Claisebrook Cove always feels like somewhere in Europe to me: the little ferry, the bridge over the tranquil cove water and the restaurants, cafés and pub along the water’s edge. So, there’s no surprise that a traditional Italian restaurant is a perfect fit here.

Gioia (Joy-a) is the brainchild of Andrea and Lofa who had run Andiamo Cafe in Rockingham for eight years. Looking for a change of scenery they headed north and relocated their passion to Claisebrook Cove. As part of the Foodie Bucketlist earlier in the year we met Dan, the friendly general manager, as we arrived, and it soon was abundantly clear to us that he is also passionate about the food and location.

It was a beautiful winter’s day, so we decided to enjoy lunch el fresco style. The view overlooking water reflecting Mediterranean style buildings set the ambience beautifully. It was one of those occasions where we let those who know best choose from the generous menu.  Very soon we were tucking into an Italian classic, Marinara.

Now we are not talking about any old spaghetti marinara here. There was no skimping on the seafood which was perfectly cooked and included scampi, prawns, squid, mussels and pipis. To top it off, fried crunchy whole prawns and octopus were tossed in for good measure. The spaghetti is made on site and came out al dente.

If that wasn’t enough, Fish of the Day was served up: Today it was pan fried coral cod with a saffron and fennel broth and seasonal vegetables.

With all this seafood, a crisp New Zealand Sav Blanc was the perfect accompaniment. And while talking about wine, there is a great selection of classic Italian reds and whites to choose from.  

Following the mains, our indulgent sweet tooth was more than satisfied with three mini cannolis accompanied by a topping of French patisserie cream.  What better way to finish off a most enjoyable midweek lunch in a stunning waterfront location?  

Thank you to Gioia On The River for having us – we can’t recommend visiting them enough!