When it comes to romance you'd be hard pressed to beat the Italians
An ever-evolving feast that moves with the whim of the kitchen is just the ticket for date night - how can the conversation falter when you have a mystery meal to discuss in minute detail? The Sardinian dishes that appear from the kitchen are designed to share and change without notice - which is half the fun really. South Yarra.
Foams and sands be damned! This is the place for fast and furious pizza making, delicious cheesy bites from the mozzarella bar and top-notch house wines. If your date is still a fizzer then there's also some of the most flirtatious waiters in the city to keep your spirits up. Carlton.
Keen to impress with the simple things rather than the finer ones? Then dinner at Pietro Barbagallo's pizza joint in a shed should be high on your to-do list. Expect a hand written menu of simple, fresh and cheap pizza, pasta and salad, picked out with a few key perks like drinkable Campari and blood orange granitas and feather light gnocchi in a wading pool of gorgonzola. Carlton South.
It's all about the old school Italian classics like meatballs, pizza and gnocchi, but with a snappy, modern facelift at the 'Little Wolf' (Lupino). By day it’s all polished concrete, hard lines and echo factor, but come nightfall things get more La Dolce Vita than Wall Street at this soft lit haven for a casual rendezvous. Melbourne.
Guy Grossi's salumi bar is a modern proposition that encapsulates everything great about Melbourne dining right now. Start with rose-pink pinches of salty, air-dried capocollo and fat-freckled slices of spicy salami nobile and accompany them with a pitcher of craft beer or a 1.5 litre flagon of the house pinot-nebbiolo. They are even trying to bring back Lambrusco - tell your date it's retro and go for broke. Melbourne.
In the field of no-fuss trattorias slinging simple produce-driven dishes, Rosa’s Kitchen is doing some of the best Italian in town. Order off the blackboard and try your best to stay calm as plates of spaghetti vongole, orecchiette and veal tongue begin to weigh down your table. Offer your date the last bite of the rich custard tart and we'd wager you'll be getting a second go-round. Melbourne.
And for dessert...
Not ready for it to end? Take a stroll down to Gelateria Primavera and test your true compatitbility as you argue over flavour choices, be it the simplcity of a fior di latte, the sucker punch combo of mango and orange sorbet or the almost savoury nuttiness of roasted hazelnut. Melbourne.