Ask anyone what their five fave cuisines are and we’d bet our lunch money that Italian makes it onto everyone’s list.
So with great palatable praise comes great responsibility, to not only deliver delicious meals to the masses, but to pay homage to the traditional recipes—some which have been handed down and perfected through countless generations. And that’s what makes Italian food so damn great, it’s been tried, tested and tasted over and over again.
Finding authentic Italian requires due diligence. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork and sorted the stayers from the players. You can say grazie mille to us later. Unbuckle your belt, these are the very best Italian restaurants on the Sunshine Coast—the ones who’ve proven they’re no flash in the pan.
With so many sensational dishes on their menu, Locale is one of the best restaurants in Noosa and is somewhere you need to frequent to really appreciate their offerings. Lucky for you, we’re seasoned professionals and can point you in the right direction! We recommend the squid ink “handkerchief” pasta with Mooloolaba king prawns, calamari, garlic, lemon, butter, basil and pistachio; and the slow cooked lamb neck, juniper, parsnip puree, cavolo nero, gremolata, peppers and vincotto.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pizza, look no further than Via Italia. These guys are legit. Their sourdough pizza bases are made from a 120-year-old starter culture and organic flour, which they tell us enhances the slow rising process and allows the natural yeast time to breakdown and change the proteins. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? And all of their hard work clearly pays off, because we can confirm their pizzas are finger-licking yum! Our favourite is the Salsiccia handmade pork sausage with cime di rapa, chilli, garlic and mozzarella. Don’t forget, they’re also open for breakfast and lunch, so if you’re hardcore into Italian, this is the place to be.
Dining at 250 Grammi is reminiscent of an indulgent Sunday lunch in Naples, digging into generous servings and passing the plates around… it’s all about a shared dining experience. So in keeping with this share-style dining, we recommend ordering abundantly from the menu, starting with the antipasti e stuzzichini selection, where the majority of ingredients have been imported from Italy, to make this experience truly traditional. It’s this kind of attention to detail, which makes 250 Grammi one of the best Italian restaurants on the Sunshine Coast… that and their lemon sorbetto with vodka and prosecco.
Owners Shane and Helen have garnered quite the loyal following over the past 25 years with their traditional approach to Italian cuisine here on the Sunshine Coast. Stepping into All’ Antica, it exudes a relaxed familiarity akin to a family-owned restaurant in a side street in Rome, and that’s exactly what keeps us coming back for more. Forget about pretentious platefuls, All’ Antica delivers on quality homemade food using a combination of local produce and imported ingredients direct from Italy to showcase the country’s deliciously diverse regions.
Craving the depth of flavour that only a wood-fired oven can provide? Pay a visit to our friends at Il Vento, they’re one of the uber cool restaurants killing it at the new Wharf precinct. Keep it simple with their margherita pizza, or given the seaside location, their Pizza Del Mare is always a winner, topped with wild-caught prawns, baby calamari, octopus and Italian herbs. Once done stuffing your face, if there’s still room for dessert, you must wrap your gob around their signature cannoli with ricotta, pistachio and honey.
Noosa Waterfront Restaurant & Bar
Italian food prepared by an actual Italian chef, you know you’re in for a tantalising treat. Hailing from Milan, Andrea Ravezzani is a decorated chef and has brought his talents to the shores of Noosa and we’re so glad he did. At Noosa Waterfront, you won’t find your standard run of the mill pizza and pasta offerings. Andrea is all about modern, contemporary dishes inspired by the culinary regions of his motherland, the only difference is these quality handmade dishes hero our locally-grown ingredients. Our fave way to enjoy Andrea’s cooking is by settling into a degustation dinner or long lunch, overlooking the picturesque Noosa River, where each course is paired perfectly with wine. It sounds almost too good to be true, but that’s what you get when you’re dining at one of the best Italian restaurants on the Sunshine Coast.
Bella Venezia is the mamma of Italian dining here on the Sunshine Coast, opening in 1983. And while the restaurant has undergone a facelift in the past year, their menu has largely stayed tried and true, just the way we like it. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s hard to pick a favourite, with such a lengthy menu, but we can confirm that the slow-cooked beef cheek ragout with hand-cut pappardelle and monnalisa pecorino is a rich and glorious offering, best served with a glass of Shiraz. And the Florence pizza honours its namesake, laden with Italian tomatoes, spinach, sauteed mushrooms, pumpkin, roast capsicum and garlic aioli. It’s no surprise Bella Venezia is rated as one of the Sunshine Coast’s best Italian restaurants.
Noosaville and Maroochydore
Another epic Italy export is the good ol’ parmigiana, which Aussies have grown to love and take it on as their own, conjuring up some impressive flavour combinations. Here on the Coast, Bertoni’s takes the title, boasting eight tasty toppings, including the classic with Napoli sauce, prosciutto and mozzarella; the Hawaiian take with BBQ sauce, shredded ham and pineapple; creamy mushroom, béchamel and spring onion; and the catch of the day, loaded with prawns, fish and scallops. If parmas aren’t your style, they also have a hearty pizza and pasta menu—one thing is for certain, you won’t leave Bertoni’s hungry.
Amici Restaurant And Pizzeria
Gather your foodie friends and park yourself at a table at Amici. Born from the ethos of food shared among friends, this Italian restaurant in Caloundra is all about good times. There’s loads of scrumptious dishes on the menu, but it’s impossible to pass up their spaghetti marinara—fresh cut salmon, prawns, calamari, baby octopus, scallops and mussels in a garlic, cayenne, white wine and Napoli sauce.
Channeling contemporary cool vibes, it’s no secret Bombetta is a crowd fave among the best Italian restaurants on the Sunshine Coast. Brought to you by the former owners of Gaston in Hastings Street, Bombetta is renowned for its Italian Stallion 11 inch, featuring mascarpone, parmigiano reggiano, confit garlic, artichokes, sliced prosciutto, lemon oil, rocket and house chilli flakes. Or if you’re chasing a casual bite to eat, their antipasto plate is always a tastebud pleaser, as is the sizzling garlic prawns with chilli, oil, parsley, lemon and crusty ciabatta.
Osvaldo and Rita from Cala Luna are fiercely proud of their heritages (Osvaldo’s family is from the island of Sardinia and Rita’s family is from Veneto and Friuli), so you just know they have some tasty family recipes under their belts. And in calling the Sunshine Coast home, they have access to a whole range of different ingredients and local produce, which they have worked into their traditional recipes—the result is magic. Our go-to is the Moreton Bay bug marinated with olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs cooked in the shell and served on a bed of saffron and Moreton Bay bug risotto. And if you’re a fan of dessert, you must order the Torta di ciocolato, noci e espresso—homemade flourless chocolate, hazelnut and espresso torta served with vanilla bean gelato.
Image credit: Hayley Williamson for Urban List