Delizioso dining at L’Enoteca

Italian food was one of the first cuisines I learned how to cook, which means it’s not one I dine out for often. I’m not an expert by any means, but I do find it hard to find truly exceptional Italian restaurants n Perth. Sure, you have Prego, Lalla Rookh and even the cheap and cheerful Francoforte. But I’m always on the hunt for a new great Italian restaurant to try. 

Recently I decided to pay a visit to one that I’ve been wanting to try for some time to satisfy what is an always present pasta craving. Situated down the city end of Albany Highway, L’Enoteca is dimly lit, intimate restaurant that boasts a wide range of wines and authentic Italian cooking.

The interior is dark and a nice combination of modern and rustic aesthetics. The tables are a little close together which means the wait staff need to think skinny when rushing between them but they seem to have it in hand with no uh-oh moments happening while I’m there.

I brought my mum with me since she too loves her pasta, and the two of us settled in to the table I booked on a wet, windy night. Perfect comfort food weather! It’s reasonably busy on the night in question, larger groups enjoying share entrees of arancini, croquettes and other delicious looking things. After hearing great things from other bloggers, I’m already looking forward to the meal we’re about to have.

We decide to each order a main, share a side salad and share an entree between the two of us. Because we’re both fiends for seafood, naturally we start off with a serving of the salt and pepper calamari ($12.00) though I did stare longingly at the potato and leek croquettes.

Excuse the poor photos, the lighting was low where we sat and I didn’t want to ruin the ambiance by putting the flash on for photos. You might not be able to see it that well, but the batter on the calamari is light and crisp, offering a good hit of salt but perhaps not quite enough pepper for my liking. The produce is fresh and tasty, perfect with a squeeze of the provided lemon over the top. It’s a small entree, but tastes good so I’m satisfied with our choice.

While there’s some appealing dishes on the standard menu, mum decides to order the pasta special of the day, the tagliatelle with peas, broad beans, prawns and chilli oil ($30.00). Immediately when I sample a taste I can tell that not only is the pasta perfectly al dente, it’s also made in-house. It’s soft with a little bite, well seasoned and cut into even ribbons.

The prawns are so fresh with a satisfying snap when you bite down. You can always tell when a prawn has been frozen then defrosted as it tends to have a rubbery consistency, but the prawns used in L’Enoteca’s pasta dish are all kinds of good.

I think it’s a beautiful springtime dish with those vibrant peas and broad beans. Mum adds some extra cut chilli which they provide on the side upon request, since she’s a chilli fanatic. She does tell me that there’s way too many peas in the dish though, and based on the description she wasn’t expecting a creamy based pasta – she really loves her oil based pastas. But never mind, the flavours were all there and it looked a treat on the plate.

Very predictably I order the homemade potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream and pistachios ($25.00). I just love gnocchi when it’s done right – soft, feather light pillows of starchy goodness. It’s so easy to get them wrong, especially when they’re cooked traditionally instead of pan fried. 
The gnocchi here ticked all the boxes – they’re so tasty and moorish, working well with the rich gorgonzola cream sauce, herbs and crumbs of pistachio nuts. It’s always a risk ordering something that has a cheese sauce because it often can overpower and become sickening. I can see why this dish is a favourite at L’Enoteca though because it’s executed extremely well. I really enjoy every bite, but I have to admit I am glad we ordered a side salad because I needed something to cut through the creaminess. 

Our choice of a simple rocket, pear and parmesan salad ($15.00) was exactly what I had felt like eating. For the price it’s a little on the pricier side of things and I wish that we’d been given side plates to eat it, rather than adding it to our pasta plates.

But taste wise it’s on the money – peppery, fresh rocket, salty parmesan and sweet pear with a good drizzle of balsamic. It’s definitely flavours I enjoy and I’m pleased to see that they’ve seasoned the salad with salt and pepper – something that’s often overlooked when dining out.

I wish after we’d finished our mains that I had had room for dessert – I usually always do! There was a very tempting sounding vanilla pannacotta with aged balsamic strawberries that was calling my name. But I knew for once that I was full enough and shouldn’t keep going, much to my disappointment! That’s what I get for eating so much throughout the day!

All in all, I’m pleased to say that in crossing off L’Enoteca off my wish list of dining venues, I’ve discovered a place that I really enjoyed. It’s a homely, friendly restaurant with traditional style dishes that are delicious and pleasing. Definitely a great addition to Perth’s list of Italian eateries.

L'Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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  • Reply
    3 October 2014 at 11:43 am

    This place is great!! Esp. love the aranchini πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    5 October 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I did spy those but didn't order them! There's always next time! πŸ˜›

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