Restaurateur Michael De Marte has been operating in Perth for over 20 years. His venues Café Bocca in Shafto Lane and Rosso Espresso were well-loved in the 90s. More recently, De Marte launched and sold Italian restaurants Nolita and La Lola. He also established the cafe Atomic. Automatica is on the same street as Atomic, and is something of a counterpart.
Automatic’s simple fit-out and furniture might be very cafe-esque, but an attentive swarm of waitstaff – mostly bald blokes in aprons – quickly challenges perceptions. De Marte says that his emphasis is on simplicity without compromising quality.
The pizza is Roman-style and made with a 72-hour fermented dough that produces a lighter and crisper base than the more ubiquitous Neapolitan-style pizza. The pizzas are cooked on stone in a specialist electric oven.
The average plate costs $25, with steak and fish-of-the-day less than $30. As promised, the pizza is crisp and retains its crispness long after it hits the table. The chicken schnitzel (served on-the-bone) is juicy, the gnocchi is pillowy, and the house-made pappardelle with confit duck and mushroom is unbelievably light.
The 75-seat restaurant is licensed with an Italian and Australian wine list, tap beers and Italian cocktails: think spritzes, Negronis and other mixed drinks made with Campari. BYO ($5 per bottle) is always available.