Beppi and Norma Polese first opened Beppi’s in 1956 and it’s barely changed since. The fit-out is the same. The leather-bound menus, hand carved by Beppi himself, remain. Even the chairs are original; they’ve only been updated with vinyl cushioning for more comfort.
Sydneysiders wouldn’t have it any other way. Beppi’s is a legend in the city’s dining history, credited with introducing authentic Italian to the city and labeled by many as “the godfather”. Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger and Rihanna have all been customers.
In the late ’90s the Italian government awarded Beppi a Cavaliere del Lavoro (Order of Merit for Labour) for promoting and popularising Italian culture in Australia. He passed away three months out from the restaurant’s 60th anniversary, leaving his only son, Marc, at the helm.
The focus at Beppi’s is on quality, tradition and consistency, and this is perhaps part of the key to the restaurant’s unmatched mileage. On the menu since forever is the zuppa di cozze – a simple dish of local mussels and clams cooked with garlic, olive oil, white wine and a little tomato. Beppi used to collect the mussels himself under Spit Bridge, back when many people still considered them only good for bait.
There’s also homegrown zucchini flowers with ricotta, basil and porcini mushroom filling; and ravioli ripieni – buckwheat ravioli filled with roasted pumpkin and amaretti, served with burnt butter and sage. For secondi, soft-crumbed veal cutlet with garlic-parsley gremolata salsa and caper berries. Dessert is a cloud-like banana soufflé, both comforting and refined.