The Best Italian Restaurants in Sydney

Updated 7 months ago


Sydney’s Italian dining scene is one of the country’s strongest. We’ve got waves of post-war migration to thank for that, along with a coastal advantage that gives us incredible seafood and ocean vistas that – if you squint hard enough – give more than a little Amalfi coast energy. Where to find the city’s best pizza, pasta and vino are longer conversations, but our favourite Italian joints live right here.

  • Whether you’re stopping in for that iconic lasagnette bolognaise or just a snack, Frat Paz nails it every time. Its groundbreaking wine list introduced the city to many minimal-intervention styles we're now obsessed with.

  • This elevated vantage of Bondi’s sloshing surf is one of Australia’s great views – one a less conscientious restaurateur might easily lean on. Not Maurice Terzini, who’s been pushing his resplendent Italian diner to greater and greater heights since 2002.

  • In a courtyard behind a classic Bondi pub, Merivale’s good-times Italian joint is all about pasta, Josper-grilled protein and very good wine. Don’t leave without an order of antipasti and puffy, woodfired flatbread.

  • For the theatre of a Michelin-starred meal without the stiffness, look no further than Alessandro Pavoni’s elegant Italian diner. Come for Genovese pesto pounded tableside, a roving gelato cart and sparkling harbour views.

  • Masquerading as a beach house, Pilu does Sardinian-inspired fare including pasta shapes unique to the Italian region. It’s a place of long lunches and refined dinners, with sea views that can’t be beaten on a cracking Sydney day.

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  • A bar and bottle shop styled after the enotecas of Italy. And a colourful upstairs restaurant with pasta and panache. Paski is a three-part stunner by wine importers Giorgio de Maria and Mattia Dicati, and chef Enrico Tomelleri.

  • There’s nowhere else quite like chef-restaurateur Alessandro Pavoni’s waterside institution. While the trifecta of seafood, crisp Italian wines and house-made gelato mostly succeeds in capturing the essence of a coastal Italian diner, those Middle Harbour views from Ormeggio’s breezy dining room make for a quintessential Sydney experience.

  • At this garage-style trattoria from the team behind Bistrot 916, you can disappear into delicate prawn ravioli in rich brown butter and sage sauce, a list of mainly Italian vino and a lively soundtrack spanning afrobeat and Italian pop. The seats on the footpath looking into the buzzy dining room are, ironically, some of the best in the house.

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  • The Ragazzi team has tapped Rome’s great trattorias and New York's Gramercy Tavern to create their dream Italian joint. Slide into a velvet-and-leather booth for a bowl of hand rolled agnolotti del plin, and a choice of 600 wines from Italy and beyond.

  • Italian cuisine with a subtle Australian accent, matched with a wine list that bounces effortlessly between Italy’s Piedmont region and the Adelaide Hills. The Swillhouse group’s modern-day interpretation of a cool ’70s restaurant is everything we’ve come to expect from one the city’s best operators.

  • Though the offering at Bar Vincent is ever-changing, you can always count on fresh oysters, complimentary house-baked bread and a razor-sharp wine program. Dishes usually skew Italian, and those intimate, candlelit nooks make for a romantic setting to enjoy them in.

  • Set over two storeys in an iconic Paddington terrace, Sydney’s most experimental wine bar has Italian swagger in spades. Come for pastas that are anything but traditional, and a pretzel with whipped bottarga that’s so spectacular it’s never left the menu. The wine list changes so frequently, you could visit three times in a week and never get bored.

  • The Porteno group’s Holt Street eatery pays tribute to the group’s seminal venue Bodega (which used to be right around the corner) of the early noughties, combined with a ’60s-era Italian trattoria. Pull up at one of the mint terrazzo tables for vibrant antipasti, seasonal house-made pastas and a knockout drinks list.

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  • The spiritual successor to its former tenant, Limoncello. The southern Italian vibe here has been nailed, which is no surprise given the hospitality guns running the show. But it’s all about the pizza – perfectly light, elastic dough that won’t leave you bloated and lethargic.

