Lucio Galletto OAM hails from a Ligurian family of restaurateurs.
His first job in Sydney in 1977 was at the fondly remembered Natalino’s Restaurant in Kings Cross, where he quickly became the Manager. (See the photo circa 1979 on right – Natalino, Lucio and chef Mario)
Lucio’s Italian Restaurant first appeared in Balmain in 1981, then transferred to Paddington in 1983.
This Paddington site originally housed the Hungry Horse Art Gallery and Restaurant, renowned for both excellent food and avante-garde contemporary art, with such early greats as John Olsen, Colin Lanceley & Robert Hughes (before he decided he was more suited to the role of the art critic) exhibiting regularly.
Lucio has co-incidentally continued and enhanced this harmonious tradition with food and art.”Food and art for me is like the air that I breathe. I grew up in the family restaurant in Italy where we had an art gallery, so it has always been in my blood. It is very important for me personally and also I think for our customers as well. The combination of great food, great service and great art on the walls is, in my view, one of the best dining experiences you can imagine.”
It is very much a family business, with son Matteo curating the extensive wine list and managing the floor, daughter Michela showing her versatility both in the office and with her front of house skills, and wife Sally manning the phones, email and website.
The Lucio’s kitchen remains true to Lucio’s motto “We follow the season, not the fashion”,
Lucio’s has been consistently recognized over many years and currently holds, among many other awards, a place in the Australian newspapers top 50 Hot restaurants for 2013, two hats in the SMH Good Food Guide, one star and two wine glasses in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards, and the Insegna del Ristorante Italiano, a plaque personally presented to Lucio by the Italian President in recognition of excellence in Italian cuisine outside of Italy.
On a more personal note Lucio was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours June 2008. “For service to the community through contributions as a restaurateur and author, and to the support of arts organisations.”
Lucio was also the proud recipient of the SMH Silver Service Award in 2009.
Although not a trained chef, Lucio is a great cook and enjoys leading the occasional masterclass to share his love and knowledge of his beloved Ligurian cuisine at the Sydney Seafood School, Noosa Food Festival and of course the CIRA Cooking School.
Lucio has written five books to date. The latest “The Art of Traditional Italian” was published in November 2014.
- 2011 “The Art of Pasta” Highly awarded and beautiful book – signed copies available for sale on this website .
- 2008 “Lucio’s Ligurian Kitchen” Written by Lucio Galletto & David Dale, Photography by Paul Green.
Paperback versions are available for sale on this website and at the restaurant.
- 2007 “Soffritto. A Delicious Ligurian Memoir” (lived by Lucio Galletto, written by David Dale with photography by Paul Green. Both hardback and paperback versions are available for sale on this website and at the restaurant.
- 1999 “The Art of Food at Lucio’s“, which has since sold out three reprints.
Lucio is a founding member and past President of CIRA – Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia – a non-profit association whose motto is “Innovation within Tradition” and whose main aims are to:
- Safeguard Italian culinary cultures
- Increase public knowledge of both traditional and evolving values in Italian food
- Encourage informed experimentation in the industry
- Encourage members to strive for excellence in their respective market niches
- Provide support and advice to members in relevant aspects of restaurant operation
- Educate the public with Hands On and Demonstration Classes at The CIRA Cooking School
Lucio encourages anyone with a love of Italian food to become a member or friend of CIRA.
For further information please visit their website at cira.com.au
Lucio’s “Locally Famous” video
Lucio was approached by MasterCard to be a part of their “Locally Famous” campaign.
This 3 minute video was made on site and we are thrilled with the result, which just perfectly captures what Lucio’s is all about.