If you like your Italian food done the way they do it down south, you're in for a treat — and a big, warm welcome — at Fitzroy's latest addition, Mr Ottorino. Having recently opened in the 100-year-old Johnston Street building that formerly housed The Commoner, the restaurant is the creation of good mates-turned-business partners Matt Tine and Matty Miceli.
Between them, the two have racked up some impressive Italian hospitality points. Tine spent 11 years working at Bourke Street's Grossi Florentino, while Miceli used to own Carlton's Lucky Pizzeria. So they know a thing or two about tasty Italian cooking.
At Mr Ottorino, the duo has come up with dishes that combine old-school family traditions with contemporary touches, such as cavatelli with ragu de carne peas, fregola piled with ocean trout smoked with coffee grounds and cannoli stuffed with ricotta, pistachios and candied fruit. You'll find a match in the brief yet mark-hitting drinks list, which includes beer from Sardinia and Prosecco from Veneto (the northeastern Italian region of which Venice is capital).
When it came to renovating, Tine and Miceli opted for creativity and upcycling over spending the big bucks. Step past the peach-framed window into high-ceilinged, white-walled rooms, furnished with dark wooden Thonet chairs and matching tables. Second-hand doors have been turned into shelves, encyclopaedias into points of interest and a fridge into a smoker.