It would be unfair to say that this experience was all about the staff because the food was so good, but that staff attentiveness was a noteworthy feature. We were greeted by a young chirpy waitress named Eleanor (not sure of spelling). She inquired politely (not intrusively) about what we were thinking about. When we said we were unsure, she told us that the chicken was very popular and her favourite and that anyone who bought it would always come back for more.
As it turned out, we spent too much time driving around looking for a park. We had half an hour to order it, eat and be gone in time for the comedy show just down the road at the old Union building. When we told Eleanor this, she said she would be on call to help us and that she would do her best to make up the time we have wasted trying to find a parking spot.
Stuzzichino's is a small Italian cafe near the end of the Lygon St café strip. While it's not in the thick of it, it is but conveniently located next to Koko Black. If we'd had more time we would have definitely slipped in for a hot chocolate and wicked chocolate treat. Stuzzichino's has outdoor and indoor seating. Inside they have a large TV screen, bar seating, fresh roses and lit candles on the tables. Five large gold and ornate mirrors hang on the wall.
A closer look at the colors and textures of the delicious gnocchi
It's been a while since we chosen Italian, so I chose my old favourite - the gnocchi. I must say this one was particularly good. This homemade gnocchi was soft and light and the rich Napoli tomato sauce had lots of garlic and tasty eggplant. The Carbonara was creamy and, unlike some, it was not overly rich. Both meals were very large but not available in entrée size. Our two meals with an alcoholic drink were a reasonable total of $44. My partner grabbed a coffee on the way out and he said it was hot and very good quality.
I noticed they had brekkie specials were only $6.50, which includes a muffin and coffee or toasted sandwich and coffee $7.50. Pasta lunch specials Monday to Friday are $15. There were a small range of Italian and favorite desserts such as tiramisu, chocolate mousse and cheesecake.
Without overstating the matter - this was the best customer service we had ever had in Italian restaurant. The staff made us feel very welcome; they were considerate and attentive. You could tell Eleanor really loved her job and that she knew all about the food. She was really pleased when we enjoyed our meals. The barista was also very friendly. As people left, both Eleanor and the barista called out thanks and have a good night.