There’s something in the air Melbournians have not tasted for quite a while – freedom!
So now that we’re free to gather in public, sans masks, we’re embracing ‘La Dolce Vita’ as the Italians coined – The Sweet Life. And there’s nothing sweeter or more life-affirming than sharing sensational home-style meals paired with a delicious drop amongst friends and family. It’s time to return to the Lygon Street restaurant scene.
Since the early fifties, Italians have stamped their culinary signature on Lygon Street recreating authentic food from the motherland, appetising our taste buds and changing our palates. But it wasn’t simply the abundance of flavoursome food that excited and delighted us: the hospitality with which we were welcomed gave us a genuine feeling of Italian culture and made us part of the family.
Several iconic Lygon Street restaurants, including Donnini’s and Seasons Provedore, attribute their success to the traditional home-cooked meals their mothers used to make and the bond that was forged around the diner table. For many Italians, food is a manifestation of love and you can taste their passion on the plate. They pride themselves on ensuring fantastic food in a friendly atmosphere.
The Carlton end of Lygon Street, known as Little Italy, assaults the senses with garlic, bolognese, coffee and cake, especially as alfresco dining will have more appeal than ever before. A leisurely stroll down the strip offers picturesque footpaths filled with COVID-safe outdoor dining spaces, because the Melbourne City Council has prioritised Lygon Street as a hospitality hub. Supporting local restaurants, cafes and pubs will restore the dynamic atmosphere that Lygon Street is famous for. They have even catered to the endearing four-seasons-in-a-day Melbourne is known for, so the elements are no barrier to getting out and about.
Prepare your palate to sing as several menus read like classic albums, presenting all the flavour hits! Tiamo’s iconic dishes include all our favourites, such as minestrone, lasagne, gnocchi, risotto and spaghetti bolognese. No pizza menu worth its salt forgets a margherita or capricciosa. Aperitifs such as Aperol and Negroni are the contemporary take on a spritz and it’s impossible to go past tiramisu or cannoli for dessert. The Lygon Street dining experience would not be complete if you didn’t finish with the best coffee in town, AKA the birthplace Melbourne’s cafe culture.
The passion for delicious, nutritious meals is realised through original homeland recipes, authentic food preparation methods and of course the finest raw ingredients. Establishments such as Venetian restaurant, Da Guido La Pasta, is known as ‘pasta paradise.’ Signature dishes include their spectacular tagliatelle, maccheroni and fusilli plus the ambience of dining in a Victorian Terrace has its own delectable appeal.
Fancy a slice of heaven? You can’t beat the dedication of Il Gambero‘s Head Pizza Chef, Frankie DiMattina. His industrious nature shipped the first stone-conveyor oven to Australia from Italy, guaranteeing the perfect thin crust pizza. They have been captivating our taste buds for over 40 years with their mouth-watering menu.
Brunswick’s Quirky Cuisine
The Brunswick end of Lygon Street is going to ramp up a more diverse culture and while you’ll definitely get a fab Italian feed, you’ll also have your choice of Vietnamese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian, even Aussie, and that’s just for starters. The vibe is less about table service or wine pairing and more about affordable, relaxed eats that suit musos, artists, students and travellers.
For vibrant, authentic Lebanese, Mama Manoush is the rave, The Quarry Hotel slays pub grub, the vegans swoon over Don Taco, Ancient Memories serve fresh and flavour-filled Middle Eastern fare and Avrah is known for its progressive Indian cuisine. Feeling spoiled for choice?
With such diverse, delicious options on offer, Lygon Street dining will not disappoint. The Carlton precinct will offer you all the family feels of a home cooked meal, while Brunswick’s Lygon Street district will provide the hustle and bustle of culture clash. Good vibes either side.
Please be COVID-safe and check specific dining protocols as well as making an essential reservation. We live in fluid times… alas, that’s not a reference to the vino!