italian restaurants carlton, melbourne

How Many Italian Restaurants Carlton, Melbourne?

Italian restaurants Carlton Melbourne are a dime a dozen. So how do you choose the best one? Well, that all depends on what you're looking for. 

Do you want an affordable option with classic Italian dishes? Or are you willing to spend a bit more on contemporary twists on traditional recipes? No matter what your preference is, we've got you covered. 

Check out our list of the best Italian restaurants Carlton offers and start planning your next culinary adventure!

The Carlton Italian Restaurants

Have you ever found yourself wondering how many Italian restaurants are in Carlton, Melbourne? If so, you're not alone. 

This is a common question that many people have. And while it's tough to give an exact number, we can estimate. Keep reading to learn more!

Bio by DOC

Across its stable of renowned Italian eateries, mozzarella bars and delis, the DOC Group (including DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar Carlton and Sydney, plus DOC Espresso Carlton) has earned a solid reputation for many things. 

That includes its signature pizzas and top-quality salumi selection; however, those classics are taking a backseat at the team's latest addition — a new restaurant dedicated to food that is entirely vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.

Bio by DOC has taken over the Carlton site once home to The Town Mouse, where long-time collaborators Studio Strom have added a refresh. Think locally-made custom furniture, a new green-coloured bar, a leafy back courtyard and some bright splashes of neon.

In the kitchen, veteran DOC Group chef Tomaso Bartoli is steering the new culinary concept, carefully intertwining the brand's trademark Italian sensibilities, but with all vegan and vegetarian ingredients. Not only is it a reminder that meat needn't be the cornerstone of a great food offering, but impressively, the entire menu is also gluten-free.

Snacks include the likes of mini eggplant parmigiana ($12) matched with burrata and a black cabbage pesto, plus a vegan-friendly tartare of grilled vegetables ($15) finished with capers, mustard and truffle paste. You can get your pasta fixed with plates like the charcoal spaghetti ($26); a beetroot casarecce finished with mushrooms and truffle paste ($31); and a vegan lasagne layered with spinach pasta sheets, lentil ragu and bechamel ($27). 

There's more plant-based fun to be had over on the dessert list, too — expect dishes like a classic tiramisu reworked with cashew cream ($14) and sweet potato pancakes with popcorn ice cream ($16).

From the drinks lineup, the vegan cocktail offering features sips like a Japanese twist on the negroni, plus the Oasis — which uses rum, coconut water and a pineapple shrub. There's also a considered wine selection, showcasing both Italian vino and locally-grown varietals from the likes of Merli and Heathcote's Vinea Marson.

Three Blue Ducks Melbourne

Known for its farm-to-table food ethos and with five permanent outposts across Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay and the Snowy Mountains, Three Blue Ducks are now set to deliver its sustainably-focused offering to Australia's first surf park.

In a 350-seat indoor-outdoor space overlooking Urbnsurf's sparkling lagoon, the team's plating up an all-day menu built around simple food and top-quality local ingredients. Whether you've just put in a morning's worth of wages, or you're there solely for the food, the breakfast menu is set to impress. 

On it, you'll find inventive creations like the spanner crab scramble ($25) matched with bean shoot salad and house-made Sriracha; a bacon and chilli jam brekky roll ($16) finished with slaw and mayo; and harissa-glazed pumpkin ($20) with sauerkraut and turmeric cashew cream.

Deeper into the day, you can settle in with share-friendly starters — think, kingfish ceviche ($24) and crumbed pulled pork ($21) served with pickled onion purée — in addition to vibrant pizzas ($22–26), a daily-changing vegetarian pasta ($25) and mains like the Portuguese-style rotisserie chicken ($33) and a bone-in porterhouse ($55) with bagna cauda (an Italian garlic and anchovy sauce). 

