The Five Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne Right Now
When a number of Italian immigrants made their way to Australian shores in the early 1950’s and 1960’s, with them came a culture so rich and significant that it, ultimately, helped shape Melbourne to become the place it is renowned for today; a culturally vibrant city.
Italian influence can be seen everywhere, but no more significant than in our vibrant and bustling hospitality scene. Today, Italian-inspired restaurants make up a large portion of the city’s most popular eateries. From pizzerias to pasta bars to Italian grills. As such, we’re here to shine a light on Melbourne’s five best Italian restaurants right now.
One of Carlton’s newest Italian eateries, Capitano has replicated off a traditional Italian-American diner. The maroon and ivory interior is welcoming and quaint and offers guests a feeling of intimacy. Lighting is moody, and the furniture and fixtures old school. Start off with an antipasti platter that includes shaved prosciutto (made locally in Ballarat) and gabagool (capocollo). For mains, you can’t go past the pizza offerings; from Neapolitan-inspired crusts to deep-dish NYC style.
421 Rathdowne St., Carlton
A go-to and hot contender for the best Pizza in Melbourne, Ladro in Melbourne uses only the finest local and important Italian ingredients available. Pizzas are the speciality here, and are made as the northerners do; thin, crispy crust woodfired delights. Head there on a Tuesday evening for $20 all you can eat pizzas - you heard it here first!
224 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Trattoria Emilia, located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, offers an authentic and rustic Italian experience that will be appreciated by all. As soon as you walk in, the ambience felt can only be described as one thing: old-school Italian. Small circular tables in a dimly lit open room are what you’ll find. But the menu is the real show-stopper. Enjoy meals like Tortelloni Modenesi (a popular dish from the Emilia-Romagna region): handmade pasta with mortadella, prosciutto, Parmesan and aged balsamic from Modena; or vitello tonnato, which is poached veal, tuna mayo, capers and veal jus.
360 Little Collins St, Melbourne
An institution of Melbourne's Italian food-scene, Grossi Florentino boasts three separate levels within its restaurant, all with its own distinct characteristics. Downstairs’ cellar bar offers housemade and hand-rolled pasta staples popular to the Tuscan region. In the middle, you’ll find the Florentino Grill, which is a sophisticated casual dining space with a Tuscan influence. The steak here is one of the best we’ve had in Melbourne. On the top level, you’ll enter Florentino: a gastronomic treat. It’s pricey but well worth the experience.
80 Bourke St, Melbourne
New kid on the block, Small Axe Deli may predominantly deal in Italian deli goods (think Italian cured cold meats, DOP-awarded cheeses and Italian pantry staples) but its lunch and dinner menu is a knockout. The menu is inspired by chef and co-owner Adam Pruckner and his Sicilian heritage. You can expect a la carte dishes like handmade rigatoni with braised pork and veal ragu; pork and veal meatballs with polenta chips and tomato sugo; and chargrilled octopus with nduja, potato, squid ink mayo, Sicilian olives + capers.
Shop 1/625 Sydney Rd, Brunswick