Kensington Street's Sicilian restaurant serving traditional dishes with contemporary flourishes.
Monique Lane
Published on May 01, 2023
Updated on October 09, 2023


The Kensington Street precinct, with the refurbished Old Clare Hotel as its anchor, is home to a variety of hospitality operators and cuisines. From the casual Asian 'eat street' Spice Alley to the suave Automata and the ever-evolving dining spaces upstairs, diners have no shortage of options in this area.

So where to choose? Well, if you're a reasonably well-heeled middle-aged couple, have been tasked with taking out the in-laws, or are just in search of some nice hand-made pasta, you might head to Olio.

It's a generous space, located on the top of The Old Rum Store, it has really lovely heritage bones, big arched windows and bare brick walls. Nicely spaced tables and double linens give it a step up from street-level, although the interiors have been jazzed up with some blue and green touches and wrap-around lighting on the bar which both seem at odds with the rustic vibe of the building itself.


olio - italian restaurant in sydney

From the large open kitchen, Sicilian-born chef Lino Sauro is still serving food from his motherland with some contemporary flourishes. Antipasti includes a big-eye tuna loin carpaccio with "Salamoreci sauce", tomato and garlic shoots, and a smoked burrata with compressed blood plum, roasted almonds and mint oil.

The traditional Italian zuppa — in this case, a rich Gattopardo seafood stew — is, without fail, one of the most delicious seafood things in a bowl we've ever eaten. It's Olio's signature dish, and with good reason. The rich broth holding a variety of seafood like clams, prawns and mussels that are each perfectly cooked is everything you want from a dish like this — it feels like it's come straight from Nonna's kitchen.

Finish with the tiramisu — it's proper Italian-style with soaked sponge and not too much cream, although the crunchy cocoa topping will delight some and divide purists.

Overall, Olio is a great reflection of Sauro's heritage and his eye for presentation and less traditional flavour combinations.

olio - italian restaurant in sydney

Images: Lauren Commens.


Appears in:

The Best Italian Restaurants in Sydney for 2023


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