Quando Quando Cucina & Bar
It's a relatively new addition to the Melbourne Italian restaurant scene but is already one of its finest.
January 10, 2024
Melbourne's CBD is no stranger to a brilliant Italian restaurant, boasting institutions like Grossi Florentino and Di Stasio Citta, but 2023 saw a new legend join the game — Quando Quando Cucina & Bar.
This semi-formal 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). For his new venture, Quando Quando, Trigilia has brought over two chefs from Sicily, Adriano Minutola and Vincenzo Accardi, who you can't miss in the open kitchen, cooking up magic while wearing big puffy chef hats most nights.
Either pull up a stool at the pink marble bar overlooking the kitchen to see these guys do their thing or nab one of the few seats in the main dining room. The space has been left fairly bare, as the team leans into the industrial vibes. The rough concrete walls and exposed pipes and beams on the red-painted ceiling give the restaurant a slightly contemporary feel, even if it really is old-school at heart.
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.
But the handmade pastas are the true stars at Quando Quando Cucina & Bar. Keep it simple with a classic gnocchi alla norma, or treat yourself to a linguini packed with mussels, calamari and prawns. The deeply rich lamb ragu is yet another banger. Portions are also generous, in true Sicilian style.
Those not into the carb game can opt for the eye fillet wrapped in speck or whatever daily fish special is on the cards when you visit. And there will always be a few specials at Quando Quando, be they different variations of bruschetta, pasta or the aforementioned seafood arancini.
For dessert, look no further than the tiramisu. This is one of the best in Melbourne, leaning to the more rich and bitter side of the tiramisu spectrum — tasting more of coffee than cream.
The crew at Melbourne CBD's Quando Quando are sticklers for tradition, expertly executing crowd-favourite dishes and regional specials down on Little Collins Street from Monday to Saturday.
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