ABOUT THE RESTAURANT
Situated on the second floor of the Victorian-era Strand Arcade, The Restaurant Pendolino has offered the very best in Italian food, service and style since 2008, and is considered a veritable dining institution within the Australian dining landscape.
Amongst other awards, in its first year, The Restaurant Pendolino was named Best New Restaurant in Australia by Restaurant & Catering Australia, and was soon after awarded one Chef's Hat in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. In 2018, it was named Australia's Best Formal Italian Restaurant at the Restaurant & Catering Australia Awards for Excellence.
Since first entering the competition in 2016, The Restaurant Pendolino was awarded the Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year highest award status of 3 glasses.
In 2022, The Restaurant Pendolino was awarded Australia's Best Food and Wine-Matching Restaurant in the Australian Wine List of the Year awards.
The 'Olive Oil' Private Dining Room was also awarded Australia's Best Private Dining Room in 2017 in the Qantas Business Travel Awards.
Under the skilful guidance of Executive Chef/Proprietor Nino Zoccali, the restaurant specialises in regionally-inspired Italian cuisine, featuring some of Australia and Italy's most prestigious food and wine products on its evolving menu.
Named for the Tuscan Pendolino olive, the restaurant is a celebration of Australia's best extra virgin olive oils - a selection of which are served to each guest alongside Pendolino's freshly baked breads at the start of each dining experience.
Nino Zoccali, Executive Chef/Proprietor
Nino grew up in country Western Australia surrounded by quality produce. His mother was from the Prowse farming family in Capel, a family that has reared and tended livestock for almost 100 years. His father, a first generation Italian migrant, grew, harvested and hand-made just about everything that was ever placed on the dinner table, from artisan home-made charcuterie and tomato sugo to the highest quality homegrown meats and vegetables. Nino's love of Italian cuisine and deep connection to fine, fresh produce was born at this table and seeded a lifelong passion with sourcing premium produce and ingredients from Australia, Italy and beyond.
After completing a double degree in Economics and Italian, Nino pursued a career in the culinary arts. At 25, he opened his first restaurant, Caffe Contadino in Margaret River, attracting attention from its inception. In 1998, Nino moved to Sydney where he led the opening team of Otto Ristorante Italiano on Woolloomooloo Wharf. The restaurant received instant critical acclaim, and Nino has called Sydney home ever since.
After being approached by Murdoch books in 2010 to write a book about making quality pasta, Nino's career as a writer began. Nino subsequently authored two cookbooks, Pasta Artigiana and The Venetian Republic. He has deep knowledge of both Italian food and wine, and has written extensively about them in his books as well as in esteemed food and wine publications. Nino's regular trips to Italy inspire and inform his culinary style, and he also takes great pleasure in continuing to work with the Pendolino wine team to source and provide the finest wines from the diverse regions of Italy. Nino has been a regular member of the Australian National Olive Oil judging panel over the past 20 years, and is a strong advocate for Australian grown olives and Australian produced super premium extra virgin olive oil. The Restaurant Pendolino showcases Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the foundation of its evolving Italian menu.
SOME OF OUR AWARDS
Australian Wine List of the Year Awards, Australia's Best Food and Wine-Matching Restaurant: 2022
Gambero Rosso (Italy) Top Italian Restaurants Award – One Fork: 2022, 2023
Delicious Magazine Top 100 Restaurants (NSW/Sydney): 2018-2022
Australian Wine List of the Year Awards, Gourmet Traveller, 3 Glasses Top Category Rating: 2016-2020, 2023
RCA - Australia's Best Formal Italian Restaurant, Restaurant & Catering Australia: 2018
Qantas Business Awards – Australia’s Best Private Dining Room: 2017
RCA – Australia’s Best New Restaurant, Restaurant & Catering Australia: 2008
Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide: 2010 – 2023