Candelori’s (Spring 2015) – Smithfield (Sydney)

Candelori’s is a long-running, well-known restaurant in Western Sydney that more recently went through a major rework and now stands as, quite possibly, the best looking restaurant in the area. Step through that massive door and you’ll be met with an imposing space, designed to fit over 200 diners by stalwart design group DS17, who are responsible for the gorgeous fit-outs of CBD restaurants like Alpha and Lotus Galeries.

The reason for my recent visit was to try a new dessert menu that the owners seem incredibly proud of, and of course, dig into to some of the best pizza and pasta in the West.

With a kitchen that likes to cover all bases, Candelori’s have a very comprehensive menu and so it’s almost impossible to get a feel of the restaurant in just one sitting. I already got a good feeling for their pizzas on my first visit and their pastas on some subsequent sittings so felt a bit more free to explore the starters and the meats.


The Beef Carpaccio ($24) seemed like a good place to start. The beef is ultra thin, with the slices forming a circle with fried baby capers, rocket, shaved parmigiano reggiano, and a light truffle dressing. The overuse of oil slightly dampens the flavour but there is enough here to liven up the dish, particularly the capers of which my guest and I could not get enough of.

Scanning over their specials menu, it was hard to resist the oft-shunned tripe, especially at an Italian restaurant, so Braised Tripe ($24) was next up to the table. The dish is completed with pickled onion, parsley, tomato, celery, pecorino custard, and carrot, adding some necessary flavour to the very subtle offal. Tripe is hard to love, but the appeal is mostly in the texture: chewy and rubbery, slightly gelatinous. They do well to dress up the lack of actual flavour in the offal here, particularly with the custard, of which there really should have been a bit more.


There’s a section dedicated to maialino (pig) where you can build your own board of cured meats along with some fresh Italian cheeses and olives. Seeing as we weren’t in a rush to fit in as many pizzas and pastas as possible, this meat and cheese board was exactly what we needed. The Truffle Salami ($9) and House Made Mortadella ($9) were the two stand-outs with distinctive, strong flavours balanced with the beautifully fresh, locally sourced Mozzarella di bufala ($12) and rich Aged Buffalo Parmigiano ($12).


The Dry-Aged Tasmanian Rib-Eye ($89) is a current special, giving you more than enough to chew on at 800g, dressed with rosemary and garlic with a side of chimichurri. There’s enough here to share between three or even four (especially if you’re pairing it up with some starters).


You can’t dine at Candelori’s and not try at least one pizza, so we took a suggestion from the diligent staff, leading to the Salsiccie e Cime di Rapa ($25). The high, soft, and chewy crust is topped with fior de latte, scamorza, pork sausage, italian broccoli, and pecorino. The three different types of cheeses are melted down give you a base that is incredibly rich on the palate, driving the flavour while the soft pork sausage and steamed broccoli add texture.

In sticking to the traditional Neapolitan way of pizza-making, Candelori’s pizzas are nice and light so it’s easy to fit quite a bit in, assuming you haven’t already tested your limits with everything from cured meats to cheeses to steaks, while also trying to save at least some space for dessert.


Dessert was the primary reason we were here; Candelori’s new dolce section of their menu has seen a complete overhaul with new dishes focused on matching up with the spring/summer season and offering both indulgent and lighter options, balancing that with the kitchen’s adventurous sense of fun, obvious in those ever-so-tempting words that just fly off the menu and into your dreams: white chocolate mousse, raspberry jelly, blood orange, rhubarb jam, pistacchio custard – looking over the menu we kind of wished we paced ourselves.

The San Valentino ($16) (lead image; supplied) is a beautiful bright red heart of raspberry jelly and biscotti hiding smooth, creamy white chocolate mousse, sitting next to an icy ball mirroring the raspberry flavour. This is definitely something to order up if you want the perfect balance of rich and refreshing.

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Next was the Indulgence ($16), a 70% dark chocolate dome that you’d be able to see your reflection in, right before you smash it open and release all passionfruit curd housed in a chocolate moist biscuit.

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The most intriguing dessert (of the ones we tried) was the Baked Meringue ($16) which could prove to be a divisive order; sour with flavouring from the lemon powder sorbet, but fresh from the waves of rhubarb jam that comes spilling out from the centre of the meringue. Some poach apple and vanilla cream add a lovely, fruity richness but the sweet and sour pairing leans greatly towards the sour.

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My favourite was the nice and simple Semifreddo di Arancia ($16), looking like a lovely little caramel slice with super smooth milk chocolate, orange, and blood orange. It’s straight forward and the lightest of the desserts we tried, though packing quite a punch with it’s flavour, consistently rich with every spoonful, benefiting from the undeniable flavour of that orange always brings when it’s paired up with chocolate.

Candelori’s do well to offer so much variety while also ensuring that quality is kept consistent, with their new menu there has never been a better time to head along and experience what makes this western Sydney treasure one of the most in-demand restaurants in the area. With thick, textured hand-made pasta, a dedication to authentic Neapolitan pizza, and now a refined dessert menu, this is surely a substantial step forward for an establishment that has been around since the late 90’s.


Address: 685 The Horsley Dr, Smithfield NSW 2164
Contact: (02) 9729 1155


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.