Il Bacaro: When in Rome …

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Category: CBD, Dinner, Italian, Lunch

Il Bacaro, gleaming under the street lights on Lt Collins St

Il Bacaro, gleaming under the street lights on Lt Collins St

Sometimes the best decisions are made on the fly. Like, choosing where to dine on a Saturday night. Or securing a rare on-street car park in Melbourne’s Lt Collins St and deciding that the Italian place across the road is just the place to chow down.

When I stepped into Il Bacaro, I saw a cosy restaurant filled with diners – and seemingly little chance of securing a table. Listed in the Australian Good Food Guide as a premium cut on Victoria’s restaurant menu, this was hardly a surprise. What was a surprise was that we couldn’t have planned the night better if we tried – settling for a place at the bar offered one of the best first-time dining experiences I’ve had in some time.

Il Bacaro Cucina & Bar
168–170 Lt Collins St, Melbourne, VIC

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Il Solito Posto

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Category: CBD, Dinner, Italian, Lunch, breakfast

Feel like pasta? Try Il Solito Posto. Tucked down a laneway off Collins St, this little bistro may look unassuming from the outside, but inside it’s a hub of activity, buzzing with conversation and oozing with charm; its dimly lit, rustic atmosphere the perfect canvas for after-work drinks and a bite to eat.

Il Solito Posto
Basement 113 Collins St (entry on George Pde), Melbourne VIC

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Benito’s (not Mussolini’s)


Category: CBD, Dinner, Italian, Lunch, Monday to Friday

antipasto platter

Antipasto platter

I first encountered Benito’s a couple of years ago after emerging from a fun, girly dinner at Bistro Vue.* As I headed down the laneway with my friend Larrabee, I shoved my hands deeper into my coat pockets, fumbling for my car keys and an ounce of warmth.

Larrabee took my arm, leading me toward Lt Collins St. ‘There’s a little restaurant I want to look at,’ she said, nodding toward a small, unassuming café/restaurant across the road. ‘I walked past the other day. I can’t remember its name … but I think it sounds kind of fascist?’

445 Lt Collins St, Melbourne VIC

* More about Bistro Vue another time.

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Category: Chapel St, Dinner, Italian, Lunch


The calamari: simply delicious

Caffé e Cucina
581 Chapel St, South Yarra

Turn down the lights and turn up the romance, for this little restaurant on Chapel St is the perfect restaurant for two. The atmosphere is spot-on at this little Italian haunt: it’s busy and bustling, and the tables could be an inch too close, but there’s something about Caffé e Cucina that really oozes charm.

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