I'm from Melbourne and enjoy writing about interesting places and unique things to do.
Published June 15th 2014
Eat pizza at this restaurant, you'll look sexier
Just a short walk from Acland Street in St Kilda is the stand-alone pizza pasta restaurant Itali.co, an ideal stop for a coffee and a haven from the rumbling traffic and busy shopping centre. Located on Barkly Street, Itali.co's modern frontage reaches out to the corner of Belford Street blending in among a mix of shop fronts and residences.
Customers stream in as we are swept up in the atmosphere of the buzzing restaurant with its comfortable dining area, cafe-style decor and friendly staff, capturing the essence of the relaxed and vibrant dining experience Melbourne is famous for.
There is a fun and flirtatious vibe as the wait staff casually chat and read out the tempting specials with their charming accents, and a bold, 'Pizza is Sexy' is eminent on the board behind us as if they're advertising a new kind of pizza.
We soon find out what makes Itali.co stand out from other restaurants in the area as we're served our fresh home-made pizzas cooked in a wood fired Marana pizza oven, with sumptuous toppings imported from Northern Italy where traditional practices are still used.
The thick crust, thin based slices are a generous serving, so depending on how hungry you are you can order a whole one or share it. The Toto, a pizza with succulent tiger prawns, porcini mushroom, garlic and Ligurian olives was a big hit with our group, and I must admit too delicious to share.
Their signature pizza, the Bunga Bunga, was awarded the best pizza in Melbourne in 2013 by The Age Good Food Under $30 Guide, with mouth watering toppings of berkshire pork sausage, fior di Latte, porcini mushroom, tomato and parmesan. Bunga Bunga was a term used by the media to describe the alleged erotic parties of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. And with the topping of Italian pork sausage, it is an indulgence.
For dessert we couldn't resist the Sweet Nutella pizza with plump strawberries oozing with melted chocolate, and the delicious Zuppetta, a homemade Tahiti vanilla gelato with a mango and passionfruit sauce.
Drop in early in the week for $13.00 pizzas on Monday and $13.00 pasta on Tuesday, with a few exceptions. Pizza and pasta dishes range from $17.50-$29 with main meals available from the specials board, although for people with food intolerances, there are only a few choices. The menu has a selection of desserts from $11.00-$18.00, as well as Italian wine and coffee and pasta dishes for children.
One small tip we discovered while eating pizza at Itali.co: forget about a knife and fork, it's much easier to use your hands. As it suggests on the menu, "Eat our pizzas with your hands...you'll look sexier."
Open for lunch Saturday and Sunday from 12pm, and dinner 7 nights from 5pm til late.