More so than any other cuisine, Italian is deeply ingrained in Melbourne's culinary culture. Most of us gravitate towards it because it's what we know and what we eat on a regular basis. For decades, our families have been nourished by the establishments recommended here.
We're glad to see that they haven't altered their ways at all, and hope that it stays that way. Even relatively new establishments have a classic aesthetic. Italian is a language with which great difficulty is associated, as it was nearly perfected in its original form.
Choosing just a few essentials for this guide was challenging. A lot of your favourites are probably here, but it's also possible that some of them aren't. This is a reflection of the variety of options available to modern-day Melburnians.
Melbourne is home to some of Australia's finest Italian dining establishments. North of the Equator You Can Find Some of the World's Finest That's not just my spoiled snobbery as a native Melburnian speaking, either.
Since 37% of Melburnians have enviable Italian ancestry, you can rest assured that every classic dish from the Mediterranean (and more) can be found at any of Melbourne's excellent Italian restaurants. Here you will find authentic Italian food that is rich and filling.
Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne
It's no surprise that Melbourne has some of the best Italian restaurants in the country. Restaurants serving international cuisine, and especially Italian, have flocked to Victoria, the state capital.
It seems like there's an Italian restaurant on every block in Melbourne, but how do you know which one is the best? It is here that we can help. We have compiled a list of the finest Italian dining establishments in Melbourne so that you can treat your taste buds to some of the finest pizza and pasta dishes this side of Italy.
Joe Mammone is the man behind some of Melbourne's finest Italian restaurants, including the acclaimed Bar Carolina, Il Bacaro, and Tetto, and his newest addition, Marano, is proud to join this group.
Address: 6 Russell Pl, Melbourne
While the appetisers at Tipo 00 are delicious, the pasta is what really sets this place apart. It's what gives the eatery its name. 'Tipo 00' is the name of the speciality flour they use to make their delicious food.
The chef's menu is a spiritual experience guaranteed to stimulate all of your senses. In case you were wondering, chef Andreas Papadakis left Vue de Monde to open this modest 42-seat CBD pasta temple in Melbourne.
Address: 361 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Park Street Pasta & Wine
Park Street Pasta & Wine, located in a nondescript Victorian terrace, is the ideal blend of rustic Italian country charm and welcoming neighbourhood bar atmosphere.
Keep some of that rosemary focaccia and whipped pork lardo for sopping up the "Mafaldine" pasta with its glistening cacio e Pepe, black pepper, and pecorino-romano sauce.
Pasta dishes, made with fresh, high-quality ingredients sourced locally, rotate frequently to keep things interesting.
Address: 268 Park St, South Melbourne
Café + Bar Di Stasio
St. Kilda has been graced for over thirty years by Rinaldo Di Stasio's illustrious establishment. You can count on being served by white-jacketed waiters as you overindulge and overeat at a Di Stasio event. hold off on that until a truly momentous occasion, though.
Costs add up rapidly. The newer "Cittá" location in the Central Business District (CBD) features overlapping dishes in a singular and critically acclaimed gallery-like setting.
As an analogy, St. Kilda's setting can be seen as evoking the enchanting and timeless beauty of Rome, while Cittá embodies the brutalist yet cosmopolitan high-fashion world of Milan.
Address: 31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Caffé e Cucina
Caffé e Cucina first welcomed customers in 1988, the same year that Di Stasio did. The dimly lit, vintage print-adorned interior is just as welcoming as the hearty classics on the menu. The tiramisu is absolutely perfect, and the Vitello Alla Milanese is the size of your head.
If you want to be entertained without risk, you should snag one of the prime kerbside spots. Whether it's the Italian waitstaff or the eccentrics of Chapel Street, you're guaranteed an entertaining meal.
Address: 581 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Zia Rina’s Cucina
If you're looking for a genuine Italian trattoria in Melbourne, Zia Rina is an obvious choice. Set menus, based on the best seasonal produce from the Mornington Peninsula, change every few months.
Just because there are few items on the menu does not mean they lack quality. When compared to the quality and quantity of the food, the price is reasonable. It's a great place for a date because you can choose from a wide variety of wines, including those from the area, Italy, or bring your own.
Address: 857 High St, Armadale
Any night of the week, Rita's is a safe bet, and the food is always delicious. The semolina-crusted Prieta at Rita's is a weeknight staple because it can be counted on for reliability and consistency in taste. The pizzas with the semolina crust at Rita's are the real MVPs. In order to meet the demand for pizza to go, the three founders and best friends opened a second location right next door.
Address: 239 Johnston St, Abbotsford
Astonishingly, the ex-Attica, Bar Liberty team (winner of Best Bar in Australia) only started stocking Capitano in 2018. In a short amount of time, it has established itself as a reliable authority. The atmosphere in Capitano is fantastic. It serves New York–style pizza in both round and square shapes.
It's a great time to open a restaurant that serves traditional Italian fare like pizza, pasta, and meatballs, but does so with a modern twist as imagined by some of the most creative chefs and mixologists in the business.
