Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Cafe Italia must be one of the most uncreative names for an Italian restaurant to assume, especially one that is tucked in a small lane connected to the little Italy of Melbourne, Lygon Street. Fortunately, it is also one that serves up very good authentic Italian cuisine in for pretty reasonable prices.

Cafe Italia at University St, off Lygon, Melbourne
alfresco dining at Cafe Italia when weather permits

Incidentally, this is also one of Mell’s housemates, Jun Wei’s favorite Italian restaurant in Melbourne. The eatery is located on a rather small 1-way University Street (between Melbourne University and Carlton Garden) and only has a small 3’x3′ sign on the outside. Pretty easy to miss especially since the place sorta look like a green house from the outside during cooler months.

Together with Zehan (who also needs a bf, a good Muslim boy perhaps?), the four of us went there in the middle of April during my last trip to Melbourne.

spaghetti fruitti di mare and fish special
spaghetti frutti di mare (seafood), fish special (barramundi)

The restaurant has three different area, conventional dining, private rooms, and court yard (which, as mentioned, converts to green house like area when it’s colder). Interior is tastefully decorated with a bar, wine racks, and plenty of plants. Very comfortable and yet not overly done.

The menu is not any different from most Italian restaurants, offering pasta, beef, lamb, fish, pizza, and of course, a variety of appetizers, desserts, and wine.

lamb chop and rigatoni ragu
lamb chop, rigatoni ragu (pasta with eggplant)

I ordered the lamb special ($27.90)- a generous piece of char grilled lamb chop marinated with lemon and wine served on pea mash. The meat was tender, juicy, and the taste of the lemon and red wine marinate was just right. I was so glad I ordered it. The pea mash was interesting and I actually liked it better than mashed potato by quite a bit.

Mell had the pesce del giorno (fish special $28.90)) – a piece of barramundi (I think) fillet served with fire roasted peppers, brocolini, and lime saffron sauce. The seafood was fresh and sauce went well with the whole combination, no complains at all there.

jun wei, KY, mellissa, and zehan at cafe italia
Jun Wei, KY, Mell, Zehan

Zehan and Jun Wei had the rigatoni ragu (spaghetti with eggplant, $17.90) and spaghetti frutti di mar (seafood spaghetti $22.90) with both of them expressing approval for their dishes in terms of taste as well as presentation.

Comparing to the more student friendly (budget wise) places such as Cafe Notturno, Cafe Italia is 30-50% pricier, but if you look into the place, service, as well as food quality and taste factor, then it is a very worth while place to visit.

map to cafe italia at lygon street, Melbourne

At the end, our bill came to just a bit less than $100 for the four of us (we only ordered water). Dollar to dollar, an excellent value don’t you think? Now I think I might need to go back there again for the next Melbourne trip.

Cafe Italia
56/66 University St,

Victoria 3053,

GPS: -37.799366,144.967926
Tel: +613 9347 0638

Discuss : Cafe Italia at Lygon, Melbourne

  1. Mellissa

    Cafe Italia is the bomb diggity! 😀 Slightly more pricey but worth every penny.

  2. My plan is to go to Melbourne on my next oversea trip… so might need your opinion on where to eat soon. As u know, H1N1 is still rampaging out there and so, this will have to wait until next year (hopefully)

  3. Mellissa,
    Agreed, HUNGER!

    I’m slowly compiling a food map of Melbourne, slowly.. slowly. 😀

  4. wooo..i dun think we’ll get that size of lamb here in Malaysia..pfftt

  5. Cruxie Faye

    always interested to know what’s good along lygon street. I’m kinda at a loss on where to bring friends from overseas when they come for a visit.

  6. Yatz,
    Well order 2 then haha

    Cruxie Faye,
    Just don’t bring them for “Malaysian” food then. Hehe

  7. Pasta looks delicious. But takan fly all the way to Melbourne to eat meh? Any suggestion here in KL, KY?

  8. May Zhee

    Eh are you TAN Kar Yeong or TEH Kar Yeong I think I just called you a TEH how come I always mistaken you for Teh one?!?!

  9. JD,
    Just fly there only, tickets are cheap now. Hehe

    May Zhee,

  10. looks delicious.

  11. There is this place in Lygon (forgot the name) where they serve oysters and other seafood on a five-tiered serving contraption (much like the Triple Play dish in Chillis). Very premium prices though, went there once. Check it out next time you go to Melbourne. 🙂

  12. Yeah i think it’s affordable. Hey the pics turned out really nice. i like the shot of the barramundi

  13. Myhorng,
    Yes, very

    Huai Bin,
    Interesting, will see if time and budget permits 😀

    Thanks! Ya really affordable

  14. KY gor…!! i think i saw you on the escalator in LowYat yesterday! =D

    you were heading up, yes? XD

  15. maRCus,
    Why never say hi! 😀

  16. aeroplane1234

    presentation is gorgeous. dish also very clean.

  17. Dude, next time go Lygon Street be sure to eat at Restaurant Lazzat! It is a Malaysian restaurant. cheap & the lauk is nice! nothing over AUD 10. You cant miss it.

    PS – How bad is your friend Zehan needing a lam pang yau? 😉

  18. Cruxie Faye

    KY – Lol, I would probably bring them to eat Gelati in winter. It’s quite an experience to remember.

  19. Cruxie Faye: Gelati in winter is very awesome! I love doing it as well. 🙂

  20. aeroplane1234,
    And delicious!

    Ah, and why would I be at a Malaysian restaurant when I go all the way to Melbourne.. emmm. As for Zehan, please publish a link to your facebook/blog etc 😛

    Cruxie Faye & Huai Bin,
    Gelati in winter is awesome, I totally agree!

  21. Aiya you ah… Just telling you la about a Malaysian restaurant since you were mentioning Lygon Street( rolls eyes)… besides, you did eat at Don Don Resto & that Vietnam place also! ahahhaa! kantoi!

    PS – Dont have blog/facebook la… email add can? 😛

  22. Cruxie Faye

    There is a pretty authentic malaysian/singaporean restaurant along elizabeth street though. And it’s not Rose Garden. It’s called Tang Shui (Sugar water). The rest of malaysian restaurants in chinatown melbourne are really not up to my liking.

  23. Adrian,
    Hahaha I know i know, chill. OK I shall pass your email to her. 😛

    Cruxie Faye,
    ooo interesting, I guess lotsa Malaysian frequent there ya?

    Good job! 😀

  24. Update me ok bro.. 😀 thank you.

  25. May Zhee

    Wtf ok so I am STILL wrong wtf wtf wtf

  26. Adrian,
    Hahahah alright.

    May Zhee,
    LOL tragic!

  27. just a question bro.. can describe briefly about her? thx

  28. Adrian,
    Her blog, her blog! 😛

Leave me a comment

Hi, I'm and my email is . Please link my name back to my website .