and imported wine to match. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (a rarity!), but we suggest making it your last stop of the day so you can feast on calamari, prawn risotto and ricotta nettle ravioli at your leisure.
12-16 Challis Avenue, Potts Point