The definition of “cantina” varies depending on whether you ask a Spaniard or an Italian. Italian cantinas are wine-focussed. In Spain they also serve food. Cantina 663 combines the two while drawing inspiration from across Europe for its breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
Though it’s located on one of Perth’s most vibrant streets, the cosy ambience and peppy staff would easily be at home on a small laneway in the Mediterranean. It’s the sort of place where you’ll come for the food and stay for a chat with your waiter.
The menu is truly seasonal. Those expecting tomatoes in winter or spring may find the otherwise common fruit conspicuously absent.
What is available is put to outstanding use. The beef cheek with smoked cauliflower, bacon and brussels sprouts is a savoury masterwork. The duck liver parfait with charred bread and onion jam hits the sweet spot between smoky, smooth and sweet.
Churros make a great dessert choice, setting a standard that chocolate franchises would struggle to reach at a similar price point. But really, the best way to experience Cantina 663 is with the $69 Chef’s Selection, which can include more than 10 separate plates.
The wine-list is skewed towards Italy, Spain and Portugal, with Western Australia also well represented. There’s something for any budget across the lengthy, varied list.