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Friday, July 24, 2009

L'Italiano aka "that new Italian place in town"

I went out for lunch with my Mum last Friday, a treat that I don't often get the chance to do with over 400 km generally stretched between us. I'd like to say I treated my Mum out to lunch, but I think in fact she treated me. One day I'll be a non-student type and have piles of cash to fling around on my family!

There's a new Italian place in Geraldton that Mum has been keen to try out for a few weeks now, but she hasn't really had the opportunity. Dad "doesn't like pizza" (although there are witnesses to him happily scoffing down my sister's gourmet creations) which, despite there being other things available on the menu, has made him somewhat adverse to going there for a meal. So Mum and I took the opportunity to start off my weekend of reviewing Geraldton restaurants, errr... I mean, my weekend of celebrating my sister's birthday, by leaving Dad at home and trying somewhere new for us both.

L'Italiano is located where many restaurants before it have failed. It's a nice corner block overlooking the ocean, and while the decor isn't exactly overly inviting the view makes it a pleasant spot to sit and eat a meal.

The lunch menu is a pared back version of the dinner menu, and doesn't offer a great deal of choice apart from pizza and pasta. In fact, there are five types of pasta, 21 types of pizza, and that is all. We were a little concerned as we were having lunch with a friend of my Mum's who has coeliac disease, but we were relieved to discover they had some gluten-free pasta in the kitchen - either spaghetti or penne. My Mum's friend was a little disappointed as she would have preferred some antipasti over pasta, but after we were told the kitchen wasn't set up to serve such things at lunch time she chose to have Pasta alla Bolognese ($10). I was also a little disappointed with the menu, as I often like to have a little salad with my pizza and it simply wasn't on offer, so I just went with the Pizza all'Ortolana (tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms, capsicum, onions, olives, artichokes, asparagus) ($10) and my Mum went traditional with Pizza Margherita (tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil) ($10).

Pasta alla Bolognese - Gluten-free penne with homemade bolognese sauce ($10)

The spaghetti bolognese looked quite nice, but nothing spectacular and would have benefited from at least a little garnish of some basil or extra parmesan. The serving size was small to moderate. It apparently tasted quite nice, but there was no raving about how great it was.

Pizza Margherita - tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil ($10)

Pizza all'Ortolana - tomatoes, mozzarella, mushrooms, capsicum, onions, olives, artichokes, asparagus ($10)

The pizzas were a decent size - 11 inches - and again looked quite tasty when they came out. The bases were good, not too doughy nor overcooked, and certainly far better than many pizza bases I've eaten out in Perth, but again nothing spectacular and no better than the pizza bases I make at home. Mum enjoyed her margherita, a testament to the sauce on the pizzas, and although I was a little disappointed at the amount of each topping that was on my pizza, I ended up finding it quite a satisfying meal.

The service was quite good, and our waiter went back into the kitchen to check the gluten-free options with the chef as she wasn't 100% sure. I'd much rather have a waiter disappear for a while to check things as opposed to having to send things back to the kitchen after being given incorrect information. I guess this is particularly important for people with food allergies/intolerances as the fact that my dish came with white bread after being told it came with wholemeal (Van's in Cottesloe, though to be fair they were quite apologetic and quick to fix the mistake) is a little less important than someone being stuck on the toilet for the rest of the day or going into anaphylaxis.

As I said, the menu was a bit of a disappointment. You would think that including a few salad options on the menu would be in their interest, given the huge mark-up on salad items and the fact that many people like to have a little freshness with a carb-heavy lunch. They could even have a lunch special with pizza/pasta, salad and a drink to make it an attractive option and possibly sell more product than they otherwise would. The antipasti dish that is currently on the dinner menu would also be a good inclusion on the lunch menu to give a little more variety to the dishes on offer.

The food was not spectacular but was enjoyable and satisfying, and for $10 per dish it is difficult to complain too much! I wouldn't go out of my way to go back, but I think it is fair to say that L'Italiano offer a tasty, affordable lunch option if you're in the mood for some Italian when in Geraldton. They also have a range of gelati on offer that was quite tempting, but we all resisted the urge so I am unable to comment, sorry!

1 Foreshore Drive, Geraldton
Phone: 08 9964 9291
Hours: Lunch 11am-2pm Wed-Sat; Dinner 5-10pm Tues-Sun


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 24, 2009 at 9:11 PM  

My dad is like yours-so it's much easier for me to go out to lunch with my mum too! :) That's great that the waiter took the time out to check-I always appreciate that too if I have a question.

Nicole August 2, 2009 at 2:20 PM  

Sounds like Topolini's is still the way to go when we head back there :)

Anonymous November 17, 2009 at 5:49 PM  

L'Italiano is the best :-)

It eats the pizza pasta off Topolini's garlic bread pants.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 17, 2009 at 10:42 PM  

I want some garlic bread pants

Anonymous May 2, 2010 at 4:45 PM  

L'Italiano is the best restaurant in Geraldton! I can't pick my favourite pasta, they're all amazing (it seems pointless to me to have pizza when there are so many pizza places, and no italian restaurants offering pasta). It's inexpensive, the serving size (at dinner) is huge, the service is amazing, the pasta is unbelievable, and the view is gorgeous.
Btw, Topo's isn't the place to go at all. Expensive, unsatisfying, boring, bland. Lame.

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