The original café culture strip is Melbourne’s Little Italy along Lygon Street. It’s a timeless haunt for foodies. Shop handmade pasta and fresh prosciutto, then grab a gelato for your stroll around the Carlton Gardens fountains. Or pair Brunettis coffee and cake with an indie flick at the Nova on a rainy afternoon. Find cosy wine bars and classic all-hours pizza and pasta, beloved by generations of nearby students. And check out new mozzarella bars, sublime fine dining and rooftop bars for sunset-lit cocktails.

Pasta at Tiamo

Tiamo

Bring your appetite to Tiamo, where the generous pasta portions haven’t changed for 40 years and the crunchy Italian bread abounds. Order silky carbonara, mushroom tortellini or handmade gnocchi. Please a crowd with margherita pizzas for the table and stay for dolce – good luck choosing between Sicilian cannoli and Nutella pizza.

Jimmy Watson's

Pouring vino since 1935, Jimmy Watson’s might just be Australia's first wine bar. Order modern Italian plates like burrata and heirloom tomatoes or pan-fried pumpkin gnocchi, with a wine to match. Try the daily risotto or the beef tortellini and leave room for stacked tiramisu. On a warm night, head upstairs to Wolf's Lair for an Aperol spritz and charcuterie to share on the rooftop.

Agostino

The most recent edition to the King and Godfree empire, this wine bar, bottle shop and basement cellar is modelled on the classic Italian enoteca. Sip cocktails at the bar and order oysters with Pidapipo mojito sorbetto. Starring on the northern Italian-inspired menu is confit duck leg with cherry and calamari alla puttanesca. Pasta lovers will find plenty to delight in – such as buffalo ricotta ravioli. Head downstairs to the old bluestone cellar for a rare vintage drop, or pair a digestive with desserts such as the peach and Campari meringue.

Lygon Street Italian precinct

Stroll along leafy Lygon Street in Carlton and discover where Melbourne's cafe culture was born.

Pidapipo Gelateria

Authentic, artisanal Italian-style gelato in the heart of Carlton's Lygon Street.

Lukumades

Dedicated to Greek donuts.

Johnny's Green Room

Rooftop bar above Carlton's King & Godfree.

Last updated on Mon 11 Jan 2021

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Masani

An iconic Italian restaurant with remarkable food and an exemplary wine list.

Maria's Trattoria

Family-run dining with authentic, home-style Italian food.

Tiamo 2

The younger sibling of next door Tiamo with a stronger emphasis on dining.

Amiconi

Serving traditional, hearty Italian dishes since the 1950s.