Best Of Guides

Carb Load At 26 Of Melbourne’s Best Italian Restaurants

By Urban List Writers
8th Mar 2021

A bowl of gnocchi ragu from Ms Frankie in Cremorne, Victoria.

Looking for the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne where to get your fill of carbs? The pasta-bilities are endless.

Whether you’re craving a cheesy homemade lasagne or in the mood for tagliolini with scallops, Melbs offers a delicious and dynamic range of authentic Italian dining experiences, from bustling bars to more relaxed family-style feels. So get ready to carb-load at some of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne below.

Cappo Sociale

Fitzroy

New kid on the block, Cappo Sociale, is nestled comfortably within the reimagined Hotel Fitzroy on level one. The modern pasta bar is about as much fun as you could have at an Italian restaurant with a menu that covers off the classics as well as several more adventurous dishes and cocktails—those who'd prefer to try a little of everything should go for the $75pp banquet menu.

Tipo 00

CBD

One of Melbourne’s leading pasta bars, Tipo 00 serves refined, elegant dishes at awfully affordable prices. Wedged in Little Bourke Street, the quaint space features dark timber and an intimate communal bench. We could chow down on their Gnocchi Di Patate—a rich dish of braised duck, porcini mushrooms and pecorino—every day.

Pentolina

CBD

There’s more than a touch of Pellegrini’s about Pentolina (Italian for ‘saucepan’, in case you were wondering), one of Melbourne’s finest pasta temples. The pasta is all vegan, made fresh each morning on-premises. The toppings are a compromise between old-school Italian flavours and the chef’s own special concoctions, so you’re in for a treat every single time.

Pellegrini’s

CBD

A true Melbourne institution, Pellegrini's has been serving homemade Italian fare to city goers for several decades now. Not much has changed over the years; it still has its 1950s Italian diner charm and the coffee and food are as good as ever. For a cheap, honest Italian meal, head to Pellegrini's, grab a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese and make your Nonna proud.

Bottega

CBD

Another CBD classic, Bottega is a beautiful little Italian bistro with cosy leather banquettes and a great imported wine list that also favours local heroes. With a focus on sharing, grab lots of little things like oysters or an antipasto platter.

Lupino

CBD

Lupino is a homely Italian bistro located on Little Collins Street, with a menu that boasts all the signature homemade pastas and pizzas you would expect from a traditional Italian eatery. The wine list is significant, as is the nonna-style saltimbocca and arancini, which is guaranteed to bring you back for seconds.

Il Bacaro

CBD

With its combination of exceptional food and wine, sophisticated Venetian-inspired good looks and old-style professional service, it is no surprise that Il Bacaro is regarded as one of Melbourne's premier Italian establishments. From swanky entrees like beef tartare with pea granita and mint oil to mains like ricotta and lemon curd cappellacci with braised rabbit and pine nuts, expect an intensely flavourful journey every time you dine at Il Bacaro.

Cecconi's

CBD

Flinders Lane plays host to many great restaurants, and the bustling Italian basement known as Cecconi's is no exception. Boasting some of the best wait-staff in Melbourne, whose charm and knowledge of wine and food is second to none, Cecconi's dishes up mouth-watering modern Italian cuisine in a comfortable and elegant dining space.

Florentino

CBD

This Bourke Street stalwart run by legendary Melbourne chef Guy Grossi is one that you must well and truly have on your list. The location itself has been running as a restaurant since 1928 and has had a bit of a spruce up over the years. The perfect spot for any special occasion, order the ‘Gran Tour’—a five-course set menu that can be matched with local and international wines to cap off the perfect evening.

Rosa’s Canteen

CBD

Rosa’s Canteen on Little Bourke Street is brought to you by the Italian cuisine guru behind Rosa’s Kitchen, Rosa Mitchell. One of Melbourne's best Italian restaurants, Rosa’s Canteen celebrates all things Northern Italian, like house-made ravioli with ricotta and parsley or farfalle with zucchini pesto and pancetta—holy yum.

Il Solito Posto

CBD

Nestled in a CBD alleyway and built into an underground cellar, Il Solito Posto has been a Melbourne favourite for years, and for good reason. An extensive and critically acclaimed wine list, attentive staff, and mouth watering Italian fare add up to a great dining experience. The perfect spot for a romantic meal, or cosy catch up with friends over a Pinot or two. Also make sure you leave room for the house tiramisu.

Scopri

Carlton

There is very, very little to dislike about Scopri, from the impeccable dishes to the sumptuous Italian wines. The dimly lit interior is cosy and stylish, perfect for a third date or that long overdue girly gossip session. Dig into the tagliolini with local rock lobster, cherry tomato and saffron or the galletto alla griglia, with char grilled spatchcock, baby leeks and local mushroom. If you’re really starving, just let the sweet peeps at Scopri pick their best dishes for you with their ‘Feed Me’ menu for $90 pp. Heaven.

Agostino

Carlton

The 50-seat wine bar, shop and cellar Agostino popped up a few years ago on the Carlton scene and has been delighting us with choice drops and delicious eats ever since. The vodka and tomato paccheri is one of our faves—pair it with one of the zillion wines from the cellar and you’ve got yourself a tastebud party.

