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restaurants guide


Lucio's
Italian


Address :
www.whereis.com.au
47 Windsor Street
Paddington  NSW
Phone : 02 9380 5996 
Fax : 02 9361 0219 
Email : info@lucios.com.au
Web-site : www.lucios.com.au
Opening times : Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday 12.30 - 3pm
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday 6.30 - 11pm
Cards :
AE DC MC V eftpos 
Licensing : Licensed
Seats : 75
Private Rooms :
Cost range :
$90 (per head for 3 courses plus coffee)
Restaurant rating :
17/20
Special features:
The art collection

REVIEW:
Lucio's is one of the true stayers among the fine restaurants in Sydney, and the food rates in the top echelon of Italian eateries in the country. The dishes are firmly based in northern Italy and combine a delicacy of structure with beautiful ingredients. Some dishes have passed the test of time and remain as classics on a seasonal menu among creative modern dishes that may claim their place in time.

Service is professional and charming whetehr it is the sublime host Lucio Galletto himself or his well-trained staff.

One of the highlights of a visit to Lucio's is the extraordinary collection of Australian art work which is better than any of the galleries that populate Paddington.

WINE : A decent mix of Australian and Italian wines.


A restaurant I haven't reviewed for ages is Lucio's Italian Restaurant.
Some reviewers don't seem to have any qualms about raving (and grossly over-scoring) their favourites but I feel a professional reticence to rave about somewhere I really love.
Lucio's is just up the hill from where I lived in Paddington for years. Even now I'm based in Melbourne, when I'm in Sydney it's where I love to go for a long afternoon lunch whenever I feel like fabulous Italian food, genuinely friendly, professional service, and a decent glass of Italian wine. Or even just one dish and a glass of wine.
It's where I went to celebrate the life of one of my best friends a year ago. It's where I went the day I left hospital after my shoulder reconstruction a few months ago, eating a fabulous bowl of pasta one-armed.
It's hard to have regular haunts in my gig but Lucio's is one of mine.

So I'll leave the raving to John -

John Lethlean, The Australian
January 2016

Houston, we have a problem. Aldo, senior waiter at Lucioýs, is making pesto at our table. Itýs an off-menu special and, frankly, how could you say no to an haute couture version of the sauce that was played more often than Madonna in the ý90s?

ýTwo cheeses?ý I ask, curious as Aldo ý a Roman ý works the basil and garlic with a mortar and pestle. He tells us the pesto should be pecorino only but that the boss, who is Ligurian, likes a little parmigiano in there too. He shrugs that peculiarly Italian shrug as if to say: ýWhattayagonnado?ý And, in fairness to Aldo, a first-class waiter who deals with the television powerbroker at the next table and our corner of relative poverty with equal charm, the pungent pesto is bloody fantastic served with fresh pici, a hand-rolled pasta.

Itýs Friday lunch at Lucioýs, an institution among a certain crowd, and it seems many diners know each other. So there is talk of money, property, cattle stationsý itýs a club, in a sense. Deep pockets and bad restaurants with stamina have an unfortunate history of coexistence, but thatýs not the case here.

Lucio Galletto greets us, proprietor of this simple thing: a place where people go for respite, hospitality, good food and wine, discretion. Fundamental things, really. And in exchange? Well, nobody would believe more in free markets than your typical Lucioýs regular. Itýs not inexpensive.

Famous for the paintings that line its walls, these are rooms of sunshine and colour as the rain falls outside; quickly we are made to feel thereýs no better place to be. ýHow long have you got?ý asks our host. ýIýll need the table back by seven.ý

It doesnýt take that long; here is a place where all the rules are observed ý I mean, you could learn it from a textbook ý and then smothered with an extra thick smear of good-natured warmth and experience. With its white linen and staff in waistcoats and ties, a menu without a single coastal succulent, and no music, Lucioýs may be old school but an uncompromising approach to food quality is what makes it such a wonderful package.

That pile of worm-like pasta, made today, tossed with a truly memorable combination of basil, Ligurian oil, garlic, two cheeses and, finally, super-fresh, untoasted pine nutsý Tagliolini alla granseola ý a firm, square-section spinach-green pasta ý with an amazing fruity/savoury tomato sauce studded with swimmer crab. As they say, if youýre going to do something so simple, every element needs to be perfect.

A baby cos salad is almost a course in itself (and charged accordingly) with a buttermilk dressing, crisp-fried chickpeas, pancetta and grated pecorino. A fat, perfectly roasted veal chop, laced with sage and pancetta, is served on the bone with garlic puree, broccolini and a light, white wine/butter sauce. And the same simple brush tars a fillet of perfect snapper, served with chargrilled cos lettuce and a butter/caper/lemon/herb sauce. Timeless, satisfying stuff.

Aldo pooh-poohs a few wine choices and recommends alternatives. Iým glad. There is just the right balance of cheekiness, warmth and servility here.

Dessert? We have time. A white chocolate and nougat semifreddo, wrapped in macadamia, crowned with fresh berries, is technically perfect but too sweet. For me, anyway. Better is a combo of lemon cream and poached Italian meringue, mulberries and shards of sage meringue. Thereýs just the right combination of sweetness, acid, crunch and luxurious mouthfeel to it all.

And thatýs the thing about Lucioýs, generally. Thereýs just the right measure of every element that makes dining out such a pleasure, when itýs right. You can argue over the cheeses; the end result is far less subjective.

Stars (out of five): 4.5




Awards :

SMH 'Good Food Guide' 2003, 2004, 2006 & 2007
Two Chef's Hats

NSW Restaurant & Catering Awards 2000
Best Italian Restaurant Metropolitan
Best Italian Restaurant State

Mietta's Eating & Drinking in NSW Awards
Excellent Food

Insegna del Ristorante Italiano
An award personally presented by the Italian President in recognition of excellence in Italian cuisine outside of Italy (limited to 100 restaurants worldwide)

Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence
Finalist- Formal Italian Restaurant


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