From the moment you step into Lucio Galletto’s famed Sydney restaurant, it’s clear you’re entering somewhere special. Sydney’s home of Northern Italian cuisine, Lucio’s has been a stalwart on the local dining scene since opening in 1983.
The bright and airy feel of the restaurant, set on a leafy Paddington corner, transports diners to Galletto’s native Liguria. Floor-to-ceiling adorned walls (Lucio’s other passion is art, the artworks doubling as his “super fund”, he tells me) lend the eatery a relaxed European feel.
While the menu remains true to his motherland, the food is light, delicate and impeccably presented. Produce is key here, with dishes such as the capesante avvolte in pancetta: scallops wrapped in pancetta & panfried with pickled fennel & saffron citronette, skilfully allowing each singular ingredient to shine.
For pasta aficionados, it’s hard to look past the fazzoletti neri ai frutti di mare: black handkerchief pasta with cuttlefish, mussels, prawns & chilli. The subtle squid ink pasta cradles fresh, sweet seafood with hints of chilli breaking through occasionally.
The piece de resistance is undoubtedly the pesce al sale – a big, beautiful whole snapper baked in rock salt and served to the table – by Lucio himself if you’re lucky enough. If you haven’t given 24 hours notice for this one, the fish of the day will more than suffice, as will the pan-fried lamb with sweetbreads, roasted duck, and other regional specialties.
While the dessert list is generous and again, authentically Italian, the cannoli is a must-try. Perfectly light pastry envelopes weightless, whipped ricotta, served with a summery strawberry and passionfruit salad. As far as pastries go, this one is almost refreshing.
There’s a reason why Lucio’s has bagged almost every food accolade in the country, including being awarded two SMH chef’s hats at present. Do yourselves a favour and head down to find out why.
To enjoy this Lucio’s dining and art experience thanks to Priceless Sydney, go here.