Johnny Di Francesco’s menu is so Italian that you can practically hear Dean Martin singing it to you, and the food lives up to its promise of ‘world’s best.’ The waiters are friendly and don’t rely on fussy notepads, and the ambiance is warm, embracing and elegant without being pretentious and features both indoor and alfresco seating options. On the menu, you’ll find salumi and formaggi to start your meal, before you tuck into the true taste of Naples with their iconic Margherita pizza. Gradi delivers on homemade, Italian comfort food, and once you’ve eaten here, no other pizza will compare.
Gradi, Crown Melbourne, 25/8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC, Australia, +61 3 9696 9888
Pizza by Johnny di Francesco, you'll certainly hear about him if you're a piazza connoisseur. Gradi staple prides itself on their brick wood burning oven, where their pizzas come to life. Went for this one topped with san maranno tomato & hot salami (not so hot afterall). Thick crust with evenly charred edges, a little chewy a little crunchy. I'm impressed, but not blown away. Also their spaghettini al granchio, which is one of their popular order here spaghetti with spanner crab meat, garlic, white wine & lobster bisque. #melbournefoodguide #domshappyfeet
Neil Perry’s second restaurant on this list is Rosetta, inspired by his Italian travels. The opulent Iain Halliday-designed dining room seats 120 people, with room for a further 80 diners on the alfresco terrace. Rosetta is unlike your typical Italian restaurant, with menu items such as Barette al Nero di Seppia (shaved squid and bottarga), Agnolotti de Plin (roast rabbit, veal and pork), and Gnudi (ricotta and spinach dumplings with gorgonzola fonduta and candied walnuts). There is also an impossible-to-resist dessert menu.
When Heston Blumenthal’s name is attached to a restaurant, the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Celebrating historic British gastronomy with fresh Australian produce, Dinner By Heston offers an à la carte menu where dishes are written next to their year of origin, dating back centuries. There is also a five-course lunch menu with Hay Smoked Ocean Trout, Meat Fruit, Rice & Flesh, Chicken cooked with Lettuces and Tipsy Cake, which makes a perfect ending.
With yet another entry on the list, Neil Perry may just be the unofficial king of Southbank cuisine. With Spice Temple, Perry presents a modern Chinese culinary experience that will awaken your senses with ‘contrasting textures and tastes.’ The Yum Cha Banquet includes Jade Sword Green Tea accompanied by 11 bite-sized dishes, while the dinner menu is ideal for sharing and features a wide selection of meals across all price points.