Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne 2021
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; one of the best things to do in Melbourne is to visit a standout iconic Melbourne Italian restaurant. . Here are our favourites (no particular order). It's an evolving list too.
Grossi Florentino - CBD
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.
Pepe's Italian & Liquor - CBD
Pepe's Italian & Liquor has made a large impression with its stylish fit out and sexy Italian dishes and cocktails. Pasta is top notch with standout Tortellini and Spicy Rigatoni Vodka or check out the pasta tubes with creamy sauce Bucatini All'Amatriciana (guanciale, napoli, chilli). Or the epic Veal Parmiagana.
Giro D'Italia - St Kilda Rd Melbourne
Carlton has always been the location for great Italian restaurants and Giro D'Italia brings authenticity in celebration the regional food of Italy. Just like the famous bike race Giro D'Italia takes you on a culinary journey or grand tour around Italy.
Visit an iconic Victorian building on Rathdowne Street with modern decor and vibe, with chef Domenico De Marco (ex Rockpool Group) bringing honest dishes with excellent technique.
Top notch pasta and ragu dishes, superb roast chicken and a sensational , plus possibly the best Tiramisu and Panna Cotta in Melbourne.
Vegetarians rejoice over this Pumpkin tortelli pasta.
Cotoletta alla Valdostana is the ultimate dish for schnitzel lovers; rolled with a rolling pin and folded like a wallet and infused with creamy fontina cheese and smoked ham.
Roast chicken cooked confit style in the juices of the chicken.
Tiramisu without all the cream but elegant and made with a pâte a bombe.
Rosetta - Crown
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.
Cecconi's - CBD
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 - St Kilda and now Di Stasio Citta (hottest new restaurant)
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.
For casual Sicilian cuisine enjoy an authentic experience at local legent Bar Idda in Brunswick East. Coming here is like visiting an old friend. Dishes are made to share and the decor is not stiff or formal in the slightest, but cosy and welcoming. Bar owner Alfredo La Spina serves up tasty Sicilian fare with heart and generosity. Check out the wine served in carafes, the shared banquet, and the sexy Maccaruni twirled pasta with ragu.
Matteo's - Fitzroy
Matteo's is another iconic Italian inspired restaurant that has captivated Melbourne for years, with Matteo Pignatelli at the helm. The menu changes over the years with a Modern Australian touch but elements of European cuisine and Italian classics are often at the fore. Current menu features Tuna rilettes, Romsey Ranges Lamb and Poached Veal Fillet. A touch of class in Fitzroy.
Massi - CBD
The World Loves Melbourne was invited to a media dinner at Massi owned by Melbourne’s Sicilian son, Chef Joseph Vargetto in Melbourne’s Little Collins Street. The little brother to iconic Kew eatery Mister Bianco, Massi offers morning coffee and cakes, lunch and the popular aperitivo hour. We are fans of Mister Bianco, but we soon discovered Massi has a rich personality of its own.
This is a romantic labour of love with fine food and wine and a chic atmosphere conducive to conviviality. We enjoyed dishes like the Fried Caciocavello and lemon (top above), a kind of stretched curd cheese, and a feature of Southern Italy.Organic pork, pistachio and black garlic terrine with pear and grain mustard relish was also a compelling dish.
Inspired by travels through northern Italy and named after Joe Vargetto's youngest child, Massimo, Massi seats 50 guests and specializes in the simple and graceful dishes of Piedmont. It also offers a crudo antipasto corner where diners can be entertained with the chefs at work, slicing salami, pistachio mortadella and more.
Da Noi - South Yarra
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 - CBD
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 - CBD
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 - CBD
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 - CBD
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.
Bottega - CBD
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.