Italian family food and culture have had an enormous impact on Perth and surrounds, especially the port city of Fremantle and its famous “cappuccino strip” along Market Street and South Terrace.
Known for its vibrant restaurants, bars and cafés, Fremantle’s authentic Italian cuisine is always popular. So much so that a new food trail has been created to take you around some of the best Italian, family run places to eat in Fremantle - the Gusto Italiano Trail.
There are eight cafés and restaurants on this street tour, within easy walking distance of one another. Have a taste at each venue, from antipasto to cappuccino, or choose just one for a delicious lunch or a fabulous night out. Recognised as some of the best restaurants in Fremantle, they all promise a warm welcome for the whole family and serve up great coffee or exquisite wines to complement your home made food.
The first destination is an unassuming family-run café serving authentic and homely Italian dishes. The owners are particularly proud of their ragù, a traditional meat sauce, served with hand made pasta. Ask for their farmers soup too - a tasty, hearty dish that’s perfect for lunch. Parlapa is on William Street, tucked behind the famous cappuccino strip - the area to start when you’re looking for great places to eat in Fremantle.
This iconic restaurant opened in 1954 and has been passed down to the next generation of this delightful Italian family. Their focus is classic home made food, which makes it one of the best restaurants in Fremantle for families who want recognisable dishes that all the generations will enjoy, such as minestrone soup, spaghetti bolognese or Hawaiian pizza. There’s also a huge selection of other dishes, and a dedicated children’s menu.
Pizza Bella Roma
Several Italian places to eat in Fremantle were established decades ago by migrating families. One long standing venue, opened by an Italian family in the 1970s, is Pizza Bella Roma on High Street, just off the strip. This is a great place to sample some gourmet pizza, pasta and other delicious light dishes like chilli mussels, bruschetta and chorizo salad. Again, there’s a great kids’ menu, making this another good choice for a family feed.
A great local favourite, Sandrino is one of the best places to go in Fremantle for authentic wood-fired pizza, with dough made in-house each day using traditional methods. Situated right on the cappuccino strip, there’s indoor, undercover and street side seating, so you can soak up the buzz of Fremantle while enjoying some of the best Italian pizza in town. If you just want a taster, try their delicious meze plate.
This stylish two-storey restaurant overlooking the central strip is a wonderful place to kick back for a while. La Sosta has been awarded the Ospitalita Italiana accolade by the Italian Council for quality and authenticity - a wonderful testimony that places this venue firmly among the best restaurants in Fremantle and on that you simply can’t leave off your list. With home made pasta, its own patisserie and an excellent wine list, this is one to return to for a relaxing or romantic dinner.
Right in the midst of the bustle with tables spilling out onto the pavement, Portorosa makes you feel as if you’re sitting in the streets of an Italian town. The welcome is warm and the focus is on traditional Italian meals served with hospitality and generosity. This is another place to go in Fremantle to sample some hand made pasta or wood-fired pizza, and there are plenty of other options, such as seafood and salads. Try the tiramisu if you have room!
Another favourite with locals, Gino’s has become an icon on the cappuccino strip, established in 1983 by an Italian family wanting to serve great coffee! This is a great place to go in Fremantle for breakfast or morning tea. Alternatively, time your visit for lunch and enjoy a focaccia or panini, or settle in for dinner and choose from a long list of home made pasta dishes.
The Capri menu originates in northern Italy, brought over in the 1950s by a family who believes in serving the best fresh seafood, pasta and meat dishes. This is another of those family friendly places to eat in Fremantle that offer a children’s menu and lots to choose from - a great little spot on South Terrace to watch the world go by. There’s more tiramisu for dessert here too!
A little further south is the South Fremantle strip, a continuation of South Terrace. Here, there are more Italian eateries worth a visit. Although these aren’t on the main Gusto Italiano Trail, they’re highly recommended for those who love genuine Italian hospitality and food.
Ruocco’s Pizzeria e Ristorante is one of the best restaurants in Fremantle. It has a long and delicious menu - a great choice for a hearty meal with the whole family, accompanied by a few glasses of good wine. It also claims the first wood-fired pizza oven in Western Australia!
L’Antica has a cafe-style feel and a small but tasty menu - ideal for a light lunch of focaccia or pizza, and great Italian coffee.
Calogero’s 6162 is a friendly deli and cafe open for breakfast, brunch and lunch. It’s a good drop-in venue for a snack and chat, with comfy sofas and outdoor benches, popular with locals and serving great coffee.
And finally, Dolce & Salato in the South Fremantle shopping centre serves pizza slices and a wide range of freshly made Italian desserts and gelato, making this an excellent place to go in Fremantle for a family lunch or afternoon tea. Stop here on your way back from South Fremantle beach or your trip to Rockingham.
To follow more themed trails, visit Fremantle Heritage Trails.
Build your own full day out by incorporating some of Fremantle’s historic sites into your Gusto Italiano Trail, using this guide: Historic Fremantle.