You’ll find some of Australia’s best Italian restaurants in Melbourne. In fact, some of the best the world has to offer this side of the equator. And that’s not just my entitled Melburnian snobbery talking.
Famed Melbournian ‘pizzaiolos,’ Johnny Di Francesco (400 Gradi, 2014), Silvio Serpa (Pizzaly, 2016), and Michele Circhirillo (48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar, 2019) have been crowned the ‘World’s Best’ at the annual ‘Campionato Mondiale Della Pizza,’ in Parma, Italy – AKA, the Olympics of pizza making.
And it’s not all about pizza, either. With 37% of Melbournians boasting an enviable Italian heritage, you can guarantee that you’ll be able to find every staple Mediterranean dish (and then some) at one of these 10 impeccable Italian restaurants in Melbourne. For rich, hearty and authentic Italian cuisine, look no further.
Marameo is the newest, and self-proclaimed “cheeky” member of Joe Mammone’s Bar Carolina, Il Bacaro and Tetto family – in other words, a cadre of some of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne. If “cheeky” is the drive behind their delicious twists on classics pours, and surprise combinations like Wagyu tartare cannoli – then it’s my favourite in the family. The squid ink spaghetti, WA blue swimmer crab, chilli, tomato and fish roe deserves its own mention. Enjoy the playfully decorated interior or settle into the courtyard on a warm Melbourne night.
Address: 6 Russell Pl, Melbourne
Contact: (03) 9639 7822
Hours: Mon – Thurs (12-10pm), Fri (12-11pm), Sat (5:30-11pm)
Tipo 00 has a tasty selection of starters, but don’t kid yourself; the main event is the pasta. It’s actually found in the restaurant’s namesake. “Tipo 00” is the specialty flour used in the creation of their delectable dishes. If you want to ignite all of your senses, go for the chef’s menu – it is a truly religious experience. If you have any doubts, the chef in question, Andreas Papadakis stepped out of Vue de Monde to gift Melbourne this small 42-seat CBD pasta temple.
Address: 361 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Contact: (03) 9942 3946
Hours: Mon – Sat (11:30am-10pm)
Park Street Pasta & Wine
Housed in an understated Victorian terrace, Park Street Pasta & Wine is the best combination of an Italian countryside flair and friendly local hang out. Save a bit of that freshly baked rosemary focaccia and whipped pork lardo starter, you’ll need it to wipe up the “Mafaldine” pasta, oozing in cacio e pepe, black pepper & pecorino-romano sauce. The daily pastas, based on locally sourced and high-quality ingredients, are regularly switched up for your pleasure.
Address: 268 Park St, South Melbourne
Contact: (03) 9042 8871
Hours: Sun – Thurs (11:45am-9:30pm), Fri – Sat (11:45am-10:30pm)
Café + Bar Di Stasio
Rinaldo Di Stasio’s famed institution has graced St Kilda for over thirty years. Di Stasio guarantees you an even of indulgence and gluttony, waited upon by white-jacketed waiters…but save it for a special occasion. The bill adds up very quickly. The newer CBD “Cittá” location offers some overlapping dishes in a completely unique and architecturally acclaimed gallery-like space. Think of Cittá as expressing the brutalist yet cosmopolitan high-fashion world of Milan, and the St Kilda location, as offering the enchanting and timeless beauty of Rome.
Address: 31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Contact: (03) 9252 3999
Hours: Mon – Sun (11:30am- till late)
Caffé e Cucina
Caffé e Cucina opened its doors in 1988, the same year as Di Stasio. The low-lit interior clad with vintage prints is as cosy and warm as its traditional menu offering. The vitello alla milanese is as big as your head, and the tiramisu is perfect in all its glory. Grab one of the coveted kerbside spots for guaranteed entertainment. If it’s not the Italian waiters who add theatre and drama to your meal, it’ll be the colourful Chapel Street characters that pass you by.
