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Trotters Cafe

Home > Melbourne > Restaurants
Published February 21st 2011

I always considered myself an expert on Lygon Street - someone who knew the best places to find good food and coffee. That was until I discovered Trotters cafe. I have since realised just how much I have been missing. So, in an attempt to make up for all the mediocre food I have consumed, I have become very well acquinted with Trotters' homemade gnocchi.

Trotters has been owned by Andrea and Lily Galli since 1988 and has established itself as a Lygon Street institution. It is a cosy little cafe tucked away near the corner of Lygon and Elgin Street. It is homely, warm and always filled with happy customers so that the cafe emits a warm buzz and a friendly atmosphere.

While not exclusively an Italian restaurant, Trotters is definitely inspired by a healthy Italian vibe. I'm talking about wholesome, rustic food that your nonna might make. What makes Trotters unique however is that all their traditional dishes are spiced up with inspiring modern flavours. Take the gnocchi for example. It is homemade, but unlike traditional gnocchi is pan fried in a burnt sage butter sauce. With the addition of roast pumpkin and pine nuts, this dish is homely and rustic but is inspired by modern cooking techniques and contemporary tastes. Traditional, but modern - that seems to be the style of the entire cafe. Full of rustic charm, you could have stepped into a traditional trattoria in rural Italy. On the other hand, Trotters is modern, progressive and the menu is seasonal, so they are always coming up with new ideas and new flavours.

Some of their current dishes include herb crusted pork fillets, eggplant parmigiana, gnocchi and tagliatelle as well as a range of burgers and salads. For a snack, why not try their shoestring fries with aioli, or perhaps a hearty bruschetta is more your style?

Trotters is also open for breakfast which is served until 3pm every day. And before I forget, let me just say a few words about dessert. Or maybe just one word - delicious. There is a rotating menu, but thank goodness you can always find two Australian favourites: sticky date pudding and apple crumble. Lygon Street is known for its wide array of cake shops, and Trotters may not have a cabinet full of cakes, but to be honest, sometimes too much choice bothers me. It is much easier just to sit down and have one of my favourties desserts served hot with ice cream on the side - that's what I call real dessert. Anyone for seconds?

There is also an upstairs dining room, so if you want to have a bit of a get together, Trotters can usually cater for your group on a long wooden table. Whatever your needs, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, Trotters is somewhere to try for good, hearty food in a warm and friendly setting.
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Why? If you are looking for tasty, traditional and hearty food.
When: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee
Where: 400 Lygon Street, Carlton
Cost: Average
This is a very sweet restaurant, and not too pricey. It is probably one of my favourites on Lygon Street, partly because it is so low-key and out of the way of the infamous Lygon Street spruikers, and partly because of the food. I agree about the panfried gnocchi being a standout dish, and think the burgers are also good for when you are in the mood for something simple and not Italian. I haven't tried any of the desserts yet, but am sure that I will in the future. Apple crumble with ice cream sounds pretty good.
By Laura Woollett - senior reviewer
Thursday, 24th of February @ 11:24 am
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