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First Look: Lucio's Marina

17 Jan 2022

Author: Liz Bond

Via our friends at Delicious magazine. Word Liz Bond.


The Sydney stalwart has had a sea change.

Pop the Prosecco. Sydney’s hottest Italian crossed the border and opened in Noosa. Lucio’s Marina magically combines that renowned Galletto hospitality with seafood that stirs the soul.

When Sydney’s much-loved Lucio’s Paddington closed after 38 years, it was only ever arrivederci. Lucio and Sally Galletto’s son Matteo, daughter Michela and Matteo’s wife, chef Dieuwke Albertsma, have sea-changed to Noosa and transformed the former River Deck site into a relaxed trattoria and all-day aperitivo bar.

It was 1950 when the sibling’s grandparents opened Capannina Ciccio in Bocca di Magra on Italy’s Ligurian coast. Now, a new generation brings the family business back to its roots.

Marine timber flooring leads to a circular bar and a room over the river, comfortably opening to the Noosa breeze courtesy of bi-fold glass. Come afternoon, the deck is the place to be with plump sand-coloured sofas made for lounging with colourful sundowners in hand. Unlike Paddington, art is pared back to a single wall with John Beard’s famed portrait of Lucio taking centre stage.

With 50-seats for aperitivi and 70 for the restaurant, the airy space seems to continue out into the Noosa blue. Wine shelving juts from black washed timber with moody wallpaper accents.

Costa Rican-born chef Alejandro Soto has worked across the globe but cemented his love of all things Italian at Giovanni Pilu’s eponymous Sydney seafood fine-diner.

“Our inspiration is an Italian seaside trattoria where there is plenty of seafood antipasti, a good selection of pasta, fish fillets … Here, the soul is Italian with modern techniques from everywhere. So simple. Letting the produce shine and adding a surprise with technique or presentation”, Matteo explains.

Local artist Shelley Pugh’s custom clamshell ceramics are filled with spanking-fresh seafood. “Our big tables and large share plates mean people can spread out and relax”, Matteo assures.

Chef Soto riffs on the classics with a traditional fritto misto with calamari, school prawns, whitebait and bergamot aioli. House-made pasta? The famed tagliolini all granseola 1983 made the trip north. Spaghetti ai ricci di mare is Italian with a Japanese accent – enriched with Tasmanian sea urchin cream and spangled with salmon roe. Swordfish salumi sparkles with pickled green tomato and crisp, Sardinian flatbread.

Michela’s punchy wine list showcases crisp wines that scream Italian beachside, classic Australian drops, as well as newer producers and natural, minimal intervention wines. Seven whites, seven reds, a rose, chilled red and orange wine, Prosecco and champagne make up the by-the-glass list. Thirst-quenching signature cocktails run from a blood orange granita margarita, a yuzu margarita with Japanese chill and four different takes on the negroni.

“Anticipation of us opening here has been humbling and inspiring”. But, as Matteo observes, “The pressure is real, and we’re all conscious that we have to deliver.”

Now might not be the time for double-cheek kisses. Save it for your next visit to Lucio’s Marina. A simple arriverderci promises you’ll be back.

Visit Lucio's Marina for restaurant bookings and menus.

Looking for more Noosa inspiration? Discover a whole world of destinations to enjoy the best beaches, rivers and hinterland experiences.

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