Sides ($11–13) might include the likes of carrots done with burnt honey and Ricotta Salata, and dessert ($15–16) will see you feasting on treats like a flourless chocolate cake matched with rich whiskey cream. And no matter what time of day you visit, vegetarian and gluten-free diners can count on being spoilt for choice.

The Commons at Ormond Collective

the commons collective

Ambitious newcomer The Commons at Ormond Collective has taken over the St Kilda Road site once home to the Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone.

This multi-faceted, mostly outdoor venue is the latest from The Big Group, which operates a suite of event spaces, including The Glasshouse in Olympic Park and the Myer Mural Hall. Aiming for broad appeal, The Commons features various elements set across its various alfresco spaces, including The Conservatory, The Kitchen Garden, The Garden Cafe and The Beer Garden.

Throughout, expect a heady mix of gingham and floral prints, bold stripes, fresh flowers and wicker, with lots of Euro-style cafe chairs and park benches setting the scene. In keeping with the times, you'll also find quirky lily pad seating positioned 1.5 metres apart and multiple hand sanitiser stations.

There'll be slightly different food offerings available at each of the different spaces. However, as a whole, the menu's built around classic flavours, local produce and lots of ingredients picked fresh from the onsite kitchen garden. Think crisp flatbread crowned with an assembly of confit artichoke, greens, mozzarella and edible flowers ($22); a spring salad featuring seared salmon ($24); and a classic chicken sandwich with lemon mayo and shredded broccoli ($15).

You might settle in with some craft brews and a burger or while away an afternoon over snacks and rosé. Coffee comes courtesy of North Melbourne's Small Batch, while house-made sweet treats run to the likes of salted pretzel brownies and an Italian strawberry love cake.

Like any outdoor venue worth its salt, this one's also optimised for guests of the four-legged variety. We're talking doggy day beds, puppy parking and a dedicated food menu for pups.

Bakemono Bakers

This would be a pretty quiet corner of Melbourne's CBD if it weren't for Little Rogue's steady stream of loyal customers. The not-so-hidden gem took the city's coffee scene by storm in 2015 and has since become a favourite for its range of specialty drinks. Now, just across the laneway, its founders are taking on a new challenge: Japanese- and Korean-inspired baking.

Co-owner Jen Lee makes this sound like a perfectly natural transition. "Little Rogue was getting suppliers from other bakeries, but then we came to a point where maybe we could do this by ourselves," Lee told Concrete Playground. Bakemono then came to be in February of 2020, thanks to the patisserie experience of co-founder Calvin Ko.

Walking into Bakemono is a completely different experience compared to Little Rogue. Where Little Rogue draws you in with its quaint charm and cosy interior, Bakemono is an expansive space with industrial steel frame windows and generous, lofty ceilings; inside, you're surrounded by the smell of freshly baked pastries.

You'll find a variety of sweet and savoury offerings, including fruit danishes, a trusty ham and cheese croissant and a zesty almond and yuzu version as well. If you're after a smaller bite, grab a canelé — a rum- and vanilla-flavoured pastry with a crispy crust and a smooth, buttery custard centre. It's quite popular in Japan.

Also on offer is Shokan, a soft and milky loaf of Japanese bread. Some have touted that shokunin will be the sourdough of 2021, and Bakemono is a great place to make that leap if you haven't already. Take the whole loaf home, slice it and toast it for a tasty snack.

Juliette Coffee & Bread

New sibling to the group's many other cafes hits (including Fitzroy's Bentwood, Glovers Station in Elsternwick and Camberwell's My Other Brother), Juliette opened its doors in July, fast becoming a neighbourhood favourite for its lockdown-friendly grab-and-go offering. 

Here, behind a cheery salmon-hued facade, you'll find a simple yet considered lineup of house-made sourdough bread, pastries and baguette sandwiches, available to take away or to enjoy at one of the curbside tables.

Signature treats including fruit danishes, almond croissants and Portuguese tarts fill the cabinets, along with the likes of Nutella-stuffed doughnuts and chunky chocolate peanut butter cookies. 

