The 17 Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne

Melbourne's greatest Italian restaurants don't simply stick to the pizza and pasta game. These spots serve up all kinds of regional dishes that'll blow your carb-loving mind.
Andrew Zuccala and Concrete Playground
Published on January 23, 2024

The 17 Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne

Melbourne's greatest Italian restaurants don't simply stick to the pizza and pasta game. These spots serve up all kinds of regional dishes that'll blow your carb-loving mind.

The best Italian restaurants in Melbourne are known for their cuisine prowess — home to everything from famed squid ink tagliolini and old faithful woodfired margherita to rich duck ragus and golden-fried arancini balls. And don't get us started on all the outstanding tiramisus coming out of their kitchens.

But most of Melbourne's best Italian restaurants don't just stick to these well-known dishes. They explore regional specialities from all over the boot-shaped country. Get on the cicchetti train before diving into a mean veal cotoletta or some grilled swordfish with caponata. You best save some room for a semifreddo or old-school torte while you're at it. The options are boundless when dining out at these neighbourhood eateries.

But to help you navigate the huge selection of Italian restaurants in Melbourne, we have compiled this guide to the absolute greatest. Read on to find where you'll be carb-loading next.


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

  • 17
    Tipo00 - one of the best Italian restaurants 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 Italian restaurant in Melbourne has a menu that is both simple and reliable.

    Expect crowd-favourite dishes like the squid ink tagliolini (a narrower version of tagliatelle) which is served with squid and bottarga (cured fish roe). You can’t leave without ordering a plate (or two) of their famous Tipomisù — a ring of fudgey chocolate cake filled with mascarpone and chocolate caramel. Watch out for the intense kick of caffeine at the end.

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  • 16
    Thirty Eight Chairs - one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

    Upon arrival, the close-knit tables are the first thing most diners notice at Thirty Eight Chairs one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne. Reminiscent of a hole-in-the-wall in Italy, the lack of personal space increases the chance you’ll get to know your dinner neighbours exponentially — and that’s part of the charm.

    Thirty Eight Chairs’ menu focuses on all the family classics — think hearty duck ragu layered on top of freshly made, al dente pappardelle; or grilled octopus served on a refreshing bed of capsicum and orange salad. You won’t find any pizza here, but don’t forget to ask for the dessert menu which boasts a perfectly balanced tiramisu. Plus, each dessert can be thoughtfully paired with a recommended glass of sweet wine.

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  • 15
    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 at one of the very best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

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  • 14
    Quando Quando Cucina & Bar - Melbourne Italian restaurant

    Melbourne’s CBD is no stranger to a brilliant Italian restaurant, but 2023 saw a new legend join the game — Quando Quando Cucina & Bar. This Sicilian restaurant comes from Pino Trigilia, who used to own and cook at Il Nostro Posto on Hardware Lane (now home to Funghi e Tartufo).

    Traditional and semi-formal Sicilian food is the name of the game here. Don’t come expecting rustic cheap eats. Everything is more refined, but has a pleasing, well-considered simplicity. A must-try? Any of the hand-made pastas, be they on the regular menu or one of the daily specials.

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  • 13
    best italian restaurants melbourne - amiconi dining room in west melbourne - also home to the best pasta in Melbourne

    Melbourne is full of Italian restaurants, but few have as much character as Amiconi in West Melbourne. It’s been serving up plates of spag bol for over 60 years now, feeding all of those who are in the know. Little has changed over the decades — it still has the same soccer jerseys on the wall and regional Italian flags hanging from the ceiling. The old black and white family photos have faded, but it’s all part of the charm.

    Warehouse chic, this is not. And its Instagram will not inspire much food envy. But that’s not what Amiconi is about – people come back to this Italian restaurant in Melbourne for their entire lives, because at the end of the day, it’s all about the traditional southern Italian dishes done to perfection. It also has a BYO liquor license. Bring a few bottles of your favourite wine, and pair them with some of the best Italian food in Melbourne. How can you beat that?

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  • 12
    Ms Frankie - - one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

    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 Italian eats 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.