  • The laneway eatery is a collaboration by top Sydney chefs Federico Zanellato (Lumi Dining) and Karl Firla (ex-Oscillate Wildly). While they’re both renowned for innovative fine-dining concepts, Leo is their ode to rustic Italian cuisine. That said, your pasta may come with truffles when they’re in season.

  • A tiny neighbourhood restaurant that feels like an Italian family’s living room. In the kitchen, a former A Tavola chef is hand-rolling pastas, churning butter and making gelato in a tiny kitchen that punches well above its weight. It’s all accompanied by a crowd-pleasing mix of Italian and Australian wines.

  • In the former home of Paddington institution Lucio’s, this homey diner carries on its predecessor’s legacy with classic Italian dishes, non-traditional pastas and a selection of mainly Italian wines.

  • This is the godfather of Italian dining in Sydney. Beppi’s has been ticking-over with the same consistency, fit-out and leather-bound menus – hand-carved by the late Beppi Polese himself – since 1956. Immortal dishes include clams and mussels with garlic, olive oil, white vino and tomato; and zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, basil and mushrooms.

  • Part of the pantheon of Sydney’s Italian joints and the attention to detail and fresh produce is just as sharp now as it was back in 1988 (fish is still delivered twice-daily and the pastas are all house-made). CEOs and prime ministers past and present aren’t just framed on the walls – you might just catch them dining here, too.

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  • The old-school Italian with the iconic green door has been kicking hard since 1987 with honest Napoli-style fare including hand-made pastas, fish and beautifully prepared meat courses. The tablecloths are white, the upholstery is floral and the service is pitch-perfect.

  • At this pretty corner spot just back from Bondi Beach, one of the city’s best Italian chefs is serving perfectly puffy woodfired pizzas and a Sydney-famous porchetta roll. Plus pastas, carafes of wine and tiramisu.

  • Buzzing Bootleg Italian does “bootleg” plant-based versions of Italian classics. The whole menu – from fluffy dough balls with garlic butter to cacio e pepe and lasagne – is vegan. Don’t forget to order a serve of incredibly convincing tiramisu.

  • It’s styled after an old-school trattoria, but this enduring eatery serves thoroughly modern interpretations of Italian cuisine – often with native produce. And though the wine list reveres the classics from Piedmont and Tuscany, Australian producers are given equal weighting here. An Enmore classic for a reason.

  • Halfway down Woollomooloo’s picturesque Finger Wharf, Otto has been celebrating la dolce vita for more than 20 years. Also, seasonal produce in the form of modern Italian dishes – best enjoyed from the seats that spill out onto the wharf overlooking the sparkling harbour.

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  • Roman food is defined by simple preparations, quality ingredients and liberal amounts of olive oil. Few places in Sydney represent the cuisine better than Marta. Cacio e pepe is king here, backed up by Roman-style pizzas and classic Italian cocktails with a twist.

  • One of the city’s Italian stalwarts, Il Baretto made the move from Surry hills to the Paddo Inn a few years back. Otherwise, it’s barely changed since 1999. The generous bowls of beef-cheek-ragu pappardelle are still here, along with the same convivial family feel.

  • Whether you visit this lively Italian spot for lunch or dinner, you can be sure the pasta has been handmade fresh that morning. Pair your plates with a drop from the healthy selection of natural vino courtesy of Winona around the corner.

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  • Sagra is one of Darlo's quiet achievers. The dining room is laid-back, the menu wallet-friendly and there's something here for just about everyone. The tight pasta selection is particularly worth your time, as is the sharp curation of Italian vino.

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  • A visit to Fontana is like taking a Mediterranean holiday. The menu is a love letter to regional Italian dishes, backed up by a thoughtful curation of natural wines and aperitivo. To find it, ascend the classic red-carpeted staircase between a Mexican diner and a kebab shop.