Capitano

Carlton

Capitano is the sort of space that can slip pretty easily from Friday night dinner service to lazy Sunday lunch. The grub here is pared back but delicious—from heaping bowls of cacio e pepe to double pepperoni pizzas, you’ll find everything you need to stopper your carby Italian cravings. Wash it all down with a blood orange negroni—bellissimo!

Tiamo

Carlton

A true legend of Lygon Street, Tiamo is a Melbourne institution that's been serving up top-notch cuisine for over 30 years. Grab a piping hot bowl of fresh pasta, some traditional honest-to-goodness Italian pizza, or even one of their three parmas (four if you count their schnitzel). From fried chicken livers to a mixed seafood grill, there is plenty to choose from and a lot to love at Tiamo.

D.O.C

Carlton

At D.O.C, pizza is the port of call—picture the thinnest, crispiest bases and the finest Italian ingredients. The mozzarella bar also boasts an incredible selection of cheesy goods (just look at the map to see where yours comes from) that warrant a dairy degustation. 

Bar Idda

Brunswick East

A true Northside gem, Bar Idda serves up delicious Sicilian-Italian cuisine in a homely, authentic environment—you'll feel as if you're dining in a cosy Italian home. With its lively ambience, be sure to bring along a bunch of family and friends to savour Bar Idda's fantastic Sicilian menu, influenced with Middle Eastern and African flavours. 

1800lasagne

Thornbury

Not all heroes wear capes, but some drive early 90s sedans and deliver mind-blowingly good lasagne to your door. Known as 1800lasagne, the delivery service operates solely through Instagram DMs and phone orders—perfect for snap lockdowns or those nights when you just can’t be bothered to go out.

Ms Frankie

Cremorne

A contemporary, A-Grade cocktail and pasta bar, Ms Frankie didn’t come onto the scene trying to cover every Italian base—it’s more curated than that. There are a few crazy-good starters to choose from: artisan salumi boards, Roman-style roast porchetta, or maybe some gooey Buratta, drizzled in extra virgin. Subtle little entrees that pave the way for the main course: pasta, pasta, pasta.

Ostēr

Richmond

The word Ostér means ‘to host’ in Italian, and that is exactly what the owners intend to do when you walk in this joint. Along with their team, they will make you feel at home in their rustic, inviting osteria—think exposed bricks, polished concrete and ceramic plates for a Melbourne meets Milan feel. The menu features fresh, local produce determined by the seasons and there are options for the veggie fans and meat eaters alike. Also make sure you check out the cocktail list, it’s been designed by the world’s best bartender—no joke, this guy won 2018 Best Bartender in the World, so it’d be rude not to.

Thirty Eight Chairs

South Yarra

We’d be remiss to skip the Melbourne institution that is Thirty Eight Chairs from the list of best Italian eats and for good reason. The cosy atmosphere is just what the doctor ordered and the food is always stellar. Think zucchini flowers, grilled octopus, gnocchi with gorgonzola dolce sauce and crispy leek...you could keep reading or you could just book a table, stat.

Bar Carolina

South Yarra

Bar Carolina’s pride and joy is the woodfire Josper oven, imported directly from Spain. Chefs Akela Nevelli and Vincenzo Di Giovanniello are pretty liberal with the old Josper, blazing mains like Negroni salt-crusted barramundi or beastly 700g rib eye steaks. If you’re less Flinstonian fare, there’s also handmade pasta and delicious vegetarian entrées as well. 

Cicciolina

St Kilda

A St Kilda institution since 1993, Cicciolina is a firm Italian favourite of locals and tourists alike. The simple but contemporary decor makes it an easy place to dine with big comfy red booths and art-plastered walls. Focusing on using the best of Melbourne’s seasonal produce, Cicciolina’s menu always features inspiring modern Italian-Australian dishes, like pork cotoletta with apple aioli or handmade squid ink spaghetti with Fraser Island Spanner crab.

Cafe Di Stasio

St Kilda

Mood lighting, red leather banquettes and Bill Henson artworks set the scene for an indulgent, authentic Italian dining experience at this Melbourne institution. From the freshest of homemade pastas, to suckling pig, saltimbocca, tiramisu and zabaglione, the extensive menu at Cafe di Stasio is sure to impress. Fancy a nightcap to complete your evening? Pop next door to Bar di Stasio.

Vaporetto Bar & Eatery

Hawthorn

With its washed-out pastel timber, old-school lettering and masquerade masks on the wall, Vaporetto has an excellent vibe: somehow chilled and bustling at the same time. A little slice of the Grand Canal, right here in Melbourne. Vaporetto makes all its own pasta from scratch, and while there’s a grilled fish and steak on the menu, you really come here for the squid-ink paccheri or the hand-folded tortellini filled with whipped goat’s curd and ricotta. Hell yeah.

Park Street Pasta & Wine

South Melbourne

Channeling la dolce vita with some of the best Italian-inspired dishes, Park St doesn’t mess around. From agnolotti dal plin with chicken and pancetta, sage butter and parmigiano-reggiano to a juicy 850g grass-fed Cape Grim rib-eye, there’s something for every palate at Park St and then some.

If you're still hungry check out where to find Melbourne's Best Pizza.

Image credit: Ms Frankie | Jenna Fahey-White

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