Drop by for a bacon and egg muffin, or maybe the pork, fennel and black sesame sausage roll. Or, try sambo made on Juliette bread — popular options include a saucy eggplant parmesan baguette and another teaming shaved pastrami with sauerkraut, cheese and Russian mayo.

Only Hospitality's own Inglewood Coffee Roasters takes care of the caffeinated side of things, with state-of-the-art Modbar machines gracing the counter. You can match your pain au chocolate with an espresso coffee from the Sunset BLVD house blend, a filter option, or something from the rotation of single origins.

The concept has proved such a hit that two more Juliette Coffee & Bread outposts have joined the original in recent months, launching in Hawthorn East and Ringwood East. And the family's set to expand even more, with Armadale and Camberwell slated to welcome their iterations next week.

Mr Brownie

Located on Clarendon Street, Mr Brownie Rooftop Hotel is split into three levels. Enter on the ground floor, and you'll find the deli, serving up Singh's signature brand of rule-breaking Indian fare, which includes the likes of samosa burgers, lamb vindaloo pies and nachos-like papadi chaat.

You can take this food home, eat it in the pub or head out back to a 70-seat beer garden. If you decide to sit in, you can order one of the many brews on the hefty drinks list or go for one of two pét-nats on tap. Those on the move won't be short on choice for drinks, either, with the bottle-o stocked to the nines and growler refills available from any of the 16 beer taps.

Don't want to stay on the ground floor? Like a Goosebumps book, but less creepy, now is the time to choose your adventure: down or up. The latter will take you through a wall of beer cans (that is, in fact, a hidden door) and down a flight of stairs to a red-hued speakeasy and dance lounge called the Boom Boom Room. Expect cocktails, neon and tunes aplenty.

Rewind to your destiny-defining decision — this time, you choose up. Walk up a staircase, and you'll find the main pub area with more British-Indian dishes, more beer and more comfy spots to sit. Ascend further, and you'll reach the rooftop terrace complete with city views, tropical cocktails, DJs and brunch on weekends.

italian restaurants carlton, melbourne (2)

Gimlet at Cavendish House

When it comes to creating smash-hit venues, legendary chef Andrew McConnell knows what's what. He's the mind behind favourites like Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Supernormal and Marion, to name a few. In July, Melbourne scored another McConnell original when he opened Gimlet — a cocktail bar and restaurant in the CBD's 1920s heritage building Cavendish House.

Sydney-based architecture and design studio Acme (The Grounds Of Alexandria, Charlie Parker's and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel) is behind the fit-out, which sees this historic building filled with black and gold marble bars, leather booths, geometric tiles and honeycomb chandeliers inspired by famed Italian architect Carlo Scarpa.

Split into four spaces — a cocktail bar, an elegant clothed-table restaurant on the upper level, a 12-person private dining area and a more casual space on the lower level — the restaurant feels like a very elegant French bistro. And the food echoes this.

The building — which was previously a fancy flagship for Bang & Olufsen — is located on the corner of Flinders Lane and Russell Street, only a short walk from McConnell's Supernormal and in the middle of the Flinders Lane dining action.

Green Acre

The duo has unveiled the OG idea for the space: Green Acre. Designed by Sash Design and built using mostly salvaged and upcycled materials, the space has cosy leather booths, a fairy light-lit courtyard, polished timber tables and rustic golden light fittings.

Wherever you choose to sit, you'll be digging into stone-fired sourdough pizzas. Vegans will find joy in The Grass is Greener (roast zucchini, spinach, chilli and smashed peas) and the Shroom (flat and enoki mushrooms, truffle oil and rocket) as well as the various pizzas topped with dairy-free cheeses and vegan salami. Meat-eaters also have plenty to choose from, including the controversial ham and pineapple, a chilli chicken number and one topped with prosciutto and pear.

