Cuisine: Italian, pizza
Location: South Perth
I had a day off and suggested a visit to Ciao Italia for dinner. I last visited nearly 3 years ago and enjoyed my experience there. My parents were more than happy to join me so we headed there and arrived just after 5pm. According to their website, they are not a large restaurant and so do not accept bookings. The last time I visited with a friend, we just managed to get a table and when we left there was a huge queue of people waiting to get in and also to pick up their takeaway orders. Hence, I thought it best to arrive early and not have to wait outside sitting in the hot sun. There is some parking on Douglas Avenue available.
Walking in, we were immediately greeted and taken to a table. There are quite a few tables packed in and it is a little cramped but I wasn’t too bothered. The venue has a distinctive Italian feel. The tables have red and white chequered table cloths, the walls and poles are coloured in a deep orangy brown, much like a Tuscan village in one of those Hollywood movies, the waitstaff are all Italian with their accents, and the food is big and hearty. There’s also bags of garlic hanging from one corner (for good luck?) and pictures of Italy adorn the walls. Air conditioning keeps everyone cool and the surrounds were more than comfortable. Around 5:30 – 5:45 pm, it was packed and there were plenty of people arriving to pick up their takeaway orders.
We were presented with menus and a bottle of water. They also have daily specials too. The menu has a few starters and mains consist of a wood-fired pizza range, several pasta dishes, other Italian dishes like saltimbocca and chicken parmagiana, and also a range of desserts including their home made tiramisu. We decided to order the following:
- Siciliana pizza – whole peeled tomato sauce, Mozzarella cheese, mild italian sausage, bacon, black olives, Ricotta cheese and mushrooms. I really enjoyed the thin, soft pizza base and crunchy crust. The gooey mozzarella cheese is long and stringy and the toppings are tasty. I found the Italian sausage to be a little salty and intense but I really enjoyed the pizza.
- Tortellini panna e’Fungi – pasta filled with meat served with a creamy mushroom white wine sauce. I ordered this on my last visit and absolutely loved it. The servings are large so you certainly won’t go hungry. The tortellini are quite large, filled with a soft paste like meat filling while the creamy mushroom sauce is excellent. This dish is a bit rich so it’s best to order a few dishes and share to get some variety too.
- Rigatoni buongustaia – rigatoni pasta tubes served with a tomato cream based sauce with fresh mushrooms, onions, Italian sausage, and peas. I ordered this tomato based dish as a contrast to the rich creamy tortellini. The pasta needed a little more cooking and the sauce was a little dry unfortunately. Despite that, the dish was quite enjoyable with plenty of sauce and sausage provided. I was expecting the sausage to be spicy but it was very mild and tasty.
There’s heaps of food in each dish and after eating plenty, there was still lots left. One of the waitstaff popped by our table and asked if we would like it packed away. They obviously see this a lot so it was excellent to be able to take the rest home to enjoy. We also had a look at the dessert menu. I was really full but I eyed something small which would suit me fine – cannoli. The version served was presented on a plate with double cream and chocolate swirls. Not sure why the cream was required but what the heck. The cannoli casing was crisp yet had softened enough to be able to slice through with a fork. The custard filling was delicious. I’ve eaten versions which are too cheesy but this was just right and went down easily. No cheesy taste just deliciousness. The crunchy nuts on the ends of the cannoli with the cream and chocolate sauce made for an excellent finish to the meal. My parents also enjoyed the food and the desserts they ordered which were just as delicious.
We also ordered another serve of tortellini as a takeaway and I was intrigued by one of the daily specials so I ordered that too: black squid ink pasta. Never tried it and was curious to see what it would taste like. The dish was served with prawns and a creamy white wine sauce. When I got home the next day I ate a little and I loved it. It might look unusual but the pasta tastes the same and the creamy buttery sauce is oh so yum.
Ciao Italia Food Review Summary
Verdict: When I last visited some 3 years ago, the food was fantastic. This time around, nothing has changed. I really enjoyed all the dishes I ate, the pizza, tortellini, the rigatoni, the black squid ink pasta, and the delicious desserts. The prices may look a bit expensive but the servings are large. The quality of food is excellent and well worth the money. The venue may be a little cramped but the whole feel, buzz, business, and decor adds to the theatre. The Italian waitstaff are attentive and friendly and provide great service. The food is very quick out of the kitchen and the popularity of the restaurant is evident with a full house in no time. I really enjoyed the food here and would definitely recommend a visit.
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
See my prior blog post:
Food Review of Ciao Italia – Mar 2010
Ciao Italia Restaurant Details
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