I often wonder why Sandrino is always packed full of people, after having dine there for twice (first time mainly due to the amount of people in there, 2nd time visit wasn't even my choice), I still don't get it!
However, if you are looking for the Italian cafe atmosphere, I guess you will get it from here. You'll get to see chef in action on the left and a huge double wood fired pizza as the backdrop of the restaurant. Talk about atmosphere, there sure can provide it!
If you are care about the food quality, my advise to you is to give it a miss. I've read some really positive review about this restaurant, but having try it myself twice, it is indeed quite disappointing.
I brought visitors for lunch on a sunday after bringing them tour around Freo (that was my first visit). The room was a bit dark in the afternoon, not as lively, but the big wood fired pizza oven does add some character into the room.
We ordered spaghetti marinara, a sausage + olive pizza and a caesar salad.
Being such a popular Italian cafe among the local here in Freo, I would have expect their pasta to be good, unfortunately the tomato based sauce on the spaghetti was lacking in BIG flavour, i don't taste any herbs in it. It was a huge let down, as i always have impression that the Italian loves their fresh herbs and they love using herbs to bring the dish to the next level. Here in Sandrino, obviously doesn't believe in it!
So I thought maybe the pizza could help to change my impression towards them, but the dough was way too doughy, felt like i was chewing on gums. I would expect the base to be crispy because they are cooking them with a wood fired pizza. In terms of flavour, the pizza sauce was bland too, i only enjoyed picking out the sausages and olives on the pizza.
The caesar salad could just be one of the worst i've ever tasted, presentation was kinda empty, it was sauceless, baconless and crouton-less. I prefer my caesar salad with more bacon and croutons, right amount of eggs and just enough sauce coated on the lettuce.
Service too was a hit or miss, not great, not bad, just not good enough, we don't get the sense that they want us to be there. I may be ordering the wrong dish or we weren't there on the right day, but I wouldn't rush back as there are more better cafe/restaurant in freo that is doing a way better job.
Having said that, I went back to Sandrino after a couple of months, it was a group choice not mine! But I do hope that they are able to impress me this time around. Who doesn't deserve a second chance eh!
This is what we had, an entree Pizza Bianca with sausages and marinated olives, some spaghetti and a main size Garlic Prawn with rice.
The pizza is of the same quality, chewy and overly doughy, the sausage wasn't one of the top in Perth, my mate complaint that the porky smell was way too strong, it's not a very nice experience afterall.
Their spaghetti sauce is the main problem here, they were lacking in flavours. My mate had their Spaghetti Marinara and she said she can't even taste the seafood, we suspect that they blanch the seafood seperately and then only toss it with the sauce and spaghetti, what a shame! Although, i must admit, the Garlic Prawn regain their status by 20%, it was edible, ok and just alright. The prawns were bursty though, and who doesn't like garlic prawns cooked in butter and cream? They gotta be tasty!
We didn't stay for coffee, instead we went to Gino's just opposite Sandrino for a mellow cup of coffee.
Food: Wasn't up to par, I'll give it a miss
Service: Don't feel welcome nor friendly
Atmosphere: The pizza oven added some points here but the tables were so close together that makes it hard for you to go to the loo!
Price: On the average, just like your usual suburban cafe!
Will I ever be back: It's a big NO, if it's a group choice again, I'll insist not to go again.
Sandrino Cafe & Pizzeria Restaurant
95 Market Street
Phone: (08) 9335 4487