Evolving into a beloved Port Melbourne caffe e cucina over the course of a decade, Pane e Tulipani is now a firm fixture down the main Bay Street drag, just a block up from the Port Melbourne Yacht Club. Proprietors Angela and Tony have brought a cornucopia of Italian atmosphere and cuisine from their hometown to Melbourne’s crowded Italian dining scene, establishing a casual coffee and gelato spot, neighbourhood pizzeria, and relaxed Italian ristorante that’s a default dining destination among locals.
Pane e Tulipani is one of the few places where locals can grab a bite to eat in the very small hours of Melbourne’s mornings, opening its doors at 6am to a gaggle of Port Melbourne locals looking to breakfast the Italian way. The Pane e Tulipani house breakfast is a favourite, but our picks are the ricotta al forno con avocado and the Caprese omelette. In addition to eminently Italian fare, there are a number of other European and Australian early morning classics to start the day off with, too. In truth, it’s when lunch rolls around that Pane e Tulipani pulls out all the stops to offer a quintessential Italian dining experience.
This Port Melbourne trattoria offers up lighter lunchtime dishes like polenta-coated calamari salad and the very Mediterranean quinoa, grilled veggie and feta salad for the health conscious, while those looking for more substantial fuel are advised to sample the risotto with porcini mushrooms or the beef ragu with cavatelli pasta. This Bay Street institution really packs out when the kitchen begins serving dinner at 5pm, with a classically-structured menu covering antipasti, primi and secondi piatti. Signature dishes like the platter of affettati misti (Italian cured meats for two), strozzapreti salmone (salmon with the Neapolitan ‘strangled priest’-style of pasta!), and cotoletta Milanese have made Pane e Tulipani’s name in this corner of Melbourne. Whether you’re here for a full Italian meal, traditionally prepared and wood-fired pizza, or a scoop of your favourite ice cream, we recommend booking a table, especially at busy times.