Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne
Where are the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne? Melbourne has great Italian restaurants, whether fine dining or casual styles. Many Italian restaurants in Melbourne are world class. Here are our favourites (no particular order). It's an evolving list too.
Cafe Di Stasio
Church St Enoteca
Beautiful food in a beautiful setting makes Rosette by Neil Perry a standout destination. Come here for a memorable Italian fine dining experience, with stunning Italian decor that impresses. The quality of produce is exceptional; we enjoyed a lazy weekday lunch with the cares of the world dissipating. This is not the "traditional with a twist" Italian restaurant you often see, which is all good, but more a nod to the classic done with flair.
Grossi Florentino is a famous Melbourne institution with Guy Grossi a master of Italian cuisine, whether in the kitchen, running a restaurant, or on the TV. Italian food is a lifestyle and Grossi Florentino an extension of Italian food passion. The upstairs is more formal, while the downstairs is a casual eatery. Guy Grossi has produced the best truffle dishes we've ever tasted and is a truffle maestro. Check out the finery and Florentine theme with murals. Yellowfin Tuna impresses as does Suckling Pig; classic yet welcome diversity and modern touches in the dishes. Images: Grossi Florentino Instagram.
Cecconi's is a perennial favourite with The World Loves Melbourne, where we have dined with several friends and always been inspired. Cecconi's has heart and soul; a labour of love and is a superb dining ambience downstairs in basement style. Nonna Olimpia Bortolotto has been an Italian cooking sensation for decades. Diners love this place for its rustic and rewarding fare, and periodic renovations and menu changes ensure this Italian sensation is always moving forward. Professional service is impressive and the decor is fitting of a hatted fine dining restaurant with a homely air. Cecconi's always satisfies with its fish and meat dishes including John Dory, their take on Fish n chips, or ease into Lamb Shoulder or Pork Rump. Desserts also excite.
Cafe Di Stasio
Cafe De Stasio is another Melbourne Italian institution serving classic lux food. To dine here is an experience; not just the traditional Italian food but sophisticated ambience with artistic fine decor and top notch service. Linen cloths and bow ties beckon. Check out Scallops oven baked in the shell or Char grilled quail, and the Linguine with prawns and the Pan fried escalope of baby veal. A St Kilda icon. Images: Cafe De Stasio Instagram.
The Grand, Richmond
The Grand enthrals with a captivating grand dining space in Richmond, and a selection of traditional Italian fare with a twist. Exceptional Italian dining with a consistency over the years. Service and hospitality is also exceptional here. The World Loves Melbourne has dined here several times and we love the hospitality as much as the food. Barnie Bouchard is a fabulous host who exudes hospitality. Traditional and modern fair come together and the chefs are highly trained often with top notch experience in leading restaurants in Italy. The Carpaccio is legendary, as is the Gnocchi, brown butter and sage. Oven roasted lamb rack and Char grilled scotch fillet also impress.
Church St Enoteca
Church St Enoteca is a superb fine dining Italian restaurant in Richmond that is the perfect place for any occasion. When we dined there we witnessed a marriage proposal at the next table; the response of "yes" added to the joy of the evening. While the decor is classic the food pushes the boundaries and brings a modern Italian offering. Check out the Salumi Board, the House Smoked Trout, Wild Mushrooms with Truffled Egg Yolk, and the White Rocks Veal Cheek. We love the look of the private dining room for any function. Parking nearby is easy. Images: Church St Enoteca Instagram.
In a world of fusion there can be confusion as Melbourne diners are seeking authentic Italian experiences, not pretenders trying to do Italian. Step up L'Altro Mondo in Albert Park. L'Altro Mondo (the name means "another world") is a stunning Italian restaurant forging its identity through a reputation for authenticity with acclaimed Italian chef Domenico De Marco (ex Rockpool Group and Glass Brasserie in Sydney) and front of house of the highest calibre (Elyse Woodward-Brown ex Rockpool Group).
