Where to Find the Best Pasta in Melbourne

Undo the top button of your pants and tuck your napkin into your shirt — it's pasta time at these beloved Italian restaurants in Melbourne.
Andrew Zuccala and Concrete Playground
Published on April 15, 2024

Where to Find the Best Pasta in Melbourne

Undo the top button of your pants and tuck your napkin into your shirt — it's pasta time at these beloved Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

Searching for the best pasta in Melbourne has been a lifelong journey for many of our writers and editors. We've dined at Italian restaurants all over the city to find the perfect pappardelle al ragu, seafood spaghetti, pasta alla norma and cacio e pepe. And we have loved every minute of the epic journey.

We've hit up true dining institutions that haven't changed their recipes in generations — why fix something that ain't broke? — and more contemporary diners that play with the classics, bringing skills and flavours from all over the world to dream up new pasta creations. From this neverending search, we've compiled the ultimate guide on where to find the best pasta in Melbourne — where every bowl should go back to the kitchen in pristine condition after you've mopped up every last drop of sauce with bread.


Recommended reads:
The Best Pizza in Melbourne
The Best Delis in Melbourne
The Best Restaurants in Melbourne
The Best Wine Bars in Melbourne

  • 18
    people dining at the bar at Pellegrini's Espresso Bar - home to some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    One of our city’s great gifts, this Italian classic remains stubbornly untouched as the years pass. Steaming with soul food, raw character and some of the best coffee in Melbourne since 1954, Pellegrini’s really doesn’t have any reason to change.

    You’ll still find its original red leather stools sitting by the wooden bar and the worn checkerboard flooring where so many Italian food lovers have trodden. Sit up at the bar with an espresso and torte at the start of the day, or head over for big bowls of Nonna-style pasta for an early lunch. It’s best known for its spaghetti bolognese, cheesy lasagne and classic spinach and ricotta ravioli. We also highly recommend the Friday gnocchi special — it’s always a winner.

    Image: Brook James.

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  • 17

    Just around the corner from Richmond station, Ms Frankie allows diners to get up close and personal with a glass-enclosed pasta-making room. Take a seat at one of the bar stools and watch them make your order from scratch — whether you’ve picked the pumpkin and ricotta stuffed tortellini topped with amaretti crumb, slow-cooked beef ragu with gnocchi or Giorgio’s signature spaghetti marinara. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available, which is a big win for those in need.

    And you don’t have to run off to Cremorne to watch the chefs make some of the best pasta in Melbourne right before your eyes. You can also grab a stool at the bar in Ms Frankie’s Carlton restaurant, watching the pros make your meal as you sip on spritzes and glasses of Italian vino.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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  • 16

    The Waiters Restaurant (formerly The Waiters Club) has been around since 1947 and still resembles an old Coles canteen from the 70s. But despite missing out on the neighbouring Meyers Place revolution, The Waiters Restaurant remains a city stalwart. Originally a members-only, after-work venue for Melbourne’s Australian waiters, the restaurant now hosts a cross-generational legion of foodie fans.

    Tuck into a large welcoming bowl of pasta like the spaghetti bolognese that’s been on the menu since the 70s (in the exact same form) and settle in for a good old fashioned family-style feast. Fine dining, it’s not, but it is homely and dependable. And you’ll never leave hungry.

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  • 15
    best italian restaurants melbourne - amiconi dining room in west melbourne - also home to the best pasta in Melbourne

    Melbourne is full of great Italian restaurants, but few have as much character as Amiconi in West Melbourne. It’s been serving up some of the best pasta in Melbourne for over 60 years, feeding all of those who are in the know. When it comes to pasta, we always struggle to choose just one, which is why the pasta misto platter is so perfect. Two people can share a selection of any three pastas on the menu, going home incredibly full.

    Our picks? The creamy mushroom tortellini, the prawn and pistachio linguini and the spicy gnocchi alla mattriciana. Amiconi also has a BYO liquor license, so be sure to bring a few of your favourite bottles of vino along with you.

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  • 14
    seafood pasta at tipo 00 - one of the best pastas in melbourne

    The word ‘institution’ gets thrown around quite a bit, but Tipo 00 can rightfully claim the title. Named after the finely ground flour used to make pizza and pasta, Tipo’s popularity shows no sign of slowing down – just try getting a table at noon any day of the week. This famed Melbourne pasta haunt has a simple and reliable menu.

    Expect crowd-favourites like the squid ink tagliolini served with bottarga (cured fish roe), pumpkin tortilli with amaretti crumbs, prawn spaghettini finished with anchovies and broccolini and the rigatoni in a rich ragu of wagyu beef, tomato and confit chilli. Then end it in style, ordering the famous Tipomisù — a ring of fudgey chocolate and coffee cake filled with mascarpone and chocolate caramel.

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  • 13
    olives and wine by the window overlooking Lygon Street at Bar Idda - home to some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    Sporting a truly authentic cucina povera vibe — embroidered tablecloths, mismatched chairs and lacy curtains — Bar Idda is the real deal when it comes to Sicilian eats in Melbourne. As its popularity shows no signs of abating, it’s best you make a booking and be sure to grab the best seats in the house: the front room or the window ledge overlooking Lygon Street.

