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The European Hotel

Home > Melbourne > Food and Wine | Dinner | Lunch | Restaurants
by All About Entertainment (subscribe)
Freelance entertainment, food, and travel writer. Feel free to follow my Facebook page All About Entertainment.
Published November 30th 2021
Legendary restauranter opens dining and entertainment venue
The iconic European Hotel
European Hotel St Kilda

The iconic European Hotel in St Kilda first opened its doors in 1854. Almost 170 years later, it's been restored to its original glory.

Legendary Melbourne restauranteur Mario Di Nardo has painstakingly worked on creating a magnificent dining and entertainment venue comprising of four separate venues in the one location.

Formerly the Elephant and Wheelbarrow Hotel, Di Nardo found himself attracted to the historical site in 2018. With the support of landlords Alfonso Liuzzi and Joe Scerri, together they embarked on a 30 year long term vision of the 1000 square metre site.

On researching the history of the site, Di Nardo found in 1854 the hotel was called The European Hotel. He didn't want to open a nightclub or live venue, instead breaking up the space into different areas feeding off each other.

european hotel st kilda
Selection of dishes on offer

Rafaels is the casual eat and drink offering, CRUDINO cucino aperitivo e vino is an authentic and modern Italian dining experience, the Melbourne Lounge provides drinks, cocktails and great bar food, while the 1854 STORE is a providore where all the wines, olives, breads and balsamic vinegars served at The European are available to purchase and take home.

1.Rafaels - European Flavours

2.Crudino - Italian

3. Melbourne Lounge

4.1854 Store and Online Shopping Cart

5. Privato - Private Dining

Mario Di Nardo's passion for creating Italian food in the heart of St Kilda started at a young age when he would help his parents cultivate soil and plant seeds in their half acre vegetable garden in Lilydale. Along with farming chickens, ducks and geese, his parents also made wine they stored in barrels under the house. "Salute".

Family tradition has always played a big part in Di Nardo's life, as they all gathered to make tomato sugo, salami, prosciutto, and aged meat hanging in the garage. He carried this knowledge of food and flavour into the present day, using fresh produce from the Yarra Valley region.

Mario moved into South Yarra at the age of 18, working at his first restaurant Sytes in Prahran. His love of the industry led him to buy his first business at age 19, The Capitol Wine Bar in and at the age of 23 opened Kerferds in Albert Park.

scusa mi restaurant southbank
The famous Scusa Mi Restaurant in Southbank

The famous Scusa Mi Restaurant at Southgate was then opened in 1992 which he owned and operated for 10 years. The Italian President, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro awarded him Best Italian Restaurant an award presented to him in Rome, Italy. At the ceremony, the President mentioned he will eat at the restaurant at some time in the future. Six months later he kept his word and dined there along with an entourage of 30.

Each space at the newly renovated European Hotel has its own use and identity, which was important to Mario, as he really wanted to capture the multi-cultural and mixed clientele in Melbourne and abroad. It was scheduled to open in February 2020, then Covid arrived. Finally, in November 2021, The European Hotel is open for business. Mario's son, Marcello Di Nardo aged 20, whilst studying Commerce and Finance at Monash University, has taken a senior management role in the business and has been involved from the outset.

Open from midday to late 7 days a week, The European Hotel St Kilda, 169 Fitzroy Street (on the corner of Fitzroy and Princes Street) is now open.
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Why? A taste of Italy without leaving the country
Phone: 03 9989 0858
Where: 169 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Your Comment
It's wonderful to see the old buildings continuing to thrive and be enjoyed.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9626) 29 days ago
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