Born in Milano, raised in Imola, Bologna, but with his both of his parents originating from Calabria, Domenico brings knowledge from the southern, northern and central Italy to his pans. His extensive resume (can't believe he just turned 30) includes a slew of one star Michelin Italian restaurants including Il Povero Diavolo (Torriana), Ristorante L ‘erbe del re (Modena) and at the Four Seasons Hotel (Florence). In Australia, Domenico has worked with renowned chefs such as Luke Mangan and Neil Perry at the Rockpool Group. A cosy restaurant of some 50 covers, at L’Altro Mondo there is a choice of degustation or a la carte menus. Domenico describes his food as ‘contemporary cuisine with an Italian influence’. This is not confused fusion but rather dishes with clear lineage and subtle, yet sometimes surprising flavor combinations. Says Domenico; “I like to excite and challenge the way people think about what can be done to Italian food and Italian cooking techniques.”
You will find dishes here you may not find anywhere else in Melbourne. A triumph was the Antipasti with exceptional cured house made meats. Domenico prides himself in this area and brought out some of his hanging meats from out the back. Again, it's not everyday we enjoy first class Cured pork loin, with nuance of chilli around the edges.
And it's not everyday we enjoy Pig's head as part of an antipasti - using the top of the pig's head. We also imbibed the specialty of Bresaola, the house cured air dried beef, rocket parmesan, tomato, with balsamic dressing. L'Alto Mondo's antipasti dish was a clear step up from the normal prosciutto and salamis you get at most Italian restaurants.
Da Noi is raved upon by some of the best Italian foodies in Melbourne. We've been getting into Sardinian cooking lately and Da Noi is a Sardinian standout in Melbourne. No menu as such just enjoy the ride and put your faith in the kitchen. We love paddock to plate and Da Noi loves sharing ingredients straight from their Yarck farm. You can only do this if you're good. Images: Da Noi Instagram.
Becco delights with its charming elegant decor, and rustic Italian offerings using fresh quality ingredients. Becco delivers what the diners want, the comfort food side of Italian cuisine, whether it be Tortellini filled with pork or Linguine with braised cuttlefish, or Duck Risotto. The restaurant has a light and airy ambience by day and romance by night. A Melbourne laneway legend.
Sarti is a popular modern Italian restaurant, with a New York 50s style feel. Traditional cuisine with a modern twist. Known for its style, you often see the fashion crowd dining here. We've dined her on several occasions, with a recent change to the fit out and design. The restaurant has always been chic and keeps evolving. This is a restaurant for innovative interpretations of Italian fare. It's worth noting that in Italy itself many of the top chefs indulge in innovative interpretations of traditional classics. Images: Sarti.
Tip 00 is a sensation, having become a hatted restaurant in it's first year of operation. It takes rustic Italian to another level. A small chic restaurant in Little Bourke St, it is a pasta bar with quality traditional flour used in the cooking. Pasta is hand made of course. Bentwood chairs and marble top gives it a refined ambience. Imbibe a Duck ragu gnocchi or a Tagliolini al nero, orthe Tipomisu for a delightful take on Tiramisu; or order the Chef's menu that is great value for $60.
Il Bacaro exudes a classic and romantic atmosphere with a menu that delights featuring top notch Spaghettini with Moreton Bay Bugs, Octopus Risotto, Rabbit Ragu, Beef Cheek; or rustic dishes like Braised goat with porcini, and Suckling Pig with cauliflower.
House made pasta and a rustic setting in the middle of the action in Bourke St has made this a popular destination. We've dined here several times and consider it to be a Melbourne icon with a high degree of authenticity. House made pasta is delightful; dishes such as the Squid ink tagliolini and the Wild Clover slow cooked lamb are a triumph, as is the Sangiovese slow braise short rib dish. Ambience is of Italian classic in a superb location; also not far from theatre locations.