TRATTORIA Ilaria is literally overflowing with red and white checkered tablecloths.
It’s not a sign of a restaurant in the throes of senility, but a knowing wink to the good old days of Italian cuisine and hospitality.
Situated on the corner of Angove and Fitzgerald Streets, Ilaria has massive bay windows, creating an entertaining vista of pedestrians and vehicles fizzing by.
The interior is cosy, featuring leather bench seats and a stylish bar with pendent lights and illuminated bottles of spirits.
Setting off the interior is a huge photo of an Italian courtyard that occupies the entire length of one wall.
The menu has a classic range of Italian entrees, pasta, and meat and seafood dishes. It also includes a small number of kids dishes and $17 pasta nights on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Interestingly there were no pizzas, but I suspect this was down to some nearby Italian restaurants specialising in them.
The trattoria was pretty busy on a Tuesday night, but the kitchen was incredibly quick and our meals were out in well under 10 minutes.
I went for the risotto funghi ($28) from the specials menu, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The huge plate was teeming with thinly sliced mushrooms which had that intense flavour you only get with the finest produce.
The creamy risotto had the perfect consistency (no gluggy rice here) and was sprinkled with a lovely assortment of herbs.
Rounding the dish off was some grana padano cheese, which made the dish slightly decadent and moreish.
There weren’t many flavour surprises in the risotto, but it was a first-class and very satisfying dish.
My only grumble was serving it in a shallow bowl, which meant the food presented well but tended to cool faster.
Across the table my young kids were getting tore into their rigatoni ragu ($10) and fried calamari ($14).
My son wolfed down his yummy pork and beef tomato ragu with no complaints, but my daughter said her crumbed calamari was too salty. I had a taste and can confirm she was on the money.
Thankfully the accompanying chips, homemade tartar and salad garnish helped redeem the dish.
My wife was busy scooping up large ribbons of home-made pasta in her pappadelle ragu ($17).
“You can tell the pork and beef ragu has been slow-cooked to perfection; it has that deep rich flavour and just a hint of smokiness.”
“The fresh pasta is delicious and beautifully cooked. It’s a very comforting and enjoyable dish.”
The service was excellent throughout with the smiley waitress attending to our needs, and plenty of staff ensuring a quick turnaround.
Trattoria Ilaria does what it says on the tin with comforting Italian classics that remind you of nonna in her prime.
The staff are very welcoming and going by the patronage on a Tuesday night, it has become a cosy pair of slippers for many locals.
By STEPHEN POLLOCK
10 Angove Street North Perth
Open Tuesday – Sunday