MELBOURNE | There’s something so comforting about enjoying a bowl of pasta. Lovers of pasta in Melbourne have a lot of choices when it comes to the best Melbourne pasta to choose from. This city is full of great Italian restaurants, some which specialise in pasta, and others that have a wider focus, but still have excellent pasta. Some of the Melbourne’s best pasta, in fact, can even be found in places other than Italian restaurants.
Whether it’s a hearty ragu, spaghetti Bolognese, or something lighter you’re after, you’re never short of pasta options in Melbourne. My list, updated as at early 2022, contains something for everyone looking for the best Melbourne pasta. I’ve placed them in alphabetical order, and they’re all fantastic. Are any of your favourites listed below? Are there any places that you think should be on the list?
Starting life as a delivery service before opening as a physical restaurant is 1800 Lasagne. As you’d expect, the menu is centred around owner Joey Kellock’s lasagne, which is some of the best in Melbourne. You can still get lasagne (and wine) delivered, but if you dine in there’s an expanded menu with a few extra pasta dishes, small plates, and tiramisu.
Al Dente Enoteca
When chef Andrea Vignali found himself out of work at the start of the pandemic in 2020, he founded Al Dente Enoteca, delivering pasta around town from his apartment. Word of mouth spread, and soon Andrea was making more pasta than he ever imainged, an helping other international visa holders that were out of work without government support.
In 2021, he took things to the next level, joining forces with Davide Bonadiman to open Al Dente Enoteca as a bricks and mortar restaurant. There’s a lot to like on the menu, and pasta is a definite highlight. A must try is the tortellini cacio e pepe.
This hidden bar is owned by the Grossi family, and is hidden down the laneway that Grossi Florentino backs on to. It’s open until the early hours of the morning, with a simple Italian menu focused on quality ingredients. You must try the famed Arlechin “Midnight Pasta”. Al dente pasta topped with a sauce of diced tomatoes, chilli, oregano, capers, and colatura di alici from the Amalfi Coast.
Bar Carolina is a casual Italian diner in South Yarra from Joe Mammone (Il Bacaro, Marameo). An imported a woodfire Josper oven from Spain is the centrepiece of the kitchen, used to cook some of the tastiest Italian food south of the Yarra. All of the pasta is made fresh daily, in house, and is great.
The menu at Capitano is inspired by the by the Italian-American restaurants found in the USA, and the food that North Carolina-born co-owner Casey Wall enjoys eating on his days off. The restaurant is well known for its Long Island style “square pies”, and for good reason. But don’t overlook the pasta. Must try is the Vesuvio, a short, curly pasta common to the southern region of Campania, Italy with delicious vodka sauce, bone-in veal parmigiana and meatballs.
The Bortolotto family have been involved in Melbourne’s hospitality scene for over 40 years, and their Flinders Lane flagship Cecconi’s, has been going strong since 2006. It’s a space that’s both casual, and formal, with excellent service and delicious food. The restaurant grows its own fruits, vegetables and herbs, used across the rustic Italian menu. Try the linguine with, seafood, garlic, chili, herbs
Di Stasio Citta
Rinaldo Di Stasio returned to Melbourne’s CBD in 2019, after a 30 year absence from the heart of town. The menu at Di Stasio Citta features many favourites from Cafe Di Stasio and Bar Di Stasio (also both worth a visit for pasta fans) with the expected bold, vibrant Sicilian flavours.
You can’t go wrong at any of the D.O.C. locations, but there’s something particularly special about the original Espresso Bar on Lygon Street, and Mozzarella & Pizza bar around the corner. It’s about simple Italian food done right, with a real focus on provenance.
The signature Toscana pappardelle with Italian porcini mushroom, truffle oil in bianco & parmigiano is a must. It’s also worth enquiring as to what the ‘pasta of the day’ is.
The Hardware Club
The Hardware Club is a contemporary Italian restaurant by owners and long-time friends Andrea Ceriani and chef Nicola Dusi. The space evokes memories of neighbourhood Italian bistros, with a homely atmosphere and excellent service.
Nicola’s food highlights the quality of the locally sourced (where possible), seasonal produce, and respects the classics while being exciting. The ossobuco ravioli, with saffron butter, and gremolata of garlic-lemon-olive oil, is one of the best things you’ll eat in Melbourne.
Hope St Radio
This venue is bar x restaurant x live radio station defies categorisation. What you can be assured of at Hope St Radio is a great time with some of the best pasta in Melbourne. Head chef Ellie Bouhadana’s food features a rotating, seasonal selection of comforting food with a fresh spin. The pasta is exceptional, the exact offering rotating with the seasons.
King & Godfree
For 60 years King & Godfree was where you’d go for your Italian staples like parmesan cheese, Lavazza coffee, and deli meats. It reopened in early 2018, after three years of renovations, with a refreshed focus on in-venue dining. Their pasta is a highlight, the lasagne in particular.
Mister Bianco is a favourite with locals, who comes here for the welcoming atmosphere, and owner/chef Joseph Vargetto’s food. The food draws upon Vergetto’s Sicilian heritage, using locally sourced produce where possible. It’s a proper neighbourhood trattoria, where everyone is made to feel welcome.
Ostēr is a Northern Italian restaurant in Richmond by owners Osvaldo Tognella and chef Nicola Romano, who both hail from Lombardy in Italy. The venue was designed by Romano’s mother, a designer who flew over from Italy to help the boys put everything together.
The food here rustic Italian with a contemporary spin, driven by local, seasonal produce. Try the Casonséi alla Bresciana with Heidi Farm Tilsit cheese, brown butter, and sage.
Sister restaurant to the always perennially popular Tipo 00, Osteria Illaria is a casual venue modelled off the neighbourhood osterias you find in Italy. Pasta isn’t as much of a focus as it is at Tipo 00, there are still several excellent pasta dishes on the menu.
Pentolina is a small Italian trattoria just off Little Collins Street that specialises in simple Italian food done well. It’s a family run spot, with owners Matt and Juila Piccone the brains behind the venue. The space is reminiscent of a Roman trattoria, with terrazzo floors, weathered concrete, and natural light.
Pasta is the focus here, and the egg-free pasta is made fresh on site each day. There’s a rotating selection of around 16 different pastas on offer on any given day.
Supermaxi is owned by wife and husband duo Rita Macali and Giovanni Patané. The concept is a simple one. Rustic Italian food, served with personable, attentive service. Dining here, is like being welcomed into the family’s dining room. There’s a lot to love about this venue, including the delicious pasta.
Tipico offers a contemporary take on classic Italian food, sticking to the Italian philosophy of “less is more”. The quality of the ingredients shine throughout the menu, including the innovative pasta selection. Try the Girasoli – activated charcoal pasta with Moreton Bay bugs, seaweed butter, and spitfire chilli.
Named after the type of flour used to make pizza and pasta, Tipo 00 is all about pared back Italian dining, with a focus on pasta. Many consider the pasta here to best the best in Melbourne, and it’s easy to see why. It’s simple cooking, with interesting flavour combinations that will have you wanting to return to try more.
Trattoria Emilia is a contemporary Italian restaurant with a menu featuring versions of classic rustic dishes that you would actually find in simple Italian restaurants in Italy today. Dishes are heavily influenced by the food of Northern Italy – specifically Modena, with a scattering of Tuscan flavours and influences. Pasta isn’t the strict focus here, but there’s always a few options on the menu, and they’re always brilliant.
Have you tried any of these spots for the best Melbourne pasta? Check out my Melbourne City Guide for more tips on where to eat and drink, and what to do in Victoria’s bustling capital.