If you prefer your pizza topped with neither vegetables nor meat but, in fact, sweets, we suggest you go straight for the dessert pizza, which comes with Nutella, smashed Oreos and strawberries. Plus, pizzas are just $15 on Tuesdays.

As well as being built relatively sustainably, the pizzeria commits low waste and locally sourced produce. Wines are almost exclusively sourced from Victoria — with a few numbers from across SA and WA — while beers feature Burnley (understandably) and other Brunswick locals, such as CoConsiprators and Foreigner.

While the duo encourages dining in where possible (to help minimise packaging waste) if you do takeaway, you can do so knowing your pizza box is made from recycled cardboard and can itself be recycled thanks to a piece of 'sacrificial' paper that catches the grease.

Casa Nata

If anyone's embracing the idea of doing one thing and doing it well, it's the duo behind Thornbury's Casa Nata. Ruben Bertolo and Nelson Coutinho's High Street bakery is devoted to one specialty: creamy, authentic pastéis de Nata. 

Both children of Portuguese parents that migrated to Australia in the 80s, the pair is more than familiar with the custard-filled pastry but felt it wasn't being properly represented here on Aussie shores. 

So, they decided to do something about it, got cracking on perfecting a recipe and opened the doors to Casa Nata in April 2020.

The menu is a testament to the idea of quality over quantity, featuring nothing more than Atomica Coffee alongside just one version of the signature dessert.

"And that is it for now. It still blows people's mind that that is all we do," says Bertolo, also admitting they don't plan on expanding this offering too much any time soon. "If we do add anything else, it definitely would never be something that would distract from the tarts."

Of course, the hero status of these beauties is well-deserved, each tart taking three days to produce and the recipes kept firmly under wraps. You can, however, catch a glimpse of the chefs in action, thanks to the store's open kitchen.

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Firebird

For its latest culinary adventure, the crew behind Tokyo Tina and Hanoi Hannah is once again tackling the flavours of Southeast Asia. Its new flame-driven Prahran restaurant Firebird is inspired by the smoky street food stalls of Vietnam while rocking a distinctly Melbourne edge. 

The High Street haunt is here to dish up a taste of two worlds.

With room for 110 diners and interiors by Ewert Leaf, the space has a modern industrial feel with exposed beams, distressed concrete and soft timber pendants. Custom-built chargrill and woodfired ovens take pride of place in the open kitchen, and you'll spy splashes of green and 70s-style tiling throughout.

Here, Head Chef Steven Ngo (Long Chim) offers up a modern menu celebrating the traditional flavours of his native Vietnam, abundant with smoky finishes and charry elements. For smaller plates, expect grilled squid with green mango, beef carpaccio with finger lime and flat pressed banh mi with charred eggplant relish. 

In the 'from the fire' section of the menu, you'll find grilled whole fish in brown butter and citrus noun mam sauce and an extra rich smoked lamb rib curry.

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants

Some of the more popular Italian restaurants in Carlton, according to TheFork users, include:

Criniti's Carlton, with a 7.8 rating

Aperitivo Bar Ristorante, with a 9.1 rating

Little Lygon, with an 8.8 rating

Some of the more popular Italian restaurants that offer gluten-free options on their menu in 

Carlton, according to TheFork, users include:

Aperitivo Bar Ristorante, with a 9.1 rating

Little Lygon, with an 8.8 rating

Criniti's Carlton, with a 7.8 rating

The two squares provided a distinctly English tone for the new suburb. Carlton, thought to have been named after the residence of the Prince of Wales, was relatively elevated and attracted several notable homes.

The City of Melbourne municipal boundary includes Carlton and parts of Carlton North, comprising the historic Melbourne General Cemetery and Princes Park, home to the Carlton Football Club.

You get the best of both worlds when living in Carlton. With the World's Most Liveable City within walking distance, you have easy access to Melbourne's world-class restaurants, bars, museums, shopping and entertainment.

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