If you've made it to Cecconi's, congratulations: you're an adult now. Cecconi's is the grandaddy of Italian restaurants, and it looms over Melbourne like a well-dressed, well-made man of success. And if you find yourself here — whether it's on a mate date or for your Dad's 60th birthday — you can take a second to high five yourself. Because this is what dining out ought to be.
Although, forgive my masculine connotations with the place, because the person behind this place is a woman. Olimpia Bortolotto is the matriarch at the helm of Cecconi's — and has been since 1998 when the restaurant initially opened at Crown. Moving to Flinders Lane eight years later, the Bortolotto family have continued to keep the Italian restaurant at an incredibly high calibre.
This may be white tablecloth stuff, but it's anything but stuffy. Each dish — from the pappardelle to the pancetta-wrapped quail to the tiramisu — is basically faultless. These guys have been doing this for a long time now, and nothing could be more brilliantly obvious.