The 15 Best Italian Restaurants In Melbourne

Great Italian food is undoubtedly one of life’s great pleasures and, as a priority, I always seek out the the ‘Little Italy’ precincts of any city I travel to. The best Italian cuisine is both a comfort food and a connection to some of my earliest culinary memories.

Perhaps you are looking for authentic, lovingly prepared Italian favourites like pasta carbonara and wood-fired pizza. Maybe you are hungry for an imaginative spin on a timeless classic. Either way, you are guaranteed to find a restaurant to suit your tastes somewhere in this guide.

And if would you prefer to wander through an Italian district in Melbourne and pick out a restaurant from its street appeal, then you must visit the Lygon Street precinct in the heart of Carlton. It was in this pocket of ‘Little Italy’ that Melbourne’s famous cafe culture was born.

Read on to find out more about the best 15 Italian restaurants in the city of Melbourne. 

15 Best Italian Restaurants In Melbourne

Trattoria Emilia

We open our look at the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne with a perfect lunch spot for CBD diners. Trattoria Emilia is a charming, cosy and laid-back restaurant with a great range of fresh handmade pasta dishes and daily specials.

There’s a warm rustic ambiance to the restaurant with white walls, wooden tables and interesting artwork on the walls. The food is based on fresh seasonal produce and the menu changes regularly.

The owners hail from Modena in northern Italy, and the trattoria takes inspiration from the rich culinary tradition of the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna (hence the name). Classic recipes are typically handed down through generations, and then given a modern twist by Emilia’s talented chefs.

Try the Tagliatelli with Ragu Bolognese if you crave a traditional classic, or perhaps the Taglioni with Truffle, when in season. This is authentic Italian food served in generous portions and with reasonable prices.

The waiting staff are efficient and friendly, and the location conveniently central. Trattoria Emilia is a wise choice for lunch or dinner.

Location: (rear of) 360 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Wed-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri 12pm-3pm, 5pm-10pm, Sat 5pm-10pm

Di Stasio Citta

This is undoubtedly one of the finest finest Italian restaurants in the city. It is the sister restaurant of Café Di Stasio, another highly popular venue.

This place is renowned for both the quality of its food, the extensive wine list and its chilled ambience.

The pasta is entirely house-made, the cooking methods traditional and the specials both authentic and inventive.

Location: 45 Spring Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am-10pm

Is a simple sanga sometimes all you need for lunch? Here are our Best Sandwiches in Melbourne.

Cafe Andiamo

We had to choose a bistro or restaurant in Degraves Street for this article. Degraves is one of our favourite eating streets in the whole of Australia.

In our opinion, every visitor to Melbourne should take the time to explore Degraves Street in the heart of the CBD.

It’s a famous, funky street-art adorned laneway with hole-in-the-wall cafes, bustling pedestrians, trendy boutiques, and quirky restaurants. It’s an iconic Melbourne hotspot for dining, drinking and soaking up the atmosphere.

Grab a table at Cafe Andiamo, order a negroni with the pollo funghi, follow up with an affogato, sit back, people-watch, and revel in the sheer hubbub of this enchanting laneway.

Cafe Andiamo Melbourne

Location: 36-38 Degraves St, Melbourne VIC 3000 / Ph: (03) 9650 8060

Opening Hours: 7 days from 6am. Open to 9.30pm, except for Sundays (5pm)

Bar Carolina

This restaurant is proudly authentically Italian – from its terrazzo flooring to its buzzy atmosphere. Located in buzzing and social South Yarra, just a few kilometres from the CBD, this is an engaging Italian eatery.

Prized for it’s exquisite Italian steak, the menu also boasts a beautiful range of fish options.

Why not wash that wholesome food down with one of their delightful cocktails to really make the most of your night out? It’s not named a ‘bar’ for nothing.

Love a cocktail or 2 after a bowl of pasta? See our guide to the Best Cocktail Bars in Melbourne.

Location: 44 Toorak Road, South Yarra 3141
Opening Hours: Mon-Tues 5:30pm-10pm, Wed-Sun 11:30am-10pm

Cicciolina 

This Italian restaurant has been open since 1993 and the food reflects over twenty years of excellence. It has become a much-loved favourite amongst Melburnians due to its iconic status, phenomenal food and the conviviality of its atmosphere.