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  • 11
    Eat-aliano by Pino - one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne

    Just a short stroll away from the hustle and bustle of Chapel Street, Eat’aliano is a little Italian gem that is blowing the minds of Melburnians. The Melbourne Italian restaurant’s homemade pappardelle with slow-cooked lamb ragu is a crowd favourite – the rich, full-flavoured sauce coats every strand of their thick al dente pasta to create the perfect mouthful. End the meal with a generous slice of their traditional tiramisu or a sneaky cannolo filled with fresh ricotta and roasted pistachio.

    Suspending, hanging plant boxes and exposed industrial roofing gives the interior a laidback ambience, complemented by concrete floors and an open kitchen. Visitors can eye the prized wood-fire pizza oven, which features distinctive tiles with sleek white squares.

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  • 10
    Di Stasio Citta - one of the very best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

    While food is king 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 Melbourne’s best Italian food.

    Expect to choose from about ten different pasta options each time you visit, and always struggle to make a choice. The rest of the menu is stacked with classic Italian dishes executed perfectly each and every time. It’s the kind of place where regulars come back over and over to order the same exact series of dishes. But with so many options available, we recommend changing it up and discovering something new.

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  • 9
    Cafe Terroni - one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

    Loved by locals, Cafe Terroni is renowned in Melbourne’s west for its friendly service and warm atmosphere. Their pasta is freshly made every single day, from the pillowy ravioli filled with fresh crayfish, prawn and crustacean oil to their allergen-friendly vegan, almond-based, gluten-free beetroot gnocchi.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, have a peek at the Italian restaurant’s daily rotation of specials — the fish of the day is exceptionally fresh. Finding a park in the area can be a bit of a nightmare though, so we recommend catching a ride on Melbourne’s (mostly) reliable PTV for the night or pulling straws for the designated driver.

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  • 8

    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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  • 7
    Osteria Renata - one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

    The team behind South Melbourne’s Park Street Pasta & Wine has serious street cred regarding crowd-pleasing Italian food in Melbourne. And they expanded that fan base even further when they opened the doors to Osteria Renata in 2022, just a quick hop east in the heart of Prahran. 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. Both Osteria Renata and Park Street kitchens are supplied by the pasta lab, while the general public can even come here to partake in workshops — learning how to make some of the best pasta in Melbourne at home.

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  • 6
    1800 Lasagne - one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

    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 at one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

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  • 5
    Hi Italy - home to some of the best Pizza in Melbourne. Also one fo the Melbourne's best Italian restaurants.

    Hi Italy is a cosy hole-in-the-wall slinging out some of the best pizza Reservoir has ever seen. Head chef Lucio hails from the island of Sardinia and is passionate about all things Italian. The pizza is freshly made to order in their small wood-fired oven, ensuring every single base is perfectly charred and slightly crispy. Like most Italian chefs, stingy is not a part of Lucio’s vocabulary — expect generous amounts of Prosciutto di Parma (lovingly shaped into roses) and freshly grated parmesan cheese by the handful.

    At this beloved Italian restaurant in Melbourne, you’ll find classics like the Mortadella with tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola and mortadella, along with new school favourites like the signature Hi Italy with mozzarella, Proscuitto di Parma, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and rocket. Remember to book in advance, their dining area is intimate and tends to fill up quickly.

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  • 4
    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 Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

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  • 3
    DOC - one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

    Arguably one of the frontrunners of the artisan pizza revolution, D.O.C’s popularity (much like their cheese) stretches all the way from Mornington to New South Wales. Established in 1997, D.O.C. has won over the hearts of Melburnians with their perfectly balanced pizza — thin, slightly chewy but crispy bases are layered with options like pork sausage (house-made at the DOC Deli next door) and melty mozzarella.

    If you still have room, its degustation of ‘3 Mozzarelle’ allows you to try a tasting plate full of authentic imported Italian cheese. There’s no way D.O.C. wasn’t going to make this list of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

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  • 2
    Cecconi's - one of the best Italian restaurants 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 one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

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  • 1
    Good Times - Italian restaurant in Fitzroy. best Italian food 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 Italian restaurant 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 Italian eats in Melbourne.

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Top images: Di Stasio Citta by Kate Shanasy

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