Bottega is a top notch Italian restaurant in Melbourne in a precinct that has dominated the Melbourne culinary landscape for over 50 years. Check out our Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne.
Enter off Bourke into a modern vibey establishment with a touch of retro, and which is a place you can enjoy and let loose. Not starch and stuffy. Bottega is one of the giants of the culinary scene but is always adjusting and adding to the excellence that abounds.
The name Bogetta means “artist’s workshop” in Italian, and the creativity and imaginative presentation shines through. In Melbourne it’s common to highlight newly opened establishments but icons like Bottega should be celebrated for their strengths and quality, and new developments. We sampled the new autumn menu at Bottega (they do an express lunch) and were highly impressed. Several dishes struck us as signature dishes and nothing was below par.
The owner Denis is a charming man who is passionate about the industry having spent years in hospitality. He is an affable “people” person who loves Melbourne, loves the culinary scene and is always looking to bring something stunning. He gives space to his chef Gabriele Oliveri, an exceptionally talented chef, to express herself.
Bottega features engaging waiters who look sharp and are knowledgeable. There is fine linen on the tables and diners feel a sense of occasion as well as conviviality.
The wine list is well thought out and tailored to the menu, featuring great Victorian wines as well as the best of Italy. It’s a wine list which involves wines consumers will recognise, not just a list for fellow sommeliers.
The food here is an exceptional take on Italian classics with Australian influence. The lunch menu should please across the board. Presentation of dishes is also excellent. Bottega is not simply relying on its reputation but always seeking to expand its horizons.
The Salad of fresh tuna is tasty with tuna lightly seared and salad of green beans, cherry tomato, black olive and egg a great complement. The sliced veal is simple but enjoyable.
The Bruschetta is also a sublime dish with toasted bread topped with baccala mantecato and vincotto. That is, delicious black salted cod. A triumph.
Zucchini flowers with buffalo ricotta is delicate and flavoursome.
Bogetta serve amazing pasta including the Agnolloti (a kind of ravioli from the Piedmont region) filled with roasted tomato and burrata, with smoked eggplant puree, lemon rocket and balsamico. This age old Italian classic is superbly cooked at Bogetta with perfect pasta and great flavour profile in the stuffing.
A highlight for me is the Chargrilled ox tongue , salsa verde, anchovy and croutons. The meat is slow cooked and melts in the mouth with the rich but not overpowering flavours. Interesting with anchovy but the salt combines superbly with the meat. Croutons give great crunch.
Another highlight was the Pork belly which was perfectly cooked and tender with crackling on the side. The apple sauce was refreshing and quality not just token. One of the better pork belly’s in Melbourne.
The Pastifico Mennilli linguine prawn carbonara was sublime with fresh quality seafood cooked in a rich sauce. This is quality Italian pasta. Along with the ox tongue these two dishes were the standouts.
After all this the selection of House made sorbetti was delectable including chestnut, blood orange and white peach flavours. Again, refreshing.
Even the coffee here is excellent with the long mac superb.
All in all, I feel Bottega is a restaurant that sits in the top echelons of Italian cusine in a city that does Italian cuisine well.