Food News

Lucio’s lives on

Sydney restaurant Lucio’s closed after a stellar 40-year run. But the story continues with the next-generation of the Galletto family making a seachange, and opening a waterfront trattoria in Noosa.

The dining room at Lucio's, Sydney.


Months after the closure of the long-running eastern Sydney terrace restaurant, the Lucio’s legacy lives on. But this time it’s across state borders, with water views and new blood.

Matteo and Michela Galletto, children of restaurateurs Lucio and Sally Galletto, are set to open Lucio’s Marina, a 60-seat seafood trattoria plus all-day aperitivo bar overlooking the Noosa River in November.

Consider it Lucio’s: The Next Generation. Less fine-dining, more made-for-sharing. Less eastern suburbs Sydney, more easy, breezy Noosa lifestyle. Dieuwke Albertsma, Matteo’s wife (the couple met at Lucio’s, where Dieuwke worked as a chef) is also onboard as a co-owner – she’s kickstarting a very of-the-now dry-aged fish program of tuna bresaola, swordfish pancetta and kingfish lonza for the waterfront restaurant.

But look closely and you’ll find the DNA of Lucio’s threaded through the marina. A small selection of sketches and portraits, plucked from the restaurant’s famous art collection, will hang on the walls. An Italian seafood-focused menu inspired by Capannina Ciccio, the trattoria in Liguria established by Matteo and Michela’s grandparents in the ’50s, and still operated by extended family to this day. And diners will likely comprise the rusted-on regulars who frequented Lucio’s of old. “It seems like half of our regular clientele have retired up here in Noosa,” says Matteo.

Lucio’s signature tagliolini alla granseola will return too. It was a mainstay of the menu since 1983, but it might be tweaked to accommodate Queensland produce. The blue swimmers could be replaced with Fraser Island mud crabs; the crustacean might be made the “star” of the dish, with the green tangles of pasta served on the side.

Lucio Galletto's tagliolini alla granseola

The tagliolini alla granseola has been on the Lucio’s menu since 1983.

(Photo: William Meppem)

Though Lucio’s Marina will look and taste different, it will feel the same. “We want to take that concept of care and passion behind all the dishes we did at Lucio’s,” says Matteo. “There will be that level of service that people would expect.”

With his wife Sally, Lucio Galletto ran his eponymous Lucio’s for four decades, but spent years trying to steer his children away from restaurant life. But the younger Gallettos couldn’t resist the allure of the industry.

“Even in the last 20 years of running Lucio’s, he said: Don’t follow me into restaurants,” says Matteo. “But then he gave me a job and I started working more, and studying less.” Even a disastrous first shift, where a teenaged Matteo spilled a glass of red wine over a customer’s white dress, wasn’t enough to deter him. “My sister and I were just drawn to the restaurant.”

Dieuwke Albertsma and Matteo Galletto will run Lucio’s Marina along with Michela Galletto.

(Photo: Supplied)

As for the lessons learnt from his restaurateur parents, he sums it up in three words: hospitality, honesty and consistency. It’s a modus operandi that extends not just to diners, but to staff as well. (In its 40-year history, Lucio’s went through just five head chefs, while one dishwasher was on the books for 15 years.) “Treat people the way you want to be treated, and you’ll people who want to keep coming to work every day, and customers who keep coming back to you.”

As for family, bloodlines and business, Matteo and Dieuwke have moved to the Sunshine Coast with their three-year-old daughter. It’s early days, but there’s signs the family passion for hospitality and seafood has passed on. “She’s a good eater. She’ll happily go through half a dozen oysters by herself.”

Lucio’s Marina is set to open in November 2021.

Lucio’s Marina, Noosa Marina, Tewantin, Qld

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