    You can simply come here for drinks and an assortment of shared plates, but you’d be a fool to skip its southern Italian pasta menu. The cavatelli with pistachio pesto and fried zucchinis is the best of Sicily in a bowl, while we will always polish off the seafood spaghetti and agnolotti all norma without trouble. It should go without saying, but all the pasta is house-made. Sicilians wouldn’t do it any other way.

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  • 12
    the truffle pasta at Tipico - one of the best pastas in melbourne

    If you live in Windsor, congratulations, you have some of Melbourne’s best pasta right on your doorstep. If you live elsewhere, plan a trip ASAP. Run by a team who have done the hard yards — at DOC, The Lucas Group, Tokyo Tina and Ti Amo — you really should expect nothing less than the best when it comes to food, service and all-round good times.

    Tipico’s most notorious dish would have to be the veal cotoletta, but we believe the pastas are its unsung heroes. The four-cheese gnocchi with pumpkin, amaretto and crispy sage is well worth popping a lactese tablet for, while the squid ink tortelli is a seafood lover’s delight. This bad boy is filled with stracciatella and chives and topped with Moreton Bay bugs and a funky — but altogether delicious — seaweed butter. Heaven.

    Image: Julia Sansone.

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  • 11
    a bowl of papardelle ragu at Cecconi's in melbourne - some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    If you’ve made it to Cecconi’s, congratulations: you’re an adult now. Cecconi’s is the grandaddy of Italian restaurants in Melbourne, and it looms over the city like a well-dressed, well-made man of success. And if you find yourself here — whether on a date or for your parent’s 60th birthday — you can take a second to high-five yourself. Because this is what dining out ought to be.

    And while it may be white tablecloth stuff, Cecconi’s is anything but stuffy. Each dish — from the pappardelle ragu and prawn linguini to the veal cotoletta and tiramisu — is basically faultless. These guys have been doing this for a long time now, and nothing could be more brilliantly obvious. It’s easily home to some of the best pasta in Melbourne.

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  • 10
    pasta at Di Stasio Citta - some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    While we are focusiing on the pasta here, it’s hard to talk about Di Stasio Citta without mentioning its grand modernist design. It feels more like a contemporary gallery than a restaurant, with high concrete-clad walls, minimal furnishings, and white videos projected onto the walls. At the same time, Italian music from the 60s plays in the background. It’s a brilliant backdrop for the consumption of pasta.

    Expect to choose from about ten different pasta options each time you visit, and always struggle to make a choice. But to help you out, we highly recommend the capellini con granchio — angel hair pasta with crabmeat and heavy-handed lashings of garlic, chilli and white wine. it’s been serving this simple dish for many years now, and we really hope it never stops.

    Image: Kate Shanasy.

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  • 9
    Grossi Florentino exterior with people eating outside on the street - home to some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    Although the Grossi family hasn’t always owned it, Florentino has stood at the 80 Bourke Street site since 1928. In that time, it’s changed ownership quite a bit, but the sentiment has remained the same: Florentino has always been about authentic Italian fine dining and great wine.

    Pasta is also a big specialty here. Expect the menu to change regularly, but we hope you catch its sopressini al ragu made with wild boar meat, oranges and pecorino. It might just be the very best ragu we’ve ever had in Melbourne. But if seafood is more your jam, check out either the K’gari spanner crab pasta or the decadent lobster risotto. Yeah, it ain’t cheap. But trust us, it’s well worth it.

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  • 8
    Pasta at Agostino - some of the best pasta in Melbourne.

    Lygon Street doesn’t have any shortage of Italian wine bars, but Agostino is certainly notable — if not due to its food and wine and pasta offering, then because of its history. Making its home in the strip’s King and Godfree building, Agostino was named as a nod to one of the area’s original Italian food pioneers. It’s a homage to Vincenza-born Carlo Valmorbida, the man who originally opened grocery store Frank Agostino’s and whose family has owned (and continues to run) the building since 1955.

    The space might best be known as one of the best wine bars in Melbourne, but the food is no mere after thought. From the kitchen comes a food offering that’s concise yet punchy — and ever-changing. You could come with some mates to share a bottle of wine and some small plates of antipasti and be very happy. But we recommend you stay for a bigger and longer meal, diving into some of Melbourne’s best pasta. These change regularly, but its ragu is a stunner, as is the Moreton Bay bug tagliolini. But no matter which you opt for, you’ll be in for a good time.

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  • 7
    pasta, wine and bread on a table at Trattoria Emilia - home to some of the best pasta in melbourne

    Trattoria Emilia is all about that refined rustic Italian vibe, as if you’re putting your feet up at a waterfront cafe in Sorrento. Owners Francesco and Luca have created a restaurant with a special focus on the ambience, allowing the diners’ imagination to take them back to the sunny shores of Italy. It’s all about tradition here, while using modern cooking techniques to create something unique.

