Melbourne is renowned for its great food and European feel – but where is the best Italian in the CBD?
We have released a survey asking the good people of Melbourne where they think the best Italian food in the CBD is, here are the top 10 based on Melbourne’s responses.
Pellegrini's Espresso Bar
Pellegrini’s is an icon of the Melbourne coffee and Italian scene, and has been since 1954. Pellegrini’s charm lies in the fact that almost nothing has changed in the 64 years since its opening, the menu is literally etched into wood on the wall, where you can order delicious hearty pasta, lasagna, gnocchi and more. This famous Melbourne eatery can be credited for the cities introduction to espresso and pasta. Despite the recent tragedy that has plagued the iconic restaurant, Pellegrini’s continues to serve delicious food with great service and deserves our support.
Grossi Florentino is a classic Melbourne establishment for Italian fine dining, with its linen tables, soft lighting, murals and chandeliers. The food is good-hearted-classic Italian, often with a contemporary twist making the food hearty and refined at the same time. The Pappardelle Wild Boar Ragu ($28) is particularly delicious, and pairs well with several of the many red wines on offer.
Trattoria Emilia, named after the north-eastern area of Italy, Emilia-Romagna, where the head chefs are from, is the perfect space for a quick and delicious lunch or dinner. The trattoria is unpretentious and cosy, with a menu to match. Delicious entrees, mains and pastas make up the menu, with specials changing daily. The Risotto with asparagus, scallop, baby squid, lobster emulsion, burnt lemon powder ($29) is a standout, as is the wine and cocktail list.
Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant & Cellar Bar
Cecconi’s has been open since 2006 and has quickly established itself as a welcome addition to Flinders Lane, known for its great food and drinks scene. Plenty of linen, leather and wood creates a warm but formal setting. The main’s are delicious, and the house-made tagliatelle with porcini mushroom ragu, white wine and sage ($32/38) is a standout, as are the after dinner cocktails.
Tipo 00 is named after the finely ground flour used to make the delicious house made pasta and pizza Tipo 00 has become celebrated for. The restaurant is modern, European and unfussy, the food is delicious and simple made with fresh produce. The fresh handmade pasta is a standout, with the Riso vialone nano with white and green asparagus and montasio cheese ($28) being a favourite. The cocktails and wine list is excellent.
Sarti is a chic addition to the Melbourne Italian scene, opening in 2013 and serving classic Italian dishes with a modern twist, such as Ravioli Di Zucca, traditional pumpkin ravioli with stracciatella cheese and the new edition of seaweed. The casual bistro-style interior and huge neon sign matches this classic-with-a-twist vibe. The mains are equally delicious and unique, such as the pan seared duck breast served with duck breast, pearl barley, porcini mushrooms, celeriac and hazelnuts ($44).
Becco, opening in 1996, at the beginning of the Melbourne Laneway scene, knows how to provide hearty, classic Italian meals, no twists or additions necessary. The sturdy, timeless decor mirrors the menu, and the drinks list, namely the signature cocktails, are equally satisfying. The risotto with leek, green peas, broad beans and crisp prosciutto is especially delicious ($28), and the service is second to none.
Il Bacaro, where great service, delicious Italian food and expertly selected wine all work together to create the perfect evening, and have been doing so since its opening in 1995. All dishes on the modern Italian menu are impressive, with a few standouts such as the Spaghettini with Moreton Bay bugs, “olio visadi”, garlic, chilli and rocket ($31/$43). The wonderful wine list has both European and local varieties.
Osteria Ilaria is from the same people that brought Melbourne Tipo 00, and is therefore sure to be good. Osteria Ilaria has established itself as a fabulous addition in the Melbourne Italian scene, with a strong focus on the wine list. The delicious food includes dishes such as ricotta gnocchi with broad beans and saffron ($21) and Sher wagyu rump cap with heritage carrots and mustard butter ($47).
Il Solito is a self-proclaimed institution, and one of the ‘most renowned Italian restaurants in Melbourne’. With an unassuming street level facade, diners enter and descend to the restaurant below with a warm urban chic feeling accented by candle lighting, timber tables and wine racks lining the walls. The traditional menu has many highlights, such as the hand-made potato gnocchi with Wild Boar, red wine and prunes ($23/34).