If you find yourself waiting for a table at this popular Italian eatery, then you can head straight to the bar and sample a pleasing variety of Italian wine.

Even better, grab a seta at the bar and enjoy a cocktail or 2. After all, this is one of our favourite places for a date night.

Prefer to rattle the cocktail shaker at home? See our Easy Cocktail Recipes.

Location: 130 Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-10pm

Grossi Florentino

You simply can’t talk about the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne and ignore Grossi Florentino.

If you are seeking a fine-dining, Italian experience then this is the restaurant for you. Here, the service is exemplary and the food served is exquisite across every course. If you consider yourself to be a bit of a lasagne expert, you must try their version with the Wild Boar Ragu. It’s to die for, but take a friend as it comes in a double serve. Believe me. Your friend will be delighted!

And don’t worry if you can only spare a quick hour or so over lunch. Simply sample the delights on offer on their Veloce quick menu.

Do you hanker for a pie every now and then? Here are our favourite Pies in Melbourne.

Location: 80 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 12pm-10pm, Sat 6pm-10pm, Sun Closed

Osteria Ilaria 

This is the perfect restaurant for quality Italian meat. It boasts a wide range of cuts, from lamb to duck.

And then there’s the 48-hour fermented sourdough.

Dishes like the Beef Sirloin Carpaccio with Bay Leaf Ricotta and beetroot are divine and my partner still talks about the balance of the Spaghetti with King George Whiting, Koji and Sardine. Yum!

If you love fish dishes, see our recommendations for the Best Seafoods Restaurants in Melbourne.

Location: 367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun Closed

Tipo 00

This restaurant is conveniently located next door to the aforementioned Osteria Ilaria and it a must for those who are seeking authentic Italian pasta. If you are looking for a more experimental option, then the squid-ink tagliolini or the sage tortellini are the best options for you.

This is renowned for being one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne if you re a pasta lover.

Would you like to try a new spot for brekkie this weekend? See our Best Breakfasts in Melbourne.

Location: 361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun Closed

Baby

15 Best Italian Restaurants In Melbourne

The simply named ‘Baby’ is far from simplistic in reality. They hand-craft their mozzarella to create the stringiest cheese with the most mouth-watering flavour.

They’re also one of the only restaurants in Melbourne that serves a wholesome all-day Italian-style breakfast that includes shaved pancetta and deliciously flavoursome scrambled eggs. You’ll certainly be crying like a baby if you don’t find a seat here!

Wondering where else to try for a great pizza? Check out our Best Pizza Places in Melbourne.

Location: 631-633 Church Street, Richmond VIC 3121
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-11pm, Sat-Sun 8am-12pm

Rosa’s Canteen

If Sicilian cuisine is your specific passion, then this is the restaurant for you. Rosa’s only uses the finest, freshest seasonal ingredients and sources them locally, as opposed to using imported food.

Not only will the flavours tantalise your tastebuds, but we love that they pop their recipes on their website. It’s fun to go home after eating here and try and recreate one of their delicious creations yourself.

Location: Corner Little Bourke & Thomson St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-9pm, Sat-Sun Closed

Brunelli

If you’re seeking an Italian restaurant out of the city, then consider Brunelli Restaurant in Doncaster (about 16kms north-east of the CBD).

It serves traditional, unfussy traditional Italian fare – think wood-fired pizzas, risottos and pasta classics – all reasonably priced and served in a comfortable, light-filled, friendly environment.

Our favourite dish? Probably the Gnocchi Con Ragu Di Vitello (house-made gnocchi tossed with a rich veal ragu).

Location: 87 High St Doncaster Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 17:00-22:00, Dine In, Pick up and delivery Tel: (03) 9816 3555

Editor’s Note: This restaurant is now temporarily closed. We will update on further news.

Massi

This unpretentious CBD restaurant is renowned for the simple elegance of its dishes. Authentic Italian food cooked via traditional recipes, with a focus on seasonal produce, uncomplicated flavours and classic favourites.

Try the osso buco or ricotta gnocchi, and you will see what we mean.

It’s a tiny restaurant with a great reputation and a loyal following, so be sure to book first to avoid disappointment.

