Italians have long been a staple part of Melbourne life, with the first immigrants arriving in Australia’s second city in the 1850s. Attracted by the riches of the Victorian gold rush, thousands of Italians decided to stay and make the state capital their home, bringing the signature flavours and cooking techniques of Italian cuisine to the city, beginning a long lasting heritage that continues to this day. From this colourful history, numerous Italian restaurants have sprung up throughout the city, particularly in the heart of it all. So when you delve into delicious dishes of premium cuisine at Italian restaurants in the Melbourne’s CBD, or stray into the adjoining suburb of Carlton to uncover Melbourne’s very own Little Italy on Lygon Street, you’re in for a treat!
Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD take their inspiration from diverse culinary traditions that go back thousands of years. In Italy, professional chefs and home cooks alike put a focus on fresh ingredients and quality produce, rather than elaborate preparation and frills, allowing the innate flavours to shine through. The dishes on offer at Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD keep this legacy alive, and you’ll find impeccable regional specialities to enjoy, alongside signature dishes that are known and loved around the world.
Melbourne has one of the biggest concentrations of people with Italian heritage in Australia, with many of them clustering around the fringes of the CBD and neighbouring Carlton and Brunswick. In Melbourne’s CBD, Italian restaurants offer a wealth of options, with dishes on offer from all over Italy. Many Italian-Australians in and around the city centre are descended from migrants who ventured over from Calabria and Sicily, and as such, you’ll find traditional eateries serving up food native to the Mezzogiorno. This Italian region characterises many menus in the Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD, with mouth-watering seafood and hearty pasta dishes like the iconic pasta alla norma, brimming with tomatoes, aubergine, ricotta and basil taking centre stage.
It’s not just the number of Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD that will impress you, but also the vast differences between them. Many diners know the traditional ristorante, with plenty of menu choice and a more refined ambiance. However, those unfamiliar with the Melbourne CBD restaurant scene will be surprised to discover authentic osteria establishments in and around the city centre. Osteria Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD are a great place to head if you’re after something a little more casual, perfect for socialising with friends as you enjoy good wine and mouth-watering food. If you’re after a more relaxed lunch or dinner, try a traditional trattoria menu instead, and cross over into nearby Carlton where Melbourne’s very own Little Italy has plenty of these casual enclaves. With plenty of regional delicacies to try, why not opt for a traditional Calabrian seafood dish, like pesce spada con capperi alla calabrese, of swordfish with capers. Wherever you decide, Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD offer some of the best fare in the city.
It’s not all regional though, and even the most discerning of diners can’t resist a great slice of pizza. In and around Melbourne’s CBD, Italian restaurants and pizzerias are plentiful and not far from the heart of Melbourne – after all, it is home to the oldest pizzeria in Australia. Treat yourself to a classic margherita cooked the traditionally, on either a stone, or in the wood-fired oven. If you’re after something a little more fancy, artisan pizzerias specialise in unique topping combinations so you can be sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
With such a rich heritage, Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD are some of the best restaurants in the city and if you’re out to celebrate a special occasion, an evening at an Italian restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD is the ideal way to go. Kick things off with an aperitivo, and share a platter of authentic antipasti before a primo plate of a rich risotto or freshly made pasta. For secondi, you’ll find delicious meat and seafood dishes, so you can be sure your boots will certainly be filled after an evening at an Italian restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD. Whatever takes your fancy, discover the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne’s CBD with Quandoo.