An Italian's guide to pasta in Perth
An insight into Perth's most popular Italian restaurants from the heart (and stomach) of a true Italian!
As a true Italian, born and raised in Rome, I could immediately tell upon arriving in Perth that this city is all about two things: food and nature, but especially food! Italian restaurants are EVERYWHERE, owned by ANYONE and loved by EVERYONE. As I ventured around Perth in search of good Italian restaurants, not only did I discover lots of new “Italian” recipes, but I found out a big percentage of Australians have been eating Italian food all wrong! As a proud Italian foodie expert (as I like to call myself), I’m here to open your eyes and help you find out the truth.
As any person would, I looked on TripAdvisor, Zoomato, and Yelp to check which Italian restaurants had the best ratings. Prego, Bravo’s, and Amore seemed to be the favourites. Funnily enough, these are all cliché names for Italian restaurants.
Prego - "Thanks but no thanks"
I started my foodie experience by eating at Prego restaurant in Floreat. Whilst Prego shows off as a high-end restaurant, I had to wonder what makes this place so good with such a small offering. First things first, I noticed that pasta was shown as an entrée. Weird – and OMG so expensive! I looked around and I saw these little portions of food being served, and I could immediately predict failing expectations and broken dreams. Thus, I decided to try the Spaghetti and I found it interesting how this “Italian” spaghetti with such simple ingredients was so overpriced. Prego, you could have done better with this plate. Having said that, I appreciated the restaurant’s idea of offering a degustation - it’s a good way to attract people, especially beginner foodies. I understand the concept of a high-end restaurant with high-end prices, but from an Italian’s point of view, this restaurant just wants to make a bella figura (make a good impression).
Bravo's Restaurant - "A job well done"
Trying not to lose any hope, I booked a table at Bravo’s restaurant in East Vic Park. First impressions: the atmosphere was great and the restaurant has a very modern design. I looked at the menu, and WOAH there were so many choices. The menu looked like one you would find in Italy, with an aperitif section and lots of different pizzas and pastas. This was until I saw something that made my heart cry and my eyes bleed. Carbonara with bacon, egg, parmesan, black pepper and cream. Bravo’s you are not that bravo, you have just killed my Roman soul. (FYI, Carbonara doesn’t have ANY cream in it). Anyway, I decided to have Spaghetti Bolognese because it was the only pasta worth the price, and it turned out to be pretty good. I didn’t go for Spaghetti Meatballs because $25 sounded like a rip-off, mi scusi. Judging from the menu, my pasta and all those plates served around us during our dinner,I could tell that the restaurant was unique, creative and truthfully Italian! I loved the idea of trying to please both the Italian homesick and Italian foodie wannabes - a fair strategy to say the least.
Amore - "Is this love?"
Last but definitely not least, I booked a table at Amore restaurant in Floreat. Best choice I have ever made. Despite its small size, this tiny restaurant was very welcoming. Once I realized the entire staff were Italian, I felt right at home. Firstly, I immediately noticed from the menu the offerings were well-balanced in terms of presenting original recipes with an Italian twist (which made me very excited). Secondly, I could see fair prices on the menu – nothing was overpriced and every plate seemed right in quantity and quality. I decided to order a plate of paccheri, which I noticed came from an Italian pasta brand displayed on one of the shelves. I loved the paccheri and I loved the show put on by the whole staff, singing Italian songs out loud and swinging lights to create the atmosphere. The crowd went crazy and suddenly I had the impression everyone was feeling part of a big family. After the meal, I was very happy about the food, and I understood why this restaurant is usually fully booked. Amore restaurant has hit the target: Italian cuisine is not just about serving good food in a cool location, it’s about cordiality and family. After all, these are key values of the Italian culture and the reasons why people love Italy and this restaurant. So, I could happily say That’s Amore.
Your handy general guide to Italian Restaurants:
- Most Italian restaurants love naming plates after people like “Pasta della Nonna” to make the customer more familiar with the cuisine. It’s funny but respectable.
- Chorizo Italian sausage - you guys love it but here is the truth: it is not Italian, it doesn’t exist, and I have no clue where this sausage comes from!
- In Italy, when you have very little on a plate it usually means it’s not any good. It’s exactly the same here in Perth.