Come summertime, we love a Rooftop Bar. Here are some of our go to haunts in Melbourne.

Location: 445 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Mon 11am-3pm, Tues-Fri 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm, Sat 5:30pm-10pm, Sun Closed

Capitano

Now this entry on our rundown of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne is a little different from the rest of the pack. That’s because this restaurant specialises in American-Italian cuisine. Which means big serves as well as tasty food.

The pizza here is phenomenal and there are so many choices to choose from that the menu has been divided into ‘Pizza’ and ‘Not Pizza’ options.

If you are looking for hearty food, then this is the spot for you.

Location: 421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Opening Hours: Sun-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm

Scopri

This restaurant is aptly named after the Italian word meaning ‘discover’. We reckon there’s a good chance you will discover your new favourite Italian dish at this dining spot.

Like other places on this list of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne, the menu here changes with the season. The great thing about this is you can come back time and again to sample new culinary delights.

At Scopri, they use only the freshest ingredients and their own-farmed produce. The result is dishes that are organic and authentic from paddock to plate. And they are all delish.

Melbourne is known for its coffee and here are some of our top places to grab a great cup.

Location: 191 Nicholson Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Opening Hours: Tues-Fri 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm, Sat 5:30pm-10pm, Mon-Sun Closed

Il Bacaro 

This restaurant has maintained a continual and revered presence on the Italian restaurant scene due to the sheer excellence of its food. It’s wine menu also boasts over 400 options and as such, you are virtually guaranteed to find the best glass to compliment your meal.

As you would expect, their waiters are expertly trained to know which wine will best suit each dish. Eat here and we predict you will leave having been impressed by the high standard of service.

We love pasta, but we are also suckers for a deep bowl of noodles. These are our top Ramen Spots in Melbourne.

Location: 168-170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun Closed

Park Street Pasta & Wine

This restaurant prepares its pasta in a distinctively unique way, using machinery to extrude the delightfully doughy macaroni, pasta and penne options.

The result is wholesome, authentic pasta, freshly prepared. And you can taste that attention to detail in every single mouthful at Park Street Pasta and Wine.

Sometimes, all you want is a big, juicy burger. See our guide to the Best Burger Restaurants in Melbourne.

Location: 268 Park Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11:45am-10pm

Lupo

Lupo likes to throw diners a bit of a curve ball. This restaurant uniquely identifies its food as being traditionally Italian, but without the need to use traditional ingredients. Do not be put off by this seemingly contradictory statement, as once you have tried their wagyu lasagne or the crab, scallops and sunrise lime lasagne, you will not regret It!

They are also one of the more inclusive venues on this list as they serve a range of gluten-free and vegan alternatives. This is a favoured spot amongst Melburnians for a reason.

Prefer to eat plant-based? See our Guide to eating Vegan and Vegetarian.

Location: 300 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 6pm-10pm, Mon Closed

Rosetta Ristorante (BONUS)

The bonus selection on this list is the Rosetta Ristorante. This restaurant serves food crafted by the celebrity chef Neil Perry and is renowned for being one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the whole of Melbourne.

The wood-fired lamb is to die for and they also boast over 16 variations of house-made pasta.

The dining experience is also complimented by the outdoor dining area where you are able to look across the Yarra River and as such, this is undoubtedly one of the best spots for a first date in the whole of Melbourne.

Feel like a tipple after your meal? Here are some of our favourite Bars in Melbourne.

Overall

In conclusion, Melbourne boasts a wide range of Italian restaurants, ranging from canteen-style eateries to fine dining alternatives and as such, you are guaranteed to find the right restaurant to satisfy your Italian cravings.

Whether you are looking for hearty, traditionally American-Italian options like pizza or you are seeking flavoursome seafood and meat dishes, you will definitely find the option to suit your personal preferences from the list above.

Melbourne has garnered a reputation for serving the very best food from around the world and there is no cuisine that is more intrinsically laden with culinary excellence than Italian cuisine.

Therefore, it is important that this city gets it right when it comes to Italian food and I guarantee you will be served food that has been prepared with years of skill and culinary expertise. 

Incidentally, we have a dedicated review of Lello Pasta Bar which you can read here.

Dylan Cole
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