Gilruth Avenue, Mindil Beach, Darwin NT 800
Ph. (08) 8943 8940
In the business for 26 years, his experience and Italian roots are obvious on the menu of il Piatto (“the plate”). He directs a large and busy team of chefs within full view of diners behind the glassed-in kitchen. Nearby tables afford a shifting panorama as whole fish are tossed in giant pans, the wood-fired oven blazes, and smiling staff bustle here and there. The restaurant looks out towards the ocean, with seating available indoors or on the deck. Decor is elegant, understated and contemporary, with subtle lighting and excellent acoustics. The setting perfectly complements Paolo’s exquisite sense of aesthetics – his food is as beautifully presented as it is flavoured. Organic ingredients are used wherever possible, many sourced direct from Italy, and bread, pizza dough and pastas are handmade, as are the delicate sorbets and rich desserts. This is quality dining with a personal touch.
A substantial wine list accompanies the menu which is a mix of exotic and classic Italian dishes, plus degustation platters. Classic pizzas and pastas contrast with wild boar, quail, swordfish, clams and the striking squid ink risotto nero. For something truly magnificent, look for the giant gourmet pizzas. The pizza stravagante is topped with Wagyu beef, foie gras, fresh truffles, lobster, aged cacio di bufala cheese and fresh cherry tomatoes. The even more extravagant pizza Principe di Salina is a seafood treasure trove including pearl meat. And the prize for pure indulgence goes to the $300 foccacia vecchio impero Romano. It’s garnished with an array of epicurean ingredients including slivers of joselito – reputed to be the world’s finest prosciutto, having been cured for 12 years.