Jo Power goes on the hunt for the best Italian in the north.
There’s plenty of pizza and pasta north of the city. The obvious destination is Lygon Street in Carlton, where you can’t toss a circle of pizza dough into the air without hitting another circle of pizza dough. But we’re taking you further north (and geographically closer to the boot-shaped motherland) on a tour of our top Italian picks in Melbourne’s deep north.
822 High Street, Thornbury
This place is vibe city, with low lighting, wood-panelled walls, teeny tables and lots of bustle. With a delicious history dating back to owner Umberto’s move to Thornbury 50 years ago, the eatery is still run by Umberto and his family. The menu gets straight to the point with a tidy selection of pasta, pizza, salads and starters – and for the love of god, don’t forget to look at the specials board!
305 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Open and minimal, Supermaxi’s interior design matches its chefs’ dedication to straightforward Italian flavours. They don’t stray too far from the traditional, but it’s obvious that they execute every dish with great attention to detail. In other words – they nail the taste and make it look pretty.
560 Sydney Road, Coburg
Be warned – the menu is huge. That can be a bad sign, but not in this case. San Marco doesn’t do anything fancy, but their big bowls of pasta are just the thing when you’re craving comfort food of the Italian variety. And San Marco’s takeaway is a great option if you live close enough to pick it up – that way you can make your weird pasta-easting sounds in the privacy of your own home.
32 Best Street, Fitzroy North
Incidentally positioned on Best Street, Pinotta is undoubtedly one of the best northside Italian spots. Their food is good for your eyeballs and your belly, beautifully presented and thoughtfully prepared. They believe in taking things slow, whether it’s meticulously hand-forming pasta or slow-braising sauces.
347 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
What did you doing this morning? The Stonemill 347 chefs were hand-rolling pasta for the day’s diners. You can’t go wrong with any of their made-that-morning pasta, but the gnocchi and the agnolotti are most likely to make you consider running a marathon just for the carb-load.
By Contributor Joanne Power