The essentials: 273 Millpoint Road, South Perth
Open: Tuesday to Sunday 5pm to 10pm
Ciao Italia is an isolated oasis on Millpoint road, with no other restaurants surrounding it and queues out the door, its obvious people flock here for a reason. I have been meaning to try this famous Perth restaurant for a long time, and I’m glad I did.
Tables cannot be reserved, instead you are greeted at the entrance to take down your name and wait for something to become available. The staff are all Italian, giving this restaurant an authentic ambiance. The restaurant itself is far from glamorous – tables packed in so tightly you have to squeeze past the other patrons just to sit down, but there is a family type atmosphere which I was immediately drawn to.
We reviewed the menu and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to start with the bruschetta. Crusty Italian bread baked in woodfire oven, topped with fresh tomato, onion, garlic, basil and extra virgin olive oil ($19). This dish was all things bruschetta should be – well seasoned, fresh and extremely tasty. Although it was well executed, I am mortified a restaurant can justify charging $19 for this dish.
For our mains it was a tough decision, in the end I chose what I thought was the most interesting pasta on the menu – the rigatoni Buongustaia with fresh mushrooms, onions, Italian sausage and peas tossed in a tomato cream based sauce ($27.50). I’m afraid to say I wasn’t overly impressed with this dish – although the pasta was cooked al dente the flavours were strange and to me they didn’t work well together. I wouldn’t order this dish again.
My dinner partner chose the spinach and ricotta ravioli with the a napoletana sauce ($27.50). This dish was incredible – I wish we could have bottled the sauce and taken it home! It was rich with tomato, garlic and herbs. Once again, the ravioli was al dente and all the flavours matched perfectly.
As far as Italian restaurants go, it certainly has the welcoming family feel that entices me. The service is fantastic, and it is obviously busy for a reason. My only disappointment is that I chose the wrong dish! I plan to return to rectify this mistake.