I absolutely love the ocean and really adore fresh fish and seafood. If I had to choose between a good piece of meat or fresh fish and seafood, I think fish and seafood would win every time, although I do love my meat! To me seafood is a delicacy and a treat, but since living in Sydney I have definitely had my fair catch of the day!
Tonight, we were craving something fishy and decided to try out La Perla, an Italian seafood restaurant in Gladesville that we have passed numerous times, but yet to try out. Parking was easy enough along one of the side streets and luckily for us we managed to secure a table, even though we didn’t have a booking. I was surprised at this as it was a Saturday night, but it was still early.
A waitress showed us to a table close to the door and provided us with menus to peruse. She also pointed us towards the Specials Board, which was crammed full of at least ten specials to choose from, which for me was a frustrating experience as they all sounded amazing!
As we were deciding what to eat, we ordered a glass of wine each and some tap water for the table. La Perla is quite an expensive restaurant, on par with the likes of Nicks in Darling Harbour, but as I was on a budget I decided to avoid the more pricey dishes, which included barramundi and other whole fish dishes.
Eventually, we decided on one of the special entrees to share – the Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with three cheeses ($17). For mains, I went with a pasta dish, Spaghetti Marinara (spaghetti with mixed prawns, mussels and calamari in a tomato based sauce) which cost $24, a reasonable price in my opinion. My boyfriend went for the grilled fish of the day served with vegetables.
As well as seafood and pasta dishes, La Perla also does authentic woodfired oven pizzas and these looked pretty good.
Whilst we waited for our entrees to arrive, I noticed that the restaurant was pretty busy, and many locals and regulars were dining here, which I thought must mean the food must be good. La Perla has been established for almost 40 years so it must have a good reputation, at least that’s what I would expect.
Our entrees soon arrived and our Stuffed Zucchini Flowers looked a little sorry for themselves, but they were crispy and presentation was good. There was just three on the plate and were a bit too greasy. As we were sharing we ended up cutting one in half, but there wasn’t much to them. A disappointing start.
About 15 or so minutes later, our main dishes came out and my Spaghetti Marinara looked inviting and appetising. There was plenty of it and lots of sauce so the spaghetti wasn’t too dry. There was also a good amount of seafood on the plate; however the prawns were slightly overcooked which meant they were a little on the tough side which was a shame. The tomato sauce was delicious though and I polished this off.
My boyfriend’s fish also looked appetising and was served with seasonal vegetables which included zucchini, capsicum, pak choy and broccoli. However, I think it would’ve been good if some grilled cherry tomatoes were served with the dish as well to add a burst of flavour.
From here, we had a long wait for a dessert menu and for the waiters to clear the table. When the menu did arrive, I faced more contemplation on what to eat. I was torn between the three scoops of homemade gelato, crepes served with strawberries and mascarpone, or the caramelised figs with vanilla gelato which was a special. In the end, I thought I should try the gelato and opted for the caramelised figs.
10 or so minutes passed and we were still waiting for dessert. Our waiter actually brought out the bill thinking that we had finished dining and were waiting for the bill. We had to tell him that we were still waiting for dessert which he was surprised by. This soon appeared about 5 minutes later with some sincere apologies.
As soon as I dug into the figs I wish I hadn’t ordered it. The figs were hardly caramelised and didn’t have the nicest flavour to them. There was only a tiny bit of caramelisation which was a shame as the vanilla gelato was actually pretty nice. Not sure if this was due to being a rushed job or not though. However, it was beautifully presented and eyecatching.
We soon ordered the bill and ended up getting up to pay to avoid waiting any longer. Overall, the food was pretty average and not as good as I had hoped, especially for the price we paid. This was a shame as the menu did look appetising and the restaurant was busy. Maybe we just chose the wrong entrée and dessert, as my main was lovely. However, what really let the experience down was the slow service which wasn’t up to scratch.
Because of this service, I don’t think I would come back to La Perla in a hurry.