If you’re planning a short stay in Melbourne (and why wouldn’t you – just check what Australia’s original capital has to offer), eating out will not be a problem. The city is packed with good restaurants, of various ethnicity and cost – you really shouldn’t go wrong. But...if you’re in town just for a couple of days or so you don’t want your stay marred by the rare rogue roachpit. So here is one that won’t disappoint.
It’s the 'Cafe on Bourke', right on Bourke Street (#50), one of Melbourne’s iconic thoroughfares. If Italian fare pleases, this is a safe and tasty place to grab a pizza or even try for a more formal dinner.
Going for it is: price (low to medium); great pizzas made on the spot (unless you’re a glutton, ‘medium’ will fill two tummies; pasta that is as unctuous as only good cheese and butter can achieve; wine list OK (suggest perhaps not the house carafe but go for a glass or two of a named Australian red or white); but most of all ambience.
‘Ambience’ in a pizza joint?’ Well, yes, because this family – I like to think of them as a traditional Italian restaurant family, even though the very attractive waitstaff may well be uni students with only the boss (Papa, perhaps?), looking totally authentic – this family looks after you as though they really mean it. Hey, maybe they do! Clean and comfortable, 'Cafe on Bourke' delivers what so many ‘Italian’ eateries fail to do – satisfaction without zapping the plastic.
Didn’t get round to the meat and seafood offerings but if I had stayed longer I surely would.
‘Pizza joint’? Maybe, but one to which even Mama on her first visit from Naples would give a grudging nod of approval.
At least, that’s my opinion.
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