Address: 581 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Contact: (03) 9827 4139
Hours: Mon – Sun (12-11pm)
Zia Rina’s Cucina
If you’re looking for a trattoria dishing up Italian fare with its whole heart, Zia Rina hands-down deserves a spot on our list of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne. The intimate space offers a rotating set menu based on the best seasonal produce sourced from the Mornington Peninsula. Don’t be fooled by the concise menu, the price is bang on for the quality and quantity served. The option to choose from local or Italian wines (or BYO), makes it a very attractive date night option.
Address: 857 High St, Armadale
Hours: Tues – Sat (6-10pm)
Rita’s is an always reliable and consistently tasty option for any night of the week. At Rita’s, it’s the semolina-encrusted pizzas which are the real heroes. In fact, the three founders, and best mates, opened an offshoot next door to meet the take-away pizza demand. Be sure to order a Bingo Bango; tomato, mozzarella, salami, pancetta, caramelised onion and olives, as well as the Potato; garlic base, mozzarella, caramelised onion, taleggio, rosemary, truffle oil.
Address: 239 Johnston St, Abbotsford
Contact: (03) 9419 8233
Hours: Tue – Thurs (5-9:30pm), Fri – Sun (12-9:30pm)
It’s crazy to think the ex-Attica, Bar Liberty crew, (which copped Best Bar in Australia) only added Capitano to their inventory in 2018. It has become an institution in record time. Capitano is just an all-round great vibe. It offers up round and square pizza pies, inspired by New-York Italian cuisine. You’ll want to try everything on the menu, which makes Capitano perfect for a small group. Don’t leave without sampling the Vodka sauce Rigatoni, the Herb Salad Pizza, and the ‘Roni squared with tomato, pepperoni, mozzarella and pickled chilli. Be sure to wash it all down with a Negroni if you really want the full Italian dining experience.
Address: 421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton
Contact: (03) 9134 8555
Hours: Sun – Thurs (5-10pm), Fri-Sat (5:30-11pm)
If you’re trying to find the best Sicilian family secrets outside of Sicily – look no further than Bar Idda. Reflective of its hipster neighbourhood, the interior is rustic and the cooking is completely unpretentious and utterly delicious. Credit goes to the Milinciani; baked layered eggplant, passata, buffalo mozzarella, basil, pecorino, as well as the Maccaruni; twirled pasta, slow-cooked beef & pork ragu, grated pecorino. The set menu at $50 per person is a complete steal.
Address: 132 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Contact: (03) 9380 5339
Hours: Tues – Sat (11:00am-3:00pm, 5-10pm)
Umberto Espresso Bar
This Thornbury Calabrian-inspired father-son duo treats you to breakfast, lunch and dinner in a delightfully ’70s trattoria. And we’re talking traditional Italian breakfast as it should be; filled cornetti and Genovese coffee. However, Umberto’s is getting a massive makeover, moving to a new three-storey home in a 100-year-old building, with a rooftop! Yet, as exciting as the new digs will be, it’s the old favourites that have kept customers coming back for over ten years, most notably the classic pasta con funghi, slow-cooked osso buco and delicious rotating panini’s.
Address: 917 High St, Thornbury
Contact: (03) 9484 8654
Hours: Mon, Wed – Thurs (11:30am-2:30pm, 5-9pm), Fri – Sun (10am-2:30pm, 5-9pm)
If you’re looking to seal the deal, try following up the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne with 7 of the Best Date Night Wine Bars in Melbourne.
Best Italian In Melbourne – Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best pasta in Melbourne?
Melbourne has many good quality Italian restaurants but some of the highest rated for pasta include Tipo 00, Capitano, and Marameo.
What is the best Italian restaurant on Bourke Street, Melbourne?
You’re going to want to veer off to Little Bourke Street instead, which is where you’ll find Tipo 00.
What is the best Italian restaurants on Little Collins Street, Melbourne?
You can head along to Pentolina, which serves some great fresh pasta on Little Collins street.
What is the best Italian restaurant in St Kilda?
Di Stasios is the best and most consistent Italian restaurant in St Kilda.