The Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne for Pizza, Pasta & Aperitivo
Italian food at its finest, these Melbourne restaurants serve up the best Italian pizza and pasta in town
When the pasta, pizza and antipasto cravings hit, nothing short of traditional fare will do. Lucky for us, we’re not only spoiled with Italian restaurants in Melbourne, but some of the country's best.
There’s a spot to suit every mood from old-school Italian to modern mash-ups. To make the most of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne, all you have to do is choose one below, book a table, and don’t forget to wear your comfiest clothes. Because you know you are going to leave having tried everything on the menu.
Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne
In the quest for the best Italian restaurant in Melbourne, we've stumbled upon Pastore. This is seriously one of Italy's finest. Replicating the woodfired grill from fine diner Matilda and the Mediterranean focus of pasta bar Lupo, celebrated chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett’s Pastore is fast becoming one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne. The sleek brass and stone space is contrasted by cosy, traditional Italian food given Pickett’s trademark Australian tilt. Expect dishes like lasagne made with David Blackmore wagyu and ricotta gnocchi crowned with warrigal greens.
1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone
Winners of the world’s best margherita, when it comes to all things crusty and cheesy – 400 Gradi mean business. Named for the temperature at which thin-based traditional Neapolitan pizza is cooked (for only 90 seconds, nonetheless), their growing fame has seen them open new locations everywhere from Essendon to the Yarra Valley. We suggest pulling up a table at the place where it all started.
99 Lygon St, Brunswick East
This South Melbourne neighbourhood osteria pays homage to the Italian tradition of ‘fatto a mano‘, or, ‘pasta made by hand’ — and would you really have it any other way? The light, relaxed décor of Park Street Pasta & Wine lets the food do the talking, with a seasonal menu inspired by the 20 different regions of Italy. The freshly made pasta dishes have included veal and wild rabbit agnolotti with sage butter and Spring Bay mussels tagliatelle with heirloom zucchini, all made from the best local Victorian and Australian produce.
268 Park Street, South Melbourne
In true aperitivo style, CBD based Floyd’s is all about fine wining and dining, and one of our favourite Italian restaurants in Melbourne. Order a Negroni Your Way (our fave is the Rosita) or a glass of their finest import and nibble on cheese, meats and ciabatta. We have our eyes on their meatball and provolone ciabatta.
Level 1/399 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
One of Melbourne's best Italian restaurants, come for the shelves gleaming with Italian pantry goods, stay for the fresh pasta and Sicilian wine. Part providore, part cafe and part wine bar, Small Axe Deli is well known for plying locals from morning to night with the best of Mediterranean drinking and dining. During the day you can grab colourful fresh salads and Code Black coffee, while at night it’s all about pasta. Sit up at the shiny terrazzo bar for beef lasagne, pork and veal meatballs with pecorinoand squid ink spaghetti with 'nduja, calamari and prawns before ringing up a limoncello-spiked Tom Collins to end the night.
Shop 1, 625 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Café Di Stasio is an Italian fine-dining institution and after more than 30 years at its Fitzroy Street location, this renowned restaurant and bar still holds decadent and timeless appeal. Here, long-serving white-jacketed waiters will offer that extra touch of service, whilst recalling an extensive list of house specialties like linguine with prawns, or home-made pasta with tomato, mozzarella and basil. As such, the restaurant has a faithful clientele and those in the know will swear by the seasonal two-course lunch with wine.
31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Thirty Eight Chairs may be tiny, but you can tell by the complimentary warm bread that gets served on your table after ordering, that it’s got a big heart. Just like in Italy, people dine in closely confined tables here, under romantic lighting with the surrounding walls covered in traditional Italian knick-knacks. And although the pasta offering often changes depending on the season, you can surely count on the classics to be served up, including the handmade spaghetti, gnocchi and slow-cooked ragu.
4A Bond Street, South Yarra
Inspired by the many cafés that line the iconic streets of Rome, Milan and Florence, Caffé e Cucina is both intimate and charming. Taking pride of place along Melbourne’s Chapel Street since it opened in 1988, this café has stood the test of time – and for good reason. Some of the favourites on the menu include beef carpaccio, linguine di mare al Cartoccio and risotto. Expect to also be greeted with ‘ciao bella!’ upon arrival, which adds to the charm of it all.
581 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Who said pizzas were for carnivores and dairy devotees only? Not the guys at Collingwood’s Red Sparrow, that’s for sure. Dishing up authentic wood-fired pizzas with not-so-traditional ingredients, everything on the menu is entirely cruelty-free. That means you’ll find the likes of ‘I can’t believe it’s not…’ parmesan, pepperoni and ham – all 100% vegan. The result? 100% as tasty as the original.
406 Smith St, Collingwood
This dark, wood-lined CBD wine bar is as sophisticated as it is laid-back. Abuzz every night of the week with colleagues, friends and lovers, mid-week revellers can’t get enough of the aperitivo vibe at Embla. Think thoughtfully curated small plates (green olive sourdough and pickled mussels FTW) and “slightly weird” natural and small producer vinos. Two appetising reasons to check it out.
122 Russell Street, Melbourne
Down your tools for fresh, contemporary Italian food served from the glossy surrounds of what used to be a social club for members of the hardware industry. Sporting a cosy, neighbourhood feel, the intimate all-day trattoria serves up antipasti, handmade pasta and pizza by day, before branching out to share plates by night. The wine list hones in on Australian and Italian wines, accompanied by a snappy selection of Italian cocktails including negronis and spritzes. Bellissima!
43 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
Located on Little Bourke Street within a small yet sophisticated laneway locale, Tipo 00 serves as a nice little reminder that eating spaghetti cooked al dente is good for the soul. Named after the finely ground flour used to make pizza and pasta, this venue takes an unfussy approach with clean, simple elements. Try one of the restaurant’s best-sellers including the squid-ink tagliolini or gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and braised duck.
361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Melbourne meets Venice in this nostalgic-filled eatery. Designed as though you’ve stepped out of some back alleyway in Venice, this is one of Melbourne's most authentic Italian restaurants. Enter through an old tobacco shopfront imported from Venice, and then once inside, you'll be greeted by dark timbers, hand-blown Murano chandeliers and leather banquettes. The menu, with starters, sharers and a large selection of pastas, continues this theme, all highlighting classic Venetian ingredients and cooking techniques.
Rear 681 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
Rosa Mitchell may just be Melbourne’s favourite Italian nonna, known for her signature unfussy and authentic Italian flavours. Hands down this is one of our best Italian restaurant picks. This casual kitchen, which overlooks the city’s Supreme Court serves up seasonal, traditional Sicilian food, within a spacious and contemporary setting. Should you visit, try and nab a window seat overlooking the street as you feast on your house-made ravioli.
Level 1, corner Little Bourke Street and Thomson Street, Melbourne
I'd love to live near