On paper at least, Sydney could resemble the Amalfi Coast: we’ve got the beaches, the sunshine and the big outdoor bars. We sometimes seem to lack a bit of that Italian energy – if you don’t know where to look. But you can find it all at some of Sydney’s best Italian restaurants. From candlelit trattorias to boisterous all-day diners, here are five spots we’re taking our mates for an Aperol spritz this summer.

Matteo, Double Bay
Inspired by the Amalfi Coast and the big all-day dining restaurants of Milan and Rome, Matteo is much-loved among Double Bay locals for its animated al fresco aperitivo area, where spritzes and antipasti are served alongside live music on the weekends. Drawing on the dining culture of Campania, a region in south-western Italy, the menu is simple and the flavours fresh: think handmade pasta, fresh mozzarella and local seafood. And, of course, pizza. The dough here is doppia lievitazione – proved twice – so it’s perfectly light and elastic.

Il Baretto, Paddington
Family-run neighbourhood Italian joint Il Baretto spent 20 years on Bourke Street in Surry Hills before relocating to Paddington in late 2020. It’s now part of the Paddo Inn’s slick dining room and it looks a bit flashier, but the food, team (co-owners Domenico Santopadre and Gabriella Fedeli) and atmosphere are largely the same. The menu, printed on a roll of butcher’s paper hanging off the wall, features a spaghetti alle vongole that might just be Sydney’s best, but the pappardelle with slow-cooked duck ragu packs a punch as well.

Fratelli Paradiso, Potts Point
Potts Point institution Fratelli Paradiso turns 20 this year, and the laid-back Italian just gets better with age. There’s still not much that beats nabbing one of the coveted al fresco tables on Challis Avenue on a summer’s evening and tucking into a plate of pasta (or that famous calamari) with an Aperol spritz. It’s run by three Italian boys – Marco Ambrosino and brothers Giovanni and Enrico Paradiso – who cut their teeth as waiters and still roam front-of-house, exuding boisterous but warm Italian service that keeps us coming back.

Totti’s, Bondi
Home of the social media-famous puffy bread, Totti’s was well missed by the eastern-suburbs side of Sydney during lockdown. But, just in time for summer, it’s open and back in full swing. At the back of The Royal on Bondi Road, this restaurant is big and pumping, with a light-filled indoor space and a large outdoor courtyard surrounded by olive trees. The food is primo: headed up by Pinbone’s Mike Eggert, the menu is shaped around meats cooked in a Josper charcoal grill and features a mouth-watering selection of antipasti, desserts and house-made charcuterie.

Pino’s Vino e Cucina
Pino’s Vino e Cucina is certainly not as light and bright as the other restaurants on this list, but the Alexandria diner makes up for it with romance. On a quiet corner of a residential street, this place is off the beaten path, dimly lit and moody, with exposed brick walls, candle-lit tables and a dark-wood-lined bar. Named after owner Matteo Margiotta’s father, Pino, the food is traditional and represents regions from all over Italy: fresh spaghetti with sea urchin; roasted eggplant with ricotta; and bread baked in-house.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Aperol. With 100,000 Aperol Spritzes up for grabs this summer to help celebrate being together again, find out how to claim yours.