For restaurateur Lucio Galletto, food and art go hand in hand

For restaurateur Lucio Galletto, food and art go hand in hand

Ligurian-born Lucio Galletto's restaurant, Lucio's, has sat in a corner terrace house on a street in Sydney's of leafy Paddington since 1983.

Renown for its art, as much as its food, the restaurant was named by London's The Independent

newspaper, as one of the five top restaurants for art in the world, alongside La Colombe d'Orin Provence, Sketches and Ivy in London and the Four Seasons in New York.

The restaurant has always attracted artist patrons. Painter John Olsen has been eating here since before Lucio took over the space when the restaurant was known as The Hungry Horse Art Gallery and Restaurant. The collection, which covers the walls of the space, floor to ceiling, is comprised of works by leading contemporary Australian artists. It is Lucio's personal collection in its entirety, not an exhibition. Every single piece is a gift from a friend. As the collection continues to grow and evolve, works are moved and swapped with others.

The collection began, by chance in1984. Artist Sidney Nolan was dining at the restaurant and sketched an image of Ned Kelly on a table docket. Lucio was so excited that he framed it, and proudly hung it on the wall. So moved was Nolan that he presented Lucio with a painting. And so began a mutual admiration society between great art and great hospitality.

“Over the years we have built an extensive collection of artists through the friendships that Ihave with them,” says Lucio.

There are works by John Olsen, John Coburn (both of whom designed menus which have also been archived in the Macquarie Library) Tim Storrier, Michael Johnson, John Beard, Fred Cress (the cover for Lucio's book The Art Of Food, Salvatore Zofrea, Martin Sharp, Gary Shead, Charles Blackman, Colin Lancely, Ken Johnson, Margaret Woodward, Sandra Levinson, Robert Juniper, David Larwill as well as younger artists - Jason Benjamin, Andrew Taylor, and Luke Sciberras, who contributed to Lucio's latest book, The Art Of Pasta.

In 1988, to celebrate 15 years of the restaurant being in Paddington, Lucio asked 15 of his artist friends to each paint a ceramic plate with a design, style and medium of their choosing. This unique collection hangs near the entrance to the kitchen and can be seen by all who walk into the restaurant.

“Food and art for me are like the air that I breathe. I grew up in the family restaurant in Italy where we had an art gallery, so it has always been in my blood. It is very important for me personally and also I think for our customers as well. The combination of great food, great service and great art on the walls is, in my view, one of the best dining experiences you can imagine.”

47 Windsor Street,
Paddington NSW 2021
Phone +61 2 9380 5996

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