500 Beaufort Street, Highgate
Ph (08) 9227 7762
From Italy with Love
Ischia Ristorante is kind of famous for its pizzas.
Their wood-fired pizza oven is imported directly from Italy (Verona) and they have a dedicated pizza chef; just ask for Guglielmo. The pizza dough is made from specially selected flours and rested for around 48 hours, which helps to develop a light and fluffy crust the locals and Italian community alike regularly enjoy. The pizzas cook at 380ºC in around 2 Minutes. Wow.
Something else to note is that you can order pizzas in different sizes at 60cm, 120cm and 180cm designed for sharing over a glass of Italian or Western Australian wine from the carefully chosen wine list. These impressive pizzas come with three, four or six different toppings, respectively.
In the two years that Ischia has been operating, it has become part of the local Highgate community at a time when Mt Lawley’s Beaufort Street faces many challenges.
You appreciate the sense of tradition the moment you step into this family run restaurant, from the image of the Isle of Ischia on the wall to the extensive menu from Southern Italy, including dishes from the isle itself off the Italian coast near Naples.
Sebi Conte opened Ischia Ristorante with his brother Daniele in 2016 and has been in the restaurant business his whole working life. Head Chef Victor Chu has been with them since opening, and Sebiâ’s son, Lewis Conte now helps manage Ischia and says with a beaming smile, “My Nonna and Pappa still come over from Ischia from time to time. Nonna still cooks in the kitchen and tells the chefs how to do things her way.”
Our meal started with Spaghetti Marinara with a divine tomato sugo, al dente pasta, large plump prawns, mussels and other seafood with garlic, parsley, cherry tomatoes and a definite touch of chilli. We also enjoyed the calamari both grilled and fried, and served with homemade chilli jam, a sauce tartare and a fresh salad. This was one of the best calamari dishes I’ve had.
We chose the 2018 Pasqua Pinot Grigio (Veneto, Italy) to accompany our entrees. We felt it was an especially good match with the squid.
The Scaloppini Zingara followed – a regional dish of generous medallions of veal in a white wine, chilli and herb sauce served with perfectly seasoned roast potatoes, beans and carrots.
We couldn’t come to Ischia Ristorante without trying the pizza and Lewis and Daniele suggested we try the Pizza Ischia, which is another regional variation. This pizza had a deliciously light crust and did not actually have a tomato sugo base but instead showcased a variety of fresh ingredients which included San Daniele prosciutto (from the region), cherry tomatoes, oil, garlic, parsley, shaved parmigiano cheese and fresh rocket. We chose the 2016 McLaren Vale Shiraz, a full-bodied red to accompany our main courses and this smooth and highly regarded wine was perfect with our pizza.
To finish off we enjoyed the housemade tiramisu. It melted away in creamy mouthfuls bursting with flavour and was a great way to end our authentic Italian meal.
Ischia Ristorante has recently been named as a finalist in the 2019 Savour Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence in the Italian Restaurant category.
I might see you in there at a table with a metre of pizza and a glass of red sometime soon.
by Liz Packwood