Address: 421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton
Bar Idda is your one-stop shop for authentic Sicilian family recipes outside of Sicily. The decor is rustic, like the surrounding hipster neighbourhood, and the food is simple but delicious.
Address: 132 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Umberto Espresso Bar
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, visit this father-and-son run restaurant in Thornbury that takes its inspiration from Calabria. And by that, I mean stuffed cornetti and Genovese coffee, the quintessential Italian breakfast. Umberto's, on the other hand, is undergoing a major transformation as it relocates to a brand new three-story location in a century-old building with a rooftop!
Address: 917 High St, Thornbury
Florentino, an Italian institution on Bourke Street run by Melbourne legend Guy Grossi, is consistently ranked among the city's finest dining establishments. The building has served as a restaurant since 1928 and has undergone some minor renovations during that time.
The 'Grand Tour' is a five-course set menu that can be paired with local and international wines, making it the ideal choice for a celebratory dinner.
CARLTON, SOUTHBANK & MORNINGTON
You'll get the full D.O.C. treatment thanks to the expert organisation of the restaurant's Italian staff, who move effortlessly between waiting on customers and tending to the restaurant's many tables.
Some of Melbourne's finest pizza can be found at D.O.C, a nod to the Italian food classification system that insists on using only the highest quality products. On Lygon Street, there is a store devoted solely to pasta, and if you prefer a vegan option, Bio-By DOC is your pizza place.
Scopri's impeccable dishes and sumptuous Italian wines leave little to be desired. The intimate setting is great for a third date or a long overdue catch-up.
Try the Galletto-Alla-Griglia, a chargrilled spatchcock with baby leeks and local mushrooms, or the Tagliolini with local rock lobster, cherry tomato, and saffron. Scopri's 'Feed The Table' menu, where the staff will choose their best dishes for you to share, is well worth the $90 per person investment if you're starving.
BABY Pizza, with its red neon-lit restaurant, has become a staple of the LUCAS Groups' restaurant empire and is widely regarded as one of the finest Italian eateries in Melbourne. The trendy restaurant is always holding parties, from Aperitivos to Degustations.
The 'Polpette' pizza, topped with Fior di latte, meatballs, chilli, pecorino, and basil, is always a good choice from the menu's fine selection of Italian favourites. As a baby, you just want to have a good time. In this piece, we toast the happiness that can be found in Italian food. Remember it for any occasion, whether it's a quick bite or a late night on the town.
The Waiters Restaurant
Upstairs at the diner with a few glasses of the house red and some home-style pasta is one of the quintessential Melbourne experiences.
With reasonably priced rigatoni and penne dishes and bottles of regional drops from Tuscany and Piedmonte, Waiters Restaurant is a top contender for the best Italian restaurant in terms of value for money. Enjoy some of the best food in town in a setting that is second to none, with wooden tables and white walls adorned with Italian artwork.
Among the many excellent eateries on Flinders Lane is the lively Italian basement called Cecconi's. Cecconi's serves up delectable contemporary Italian fare in a cosy and elegant setting, and they have some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable wait staff in all of Melbourne.
Located on Grange Road in Toorak, Via Torino is a gem of an Italian restaurant and a favourite of those in Melbourne's south. There's Italian ceramics and iconography all over the white walls and dark polished timber tables behind the patterned stain glass storefront.
Di Stasio Citta
Among the many excellent Italian eateries in Melbourne, Di Stasio Citta is our first pick. The friendly staff at Di Stasio Citta, the Italian restaurant and sibling of Café Di Stasio, provides the perfect setting to unwind with a drink and swap tales over some excellent food. You can't go wrong with any item on the menu that features handmade pasta.
The long-awaited follow-up to Ronnie Di Stasio's St. Kilda institution, which served up spaghetti and Barolo, has finally arrived, and like its owner, an art lover and provocateur, it's sure to trigger emotions you didn't know you had.
The constant motion of the video artworks, combined with the flaming red of the chairs and rosary necklaces worn by the smoked waitresses, raises the body temperature to the point where you might consider spending a small fortune on the biblical wine list.
Address: 35 Spring Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
If you need a break during the workday, lunch at Emilia is a fantastic option (as long as you're not too full to get back to work afterwards).
The best Italian Melbourne has to offer, including homemade bolognese and ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta. Be wary of getting tomato sauce on your shirt, though.
Address: 360 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
The moment you set foot on Bar Carolina's terrazzo floors, you'll feel like you've been whisked away to the shores of Italy. Owners of Il Bacaro (more to come) have created a menu featuring some of Melbourne's finest Italian steak and fish.
You don't have to be a regular to get treated like one, to experience the casual polish with which your rich pork Rotolo is silver-served at the table, or to take advantage of the fact that there are both high-quality tap wines and top-shelf Barolo on offer.
Bar Carolina also features a full bar for your beer, wine, and mixed drink needs.
