Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published July 1st 2015
One of the Oldest and Best Italian Restaurants
How sweet it is!
What do you think of when you imagine a good old Italian get together?
I think of an event full of energy, raucous laughter and food oozing with fun and passion. That just about describes a meal at Tiamo and Tiamo 2 which are just across form the road from the Nova theatre in Lygon St Carlton.
We spoke to the manager Teresa who had been working for years there. Teresa said her mum makes a mean Monet Carlo. Teresa met her husband at Tiamo and they have since had a baby, but said she loved working at Tiamo's for a break. How good would it be if you loved your work that much!
Tiamo's is owned and staffed by three generations of two families who are now related. It must be a great place to work because unlike many other restaurants, it has long-term staff. Mind you, I'd probably never want to leave either if they fed me too.
The original owner Bibi started the traditional Italian (Tiamo) in the mid seventies. Teresa was careful not to give too much away but said Bibi, who is now in his mid seventies, still opens up early. He gets the kitchen and Bolognese going and then goes home.
About seven years ago they bought the old butchers and started serving pizza. This shop (Tiamo 2) now also serves a diverse, more modern Italian menu.
The most popular meals are the lasagna, cabanaro, the capriccioso pizza and the parmas. Tiamo has regular customers, some who come three times a day for the coffee. Others don't order, the staff know their favorites, so they just wait for their predictably delicious food to be served. Tiamo is frequented by Uni (and ex) students who often continue to come years after they finish their course (and paying off their HECS debts!).
We noticed that the meals were large and very reasonably priced. They served a stack of crusty bread which is becoming rarer these days.
I love a homemade pesto gnocchi and I wasn't disappointed. These irregular shaped balls of gnocchi melted in the mouth. The green color was bright and there was lots of garlic, just the way I like it. My friend had a very large main pasta with lots of prawns (main $17) made by Teresa's mum. Our other friend had a porterhouse large enough for a large man. This was served with sliced potatoes, vegetables and a tasty piece of polenta. For $28 I thought the price was just about right.
There's a decent specials list. I bet the minestrone would be good. It is only $10.90. Next time I am ordering the grilled salmon or the Moroccon chicken salad ($22.90).
The service was also noteworthy. It was fast especially given one of us ordered steak. The staff were also friendly and attentive.
Tiamo's is open at 7am and Tiamo 2 at 10.30am. They are busy all day and night. We had to wait for a meal at 8.30pm. They stay open until at least 10.30pm. You can eat in or outside on the street. I can't believe on a winter's day the heaters provided me with enough warmth.
With Brunetti's just across the road, I thought Tiamo's would have pretty stiff competition for desserts, until we were served with a delicious heart shaped Nutella pizza. Decorated with chocolate dipped strawberries and ice-cream, this impressed my friend who had on another occasion declared she could never eat a sweet pizza… never say never Jenn!