An Italian Breeze
They say that in Italy there is an Antico restaurant or café almost everywhere, and now Perth has one too. Easily visible behind its impressive façade, Antico Caffe is situated on the corner of Royal and Plain Streets in East Perth, conveniently close to the Graham Farmer Freeway and Perth ‘s CBD.
It’s also just a short walk from several hotels in the area, and close enough to the river for a pleasant walk to the waterfront, if you want to work up an appetite before dinner or enjoy a stroll after your meal.
Antico specialises in woodfired pizzas, which are among the most frequently ordered meals on the menu. Kirsty Lillyman, manager and head waiter of Antico – and recent winner of a scholarship from the Australian School of Tourism and Hotel Management – enthusiastically recommends them, saying: “They are just like the ones in Italy, they are the closest thing to authentic Italian pizza outside of Italy that I have ever tasted.”
Antico has been providing Perth diners with a taste of Italy for the last seven years. Current owners Daniel Leppard and Emma Barbarich took over three years ago and have continued to focus on good quality home-cooked Italian meals. The pasta is authentic and made fresh on the premises every day, as are the sauces.
Without a doubt our favourite meal on the menu was the delicious Involtini di Maccheroni, a homemade macaroni tossed in neopolitana, enveloped in slices of eggplant and topped with baked ricotta. Pasta dishes are available in entrée or main sizes and won’t break the budget at under $20 a head.
Other specialties include Spaghetti Alla Marinara, a delicious mixture of spaghetti, napoletana sauce, seafood and garlic; and I nvoltini Giulietta and Romeo – rolled chicken breasts stuffed with breadcrumbs, prawns, mushrooms and herbs, served in a cream, mushroom and garlic sauce atop garlic bread.
There is a comprehensive wine list to choose from with a range of red, white and sparkling Australian wines with one or two French and Italian wines thrown in for good measure. Asti Riccadonna is a perfect Italian sparkling wine if you are celebrating a special occasion.
With room for up to 120 guests, Antico can cater for large groups and functions with a set menu available. If you need a bit more space the alfresco section can be included and up to 140 people can be seated comfortably.
The restaurant is tastefully decorated with a warm atmosphere, relaxing background music and the smell of garlic bread wafting from the kitchen early in the evening, followed by a range of tasty aromas as the evening moves on. The busiest times are Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday lunch, so booking is recommended.
The restaurant is also popular for weekday lunches with many business people taking advantage of the relaxing ambiance. The larger than usual tables are another drawcard for business diners because they allow room to spread out and put laptops on the table if needed. There is plenty of room between tables so you don’t feel hemmed in. “We would rather have less tables if it means patrons are more comfortable – quality takes priority over quantity,” Kirsty said.
Whether it’s a cappuccino, latte or an Affogato in true Italian style, a delicious coffee is the perfect way to end an Italian meal and the staff members have perfected the art or a good brew.
If you still have room there is a selection of cakes to choose from with a sensational gelatino icecream. But that might leave you feeling like you really do need to take that stroll by the river, as you’ll be full of delicious Antico food – and already planning your next meal there.