Address: 44 Toorak Road, South Yarra 3141
Caterina's Cucina and Bar
Caterina's Italian restaurant, which has been open for 23 years and serves lunch only, has a devoted clientele. The rationale behind this is obvious. It's no surprise that Melbourne's elite come here to unwind because the all-female, mostly Italian team commands the room with such authority.
The "you know what I like" phrase is a staple of the "you know what I like" order at grizzled diners. Is this the first time? Have some composure. The restaurant's claim to fame is its lightning-fast delivery of the day's specials.
Whether you order a perfectly bronzed pork chop or a rabbit loin rolled in hazelnuts, you can't go wrong. Barolo that'll make you want to mortgage your warehouse sits alongside wacky stuff from By Farr in the alcoholic beverage department.
- Go-to dish: Vitello tonnato, the stuff of legend, and cross your fingers for a nip of Borsato's nonna's grappa.
- Basement, 221 Queen Street
High-End Restaurants Across the Country. Local cuisine at its finest can be found on a list that can be found in Victoria. Get out of the city and enjoy some of Victoria's best regional dishes by taking a trip to the country. Our Melbourne restaurant guide features several of these establishments. Alla Wolf-Tasker, the Lake House's culinary director, is in charge of ensuring that all the dishes are perfectly seasoned and textured for maximum enjoyment.
Dishes for every course are available in meat, fish, and vegetarian options. After dessert, settle in with a cup of St. Ali coffee and a few of these adorable miniature homemade treats. It's not uncommon for a meal at Brae to take an entire day. The iced oyster is another coastal import that has made its way inland. Respect for tradition, as demonstrated by a perfectly filleted rock flathead with butter-poached turnips, can counteract the most astounding displays of creative wizardry.
Provenance can be found in the original Bank of Australasia building, which dates back to the era of the gold rush. At Provenance, you must order the chef's interpretation of Chinese sausage, which is prepared six months in advance and served in its natural state. O.My in Beaconsfield, run by Chef Ryan Bertoncello, is a tiny restaurant on the outskirts of Melbourne with only 25 seats. Crunchy, tooth-clinging grill marks give grilled onigiri their signature flavour. In the oldest wine region in Victoria, where O.My is located, the majority of the menu is still sourced from the restaurant's own gardens.
The workers are very resourceful, using every part of the animal, plant, or food item. The $95 lunch menu is priced reasonably, and a wine tasting package can be added on for an additional cost. Some of the best French provincial cuisine in Australia can be found at Annie Smithers' Du Fermier restaurant in Trentham. The atmosphere at Igni, Aaron Turner's restaurant in Geelong, is intense. Lola can be found in Castlemaine's stunning Art Deco Theatre Royal.
- This guide has been compiled to assist you in discovering the finest regional dining experiences Victoria has to offer.
- Here is a list of our top picks for Victoria's finest regional restaurants.
- The restaurant's seasonal, multi-course menu is updated frequently based on what's in season, and the majority of its ingredients come from the nearby Dairy Flat Farm, which is owned by the Wolf-Taskers and is part of the Lake House mini-empire.
- All courses feature meat, fish, and vegetarian options.
- You can have a mini vacation in Victoria in the time it takes you to drive out to the gently sloping paddocks of Birregurra (just two hours from Melbourne) and eat at Dan Hunter's celebrated farmhouse restaurant.
- Mini-breaks can be turned into real vacations by spending the extra $635 per night in one of the six guest suites (breakfast included).
- Trying to sample everything will require ordering off the tasting menu.
- The Bertoncello brothers, who run a 25-seat restaurant in the sleepy suburb of Beaconsfield on Melbourne's outskirts, have found that the phrase "farm-to-plate" best describes their approach to food and service.
- This is the third location for O.My since the original was destroyed in a fire at the former Beaconsfield post office in November of 2020.
- The estate, cellar door, and restaurant at Oakridge are all owned by the same family and are situated in Victoria's oldest wine region, which is also home to some of the best food in the state.
- There's a reason it was chosen as the best restaurant of 2019.
- This massive point is located near the end of the Mornington Peninsula.
- You can find the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld between two of the most beautiful sandstone peaks in the Grampians.
- One such place is Smithers' charming restaurant Du Fermier in Trentham, which is home to some of the best French provincial cuisine in all of Australia.
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
You’re going to want to veer off to Little Bourke Street instead, which is where you’ll find Tipo 00.
You can head along to Pentolina, which serves some great fresh pasta on Little Collins st.
The same could be said for the total Australian population of Italian ancestry, with 279,112 of the 916,121 (30.4%) listed as Melbournian residents, the highest Italian population in Australia and the Oceanic continent per city.
The number of Italy-born Victorians peaked at 121,000 in 1971. Italian immigration then declined, but Italians are still the fifth-largest immigrant community in Victoria after the English community, with 70,532 Italy-born people recorded in the 2016 census.
Know that pasta can be an everyday occurrence.
According to survey data by YouGov and Bertolli, 90% of Italians eat pasta multiple times a week, while only 23% of Americans eat pasta more than once a week. Better yet, about 25% of Italians eat pasta every day, while only 2% of Americans fessed up to eating pasta daily.