Nothing says treat yourself like a big ol’ slab of tiramisu. Originating in the Venetian region of Italy in the 1960s, the tiramisu has become an Italian staple. It’s no surprise why considering its components: light Savoiardi biscuits soaked in Italian coffee and layered with rich mascarpone cream and good-quality cacao.
Melbournians are no strangers to quality Italian food and, luckily for us, there’s heaps of incredible tiramisu on offer across the city—perfected over decades worth of nonna’s own recipes, and completely reinvented in culinary kitchens. Here are some of our favourites:
If we’re talking Italian cakes, Melbourne institution Brunetti is the place to start. Brunetti was acquired by the Angele family in 1991 and has since become a cornerstone in Melbourne cafe-culture history. They have perfected the art of Italian coffee making and brought Roman Pasticceria to Carlton, so with this in mind you can be sure that they're home to one of the best Tiramisu Melbourne has on offer. Brunetti uses traditional flavours and ingredients to create its semifreddo (semi-frozen) tiramisu, offering a refreshing edge to the otherwise rich dessert. Available in both a single serving size or in the form of an extravagant Brunetti cake, this is a perfect benchmark tiramisu.
D.O.C stands for Denominazione Di Origine Controllata, a measurement system used in Italy to indicate the highest quality of food. It’s no coincidence then that DOC Gastronomia in Carlton is renowned for stocking the highest quality goods, which they use to perfect traditional Italian flavours. Their tiramisu is made fresh with ingredients shipped straight from the boot-shaped country. The DOC delicatessen on Lygon Street offers generous single serves of this tasty treat, but can also make a tiramisu tray for up to 10 people—a perfect option if you want a delicious restaurant quality dessert for household dining. They’ve also crafted a completely plant-based tiramisu with cashew cream at Bio by Doc that rivals the real deal.
Owned by esteemed chef Andreas Papadakis, Tipo 00 combines fine-dining techniques with clean Italian flavours to create a truly unique and elevated dining experience. While most renowned for their handmade pasta dishes, this restaurant’s tiramisu is not one to miss. It’s not your classic cream-sponge combo—it uses heavier chocolate and coffee flavours and incorporates a signature caramel into its base. This top-end restaurant experimentation has led to one of the best tiramisu that Melbourne has.
Giro D'Italia was founded by Domenico De Marco, an Italian chef who moved to Melbourne seven years ago. Growing up in Bologna and studying in the south of Italy, Domenico is the definition of an Italian food aficionado. Giro D’Italia has a tight menu and is all about perfecting simple food. The tiramisu here is based on Domenico’s grandmother's recipe and uses a technique called Pate a Bombe (beating sugar syrup into egg yolks) to create one of the creamiest, silkiest tiramisus in Melbourne.
Grossi is home to one of the best tiramisu Melbourne has, this Italian dining establishment was purchased by the Grossi family in 1999 and has been upholding the standard for Italian restaurants ever since. Its tiramisu is a testament to this legacy, laced with aromatic sambuca and sweet, delicate Pavesini biscuits. Of course, this is a Grossi family recipe, tried and tested through the generations for a guaranteed hit.
Sweetie & Moustache
For something a little different, a little new, a little challenging, try Sweetie & Moustache’s ‘Tea-Ramisu’, a spin on the traditional tiramisu in the form of a mille crepe cake. Sweetie & Moustache use French techniques and Asian flavours to reinterpret this classic dessert. Coffee is replaced with matcha green tea, with sponge dipped in a green tea syrup to replace the traditional Savoiardi biscuit. Red beans are incorporated into this dessert to add texture and combat a decadent green tea cream. This is tiramisu like you’ve never seen it before.
This Italian basement restaurant is tucked away in one of Melbourne's most famous laneways. It offers simple, elegant Venetian food, presented delicately. The flavours are well-balanced and nuanced, and its sleek minimalist decor offers a romantic escape from the busy city above. Cecconis’ tiramisu perfectly reflects this restaurant's style. It elevates the tiramisu but remains true to the original. Its house-made sponge is soaked in a combination of Kahlua, Strega, coffee and mascarpone cream cheese, before being cut into perfect circles and stacked neatly. This precarious dessert is then topped with dramatic chocolate shards for texture, offering the perfect end to any Italian meal and making the cut onto the best tiramisu Melbourne list.
Capitano adds two of our favourite things to their not-so-traditional tiramisu, hazelnuts and booze. But not just any booze— a Melbourne-made Amaro liqueur, which adds a bitter citrusy note to this heavy cream dessert. They also sneak in a little amaro in their mascarpone cream, for that extra kick. This dish is made fresh to order and is served in a flat dish designed to share, with multiple spoons. Capitano also offers a tiramisu milk punch, transforming those tiramisu flavours into a strong, decadent bev.
Cafe Di Stasio
This intimate Italian bistro with a hefty lineage in the heart of St Kilda packs a punch. Renowned for its menu stacked with regional favourites, extensive wine list and lively atmosphere, they’ve been in the business for so long, for a reason. Di Stasio’s tiramisu layers cake sponge bathed in Strega and coffee liqueur with an airy mascarpone is finished with premium dark chocolate shavings. Light and sweet, it’s the perfect way to close out a session at the southside institution.
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Image credit: Capitano