400 Gradi Location: 99 Lygon Street, Brunswick, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9380 2320 By the time Johnny Di Francesco of Melbourne’s 400 Gradi was 17 years old, he was already managing his own pizza section at a restaurant in Carlton and had been making pizzas for over 5 years. This was, of course, all while Di Francesco was studying an electronics engineering degree at university; determined to pursue his passion in the kitchen, Di Francesco would attend university during the day, and then continue to work in the pizza restaurant at night.
Trunk Location: 275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000 VIC Contact: 03 9663 7994 There are a lot of things to love about Trunk. There’s that adorable side diner, housed in a shell of its own, which serves up some hella hearty American-style loaded fries, diner dogs and moreish brioche-bunned burgers. Then there’s that gorgeous garden to the front, peppered with large wooden communal tables and gorg-ified by the loveliest strings of fairy lights. Oh, and, if you’re in a mind to take that date of yours to the next level, you can easily transition to the indoor restaurant and bar which dishes up equally satisfying meals, albeit in a snazzier environment.
45 Degrees Pizza Location: 33 Bridge Road, Richmond, VIC Contact: 03 9429 5577 For traditional pizzas with a twist, one can’t go past 45 Degrees Pizza. The newly opened pizzeria joint is a celebration of Melbourne’s hip hop culture, with custom graffiti splashed across the walls and an open kitchen format that gives diners a view of the pizza making process, where pizza chefs don Run-DMC-esque uniforms while whipping up hearty pizzas to the tune of hip hop. 45 Degrees’ owners have been careful to craft a unique space and pizza offering that turns the traditional pizza topping on its head. The outcome is a cheeky menu which truly celebrates Melbourne’s multiculturalism, borrowing snippets of flavour from various countries and their favourite dishes from across the world.
Carmine’s Bistro Location: 234 Lygon Street, Carlton Contact: 03 8658 3442 http://www.carminesbistro.com.au Carmine’s Bistro is hidden in plain sight, sat amongst the sea of restaurants along Lygon street. Perhaps it is the familiarity and ubiquity afforded by this stretch of little Italy that makes it hard to stand out. It can be hard to be a flamingo amongst a ‘pat’ (yes I had to look that one up).
Lazerpig Pizza Parlour Location: 9-11 Peel St, Collingwood, VIC 3066 Contact: (03) 9417-1177 We rarely find pizza that’s on par with 400 Gradi + DOC, but Lazerpig is firmly up in the same ranks. The dough is light and fluffy; the toppings not too heavy or sparse. The margherita is dangerously delicious and addictive, and (dare we say it), better than Gradi’s version. Watch out kids!
Little Creatures Dining Hall Location: 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC Contact: 03 9417 5500 (no bookings policy) Only a glossy door divides the bustle of Brunswick Street from the expanse that is Little Creatures Dining Hall. The home of the Victorian brewery opens up to a humongous, informal concrete dining hall that buzzes with activity on the earlier days of the week and quickly becomes deafening from Thursdays to the weekend. The decor is simple, yet has a toned down Innocent Bystander-esque feel to it, with dark green lamps hanging from above and large wooden tables sprawled throughout.
Serving the same classic Italian menu that we experienced at DOC Mornington earlier this year, DOC Carlton delivers addictive pizzas using excellent produce and that roaring pizza oven, all in the confines of its simple, contemporary setting in Drummond Street.
I fell in love with Innocent Bystander the moment I stepped in. Expansive, open and all-inclusive, only a single sheet of glass separates Innocent Bystander’s winery from its restaurant, artisan bakery and wine and cheese tasting area.
A cosy pizza and pasta joint off Lincoln Square, Kaprica’s wooden doors and plain walls are unmarked and nondescript, making it harder to spot for those walking briskly by.
We love pizza, but let’s be honest – more often than not it’s of the Dominos variety, topped with diced mystery meat and drowning in grease. Amidst the plethora of fast food restaurants churning out pizzas under $10, it can be a little difficult to find good quality, authentic pizza. Now that’s where DOC Mornington comes in.