Il Lido

Italian espresso bar and restaurant, Il Lido, is just as busy as the corner it sits on. Directly across from Cottesloe beach, the joint is buzzing all day, with locals and visitors alike. Open for brekky, lunch and dinner, and serving up some seriously good espresso, it’s not hard to understand why.

The beach-front location in itself is magical, but what really sets this place alight is the magic it draws from its heritage as The Lido Cabaret. Originally developed as a cabaret hall and popular night spot next to the Lido Gardens, the site retains some of its old-world charm with art-deco stylings, and is still just as popular!

From the outside, it almost looks like a corner deli store, with a big yellow stripe painted across white walls, above the long glass windows and doors. There’s an outdoor, alfresco area, where locals can sit with their dogs, and watch the foot-traffic go by as they wait for their food.

Inside, the rustic exterior is met with high ceilings and ornate wall-to-wall wine racks that tower over rows of seated diners. Long communal tables, all set and ready, create a sense of community as diners sit side-by-side. There’s something very Italian about the whole experience, seamlessly bringing people together with good food and too much wine.

The physical presence of the wine racks makes sense when you see the impressive list collated by Dan Wegener, Australia’s most awarded sommelier. It features a mix of local and regional wines and what is probably WA’s most extensive selection of Italian wines. Thankfully, the waitstaff are equipped with a strong knowledge of wine and good banter, to help guide your selection.   

The management team describe the food as ‘cucina povera’, or Italian peasant food, which I guess would be accurate if the modern day peasant ate like a king. Think traditional house-made pasta including gnocchi, ravioli and risotto or freshly grilled fish of the day and specialty cut meats, cooked to order, it’s seriously good food. Plus, the portions are well-sized, leaving you with a satisfied belly and that in-between feeling of, “do I want dessert or am I full?” (the correct choice is dessert, always dessert). If you’re stuck in that awkward in-between meal phase, their antipasti plates should do the trick, piled with cured meats and fresh cheeses, they’re perfect for grazing.

The best thing about this little Italian canteen is that it caters to just about any taste, occasion and budget. Swing through after a morning swim and grab a coffee and a pastry to go, or spend a couple of hours watching the sun go down over the sea.

Like the suburb of Cottesloe, Il Lido is a mix of heritage and new, infused with culture and an appreciation for the little things in life, like good coffee, good wine, good food and the great outdoors.



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