The Italian

There are good months and then there are bad months. The bad months are just ones that I wish I could sleep through. The good months on the other hand, I savour and wish they'd never end, most of all my birthday month, and typically the good months are full of special occasions or festive seasons which go hand in hand with food. August was a great month for me!

The special occasion was Mr A & I's anniversary and this year, with the holidays that we've seperately embarked on, I felt that small-ish celebration was more appropriate. Weekdays are so inconvenient for any kind of proper celebration so we delayed our actual dinner until the weekend (Merricote - yes this post is quite delayed!) and decided to first have a simple dinner at The Italian. The Italian is at the Paris end of Collins Street and to describe the interior would be grand and you can imagine many business meetings happening here.


Upon arrival from the frightfully cold weather, we were seated at our table and presented with bread, olive oil, olives and butter.

Our table

Mr A had the Steamed mussels in cloudy wine broth served with a grilled Baguette. The Mussels were plump and well cooked which made them easy to eat as they weren't too chewy and the grilled Baguette was used to soak up the flavoursome broth. One mussel still had a beard but we weren't fussed.

Steamed sea bounty mussels, Vermouth, shallots and grilled baguette

I was in a risotto mood which was rewarded as this risotto was perfectly cooked and the rice still retained a bite to it. The fresh peas intermingled with the Fontina cheese leaving a rich and lusciously creamy risotto.

Fontina, thyme and pea risotto

The Salmon skin was crisp, sprinkled with herbs and salt, while the fish was lightly grilled so that the majority of the flesh was pretty much raw. It wasn't an issue as it was still enjoyed but I don't think it was meant to be that raw inside.

Grilled New Zealand King Salmon, broccoli and red onion

I was half-expecting a dry piece of Pork Chop to arrive in front of me as past experiences have left me pessimistic however it was incredibly juicy and tender with minimal rivers of fat intermingled in the meat. The crackling was audibly crunchy and altogether, the green beans and apple sauce made it a delicious main.

Pan roasted pork chop, green beans and apple sauce

The tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert and the coffee-soaked ladyfingers with the mascarpone cheese were a delightful creation. A dollop of cream on the side paired well with the tiramisu.

'The Italian' tiramisu

The warm chocolate cake was dense and moist, very similar to a brownie, and contained a large amount of hazelnuts, overwhelming the ratio to the delicious chocolate cake. Nonetheless, it was still a good dessert especially with the honeycomb mousse and fresh raspberries.

Warm chocolate and hazelnut cake with chocolate and honeycomb mousse

The Italian served up nice food that was consistent throughout the meal however service was stilted and lacked warmth. The array of waitresses and waiters that served us did not seem to flow and with so many wait staff milling around the almost empty restaurant, it felt very awkward being continuously (4 times within a span of 10 minutes) asked if we were ready to order yet.

Food: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Value: 7/10
Will I return? No, although the food was good, there was nothing exciting to warrant a return visit for me.

The Italian
101 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 9499

The Italian on Urbanspoon


  1. I dined here a few years ago and wasn't impressed. Things seemed to have improved though judging by your experience but yes, I doubt that I'll be back!

    1. Yep, it was decent for me but really, nothing spectacular enough to warrant its one hat status though in my opinion :S

  2. I agree that the Italian is nice but there is nothing to go back for. And plenty of other better Italian places to go to.

  3. If you haven't been, this place has more of an atmosphere during the day at lunch. At its core, Italian is much simplier than French cuisine so you can't expect that much. Also, I suppose it has a one-hat status because it is a reliable option. But I don't agree with rating systems of The Age or Urbanspoon. Gourmet Traveller or the Australian are usually more accurate.

    If you are considering better Italian restaurants, we love Il Bacaro and Mezzo.

    1. Yes, I went on a business lunch once and indeed, the atmosphere was much nicer, also because it was busy unlike the night we went to. I suppose it is a decent option but far too many good choices in Melbourne to come back.


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