    Order some of the starters to have with your fellow diners before getting a big bowl of pasta that is just too good to share. Our favourite? The prosciutto- and mortadella-filled tortelloni covered in a thick parmesan sauce with either aged Aceto Balsamico or extra luxurious Tasmanian black truffles (when in season). This is easily one of the best pastas in Melbourne.

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  • 6
    the exterior of Good Times with stacks of people waiting outside to get in - home to some of the best pasta in melbourne, also some of the cheapest pasta in melbourne

    It’s been around a while now, but unassuming Fitzroy North Good Times is still pulling queues. And it’s easy to see why. The laidback St George’s Road eatery is doing a bang-up job of living up to its name, with cheerful, honest dishes and a comfy, home-spun vibe ticking all the right boxes for northside’s savvy dining set.

    From the kitchen comes a cheerfully simple, produce-focused offering, where pasta is the star of the show. You might tuck into a classic puttanesca or carbonara or perhaps a bowl of fresh pipis tossed in white wine and herbs. Best of all, these good times are easy on the wallet — you’ll always find at least one cheap pasta in the mix, alongside cheap negronis, craft beers and carafes of wine. You don’t have to spend a heap to try some of the best pasta in Melbourne.

    Image: Kate Shanasy.

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  • 5
    a big plate of lasagne at 1800 Lasagne

    What started as a lasagne hotline side hustle has finally upgraded to a moody bricks-and-mortar diner. The warm, Italian-style haunt is low on pretension and filled with charming carryovers from its past life as an old-school pizza joint. A softly lit front bar is all exposed brick arches, timber panelling and curved high-top tables, leading to an intimate dining room through the back and cosy, vine-covered courtyard.

    The stars of the menu are Joey Kellock’s renowned vegetarian lasagne and carne lasagne (made with a mix of pork and beef mince). Kellock keeps it simple with a small selection of other pasta dishes (gnocchi, pappardelle and fettuccine), as well as some classic garlic bread for sauce mopping. It also means you can (somewhat) refrain from licking the plate when dining here.

    Image: Parker Blain

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  • 4
    D.O.C St Kilda - some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    D.O.C has played a significant role in the development of Melbourne’s contemporary Italian dining scene ever since it opened its first Carlton site back in 1997. It blends warm and friendly old-school Italian hospitality with modern interiors and less-than-traditional cooking techniques and flavours — creating a roadmap for other Melbourne Italian restaurants to follow.

    D.O.C. has since spread across the city with sites in Southbank, St Kilda and Mornington Peninsula, as well as a location in Sydney’s Surry Hills. No matter which one you visit, you’ll find damn delicious pasta. Each has a few site-specific pasta dishes that change seasonally, but the lasagne and ragu are found at just about all of them. But our favourite of all time has got to be D.O.C Espresso’s mushroom and truffle pappardelle. It’s pure bliss.

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  • 3
    A bowl of pasta at Osteria Renata - home to some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    Osteria Renata has been kicking about Prahran since 2022 and is still home to some of the best pasta in Melbourne. There’s a sense of generous hospitality throughout, with a comforting yet imaginative food offering matched by inviting interiors sporting soft olive accents and natural timbers.

    An on-site pasta lab steers the menu’s carb component, equally embracing the traditional and the innovative. Either stop by to watch the pros do their thing or join one of the workshops so you can try to replicate their next-level pasta at home.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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  • 2
    duck ragu and a glass of wine at Thirty Eight Chairs - where you will find some of the best pasta in Melbourne

    Thirty Eight Chairs has something especially comforting to it. It may be the warm bread that lands on your table straight after ordering or the five types of pasta on the menu. Or it might have something to do with the hospitable waitstaff who take their time to entertain their guests, as opposed to plonking plates onto tables and leaving faster than you can say grazie.

    A whole lot of love has been given to every part of the dining experience, but pasta remains the frontrunner — it calls itself a pasta bar, so it’s unsurprisingly the dish that works its way onto most diners’ dockets. The pappardelle duck ragu in Napoli sauce remains a crowd favourite for good reason, and the monstrous wine list will surely have something you fancy.

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  • 1
    the crab spaghetti at Stokehouse Pasta and Bar in St Kilda, Melbourne - home to the best pasta in melbourne

    A fresh incarnation of the former Pontoon site and casual sibling to Stokehouse upstairs, this laidback, all-day spot is a go-to for Mediterranean eats and beachside sips. Hugh van Haandel (son of Stokehouse precinct owner Frank van Haandel) is steering the venue’s latest guise, built around a pasta-heavy food offering that fuses European flavours with Aussie flair.

    Within the pasta territory, you’ll find plates like ricotta gnudi with pumpkin, crab and chilli spaghetti and cannelloni with broccoli, ricotta and tomato. But our favourite has to be the fusilli coated in a rich pistachio and basil pesto — ideally served with lashings of parmesan and a glass of fine wine or spritz while looking out over the water. It’s hard to beat this kind of dining experience.

    Image: Arianna Leggiero.

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Top image: Trattoria Emilia.

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